The lack of Sunday Night Football has the PFT staff looking for things to do tonight. (Florio was last seen on the snowy streets of New York, trying to have a “livechat” with tourists walking by.)
I’ll go another route and update the playoff picture for both conferences. Sunday’s results cleared things up quite a bit, especially in the AFC. San Diego’s choke in Cincinnati decided the AFC West and both wild card spots are settled. Here’s how things stand:
1. New England (13-2): The Patriots have clinched homefield advantage with their win in Buffalo. Bill Belichick has traditionally played his starters in Week 17 in similar situations, but not every time. He may want his young defense to continue to get work against the Dolphins.
2. Pittsburgh (11-4): The Steelers have to win a tricky game in Cleveland or hope the Ravens lose to the Bengals to clinch the No. 2 seed and the AFC North crown. Otherwise, Pittsburgh could fall all the way to the No. 6 seed. Browns-Steelers thus becomes one of the bigger Week 17 AFC games.
3. Kansas City (10-5): The Chiefs are AFC West champions. A win over the Raiders next week would clinch the No. 3 seed in the conference. A loss and a win by the Colts would push Kansas City down to No. 4. (And possibly stuck going to Foxborough in round two. Something to think about if the Chiefs consider resting folks.)
4. Indianapolis (9-6): A win or tie against the Titans next week wins the division for the Colts. A loss by the Jaguars in Houston also puts the Colts in. Like we said above, the Colts could still be the three seed.
5. Baltimore (11-4): The Ravens are in. They need a win and a loss by the Steelers to go all the up to the No. 2 seed. They can’t fall below the Jets because they beat New York in Week 1.
6. New York (10-5): Rex Ryan is relieved the Jets are in. To move up a spot, the Jets would need to win and have the Steelers lose and have the Ravens win. It sounds like they won’t even play their starters next week.
7. Jacksonville (8-7): The loss to the Redskins wasn’t that damaging, really. Because the Colts won in Oakland, the Jaguars would have needed the Colts to lose to the Titans in Week 17 for a chance to win the division. That’s still the case. Jacksonville needs to win in Houston and get a Colts loss to the Titans to get the No. 4 seed. Simple.
8-16: Everyone else: Try again next year.