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AFC playoff teams set, NFC still coming into focus

Smith hauls in a long catch against Webster during the first half of their NFL football game in Baltimore, Maryland Reuters

We know who all six AFC playoff teams are, and we have a pretty good idea of their playoff order. Week 17 isn’t meaningless in the AFC — home-field advantage is still up for grabs — but it won’t feature any dramatic changes in the way the AFC playoffs look.

The NFC is another matter. Nine teams remain alive for the six playoff spots, and although the Falcons have already clinched home-field advantage, everything else is jumbled.

Below we provide the state of the playoff race, through Week 16:

AFC

1. Texans (12-3): Houston clinches home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win over the Colts, or if both the Broncos and the Patriots lose.

2. Broncos (12-3): Denver clinches home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win over the Chiefs and a Texans loss to the Colts. The Broncos will be the No. 2 seed and have a first-round playoff bye with if they beat the Chiefs and the Texans beat the Colts.

3. Patriots (11-4): New England clinches home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win over the Dolphins, plus both the Texans and the Broncos losing. New England can also earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye with a win over the Dolphins and either the Texans or the Broncos losing.

4. Ravens (10-5): Baltimore has clinched the AFC North and cannot get a first-round playoff bye. The Ravens will be the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs unless they beat the Bengals and the Patriots lose to the Dolphins, in which case the Ravens would be the No. 3 and the Patriots would be the No. 4.

5. Colts (10-5): Indianapolis will definitely be the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs regardless of what happens next week. The Colts will most likely play at Baltimore in the wild card round.

6. Bengals (9-6): Cincinnati will definitely be the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs regardless of what happens next week. The Bengals will most likely play at New England in the wild card round.

NFC

1. Falcons (13-2): Atlanta has clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

2. Packers (11-4): Green Bay earns the No. 2 seed with a win over the Vikings in Week 17, or a San Francisco loss. If the Packers lose and the 49ers win in Week 17, Green Bay will be the No. 3 seed.

3. 49ers (10-4-1): The 49ers will be the No. 2 seed if they win in Week 17 and the Packers lose, the No. 3 seed if they win and the Packers win, the No. 3 seed if they lose and the Seahawks lose, and the No. 5 seed if they lose and the Seahawks win.

4. Redskins (9-6): The winner of the Week 17 Cowboys-Redskins game wins the NFC East and will be the No. 4 seed. If the Redskins lose to the Cowboys they can still be a wild card team if they end up in a three-way tie at 9-7 with the Vikings and Bears.

5. Seahawks (9-5): Seattle has clinched a playoff berth and at least the No. 5 seed. Seattle would need to win in Week 17 while San Francisco loses to win the NFC West and move up to the No. 3 seed.

6. Vikings (9-6): Minnesota clinches a wild card with a Week 17 win over Green Bay. The Vikings also earn a wild card if the Giants, Cowboys and Bears all lose.

In the mix: The 8-7 Cowboys clinch the NFC East if they beat the Redskins in Week 17. The 9-6 Bears clinch a wild card if they beat the Lions and the Packers beat the Vikings in Week 17. The 8-7 Giants get a wild card if they beat the Eagles while the Vikings, Bears and Cowboys all lose.

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38 Responses to “AFC playoff teams set, NFC still coming into focus”
  1. conormacleod says: Dec 23, 2012 8:34 PM

    And the Vikings still get a wild card if they lose and Cowboys, Bears, and Giants all lose. No?

    Michael David Smith: Yes. That is correct.

  2. dirtybirds233 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:43 PM

    The Giants actually have a very good shot at it. They’re facing the lowly Eagles and all of the teams they need to lose are favored to lose with the exception of Chicago at Detroit.

  3. ldebes1 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:44 PM

    I know that the Skins get in as the 4 seed if they win, but what are their wildcard scenarios if they lose?

  4. jakec4 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:45 PM

    The Ravens are in a no win situation. There doesn’t appear to be any benefit to having the third seed opposed to the fourth seed. It would be worse even because they would be playing the Bengals two weeks in a row if they beat the Bengals and the Pats lose. The Dolphins usually play New England pretty tough.

    I’d rather play the Colts instead of the Bengals in the first round, but on the other hand the Ravens can’t lay down for the Bengals week 17 because they need some momentum. Tough call. That Bengals defense will put a hurting on you if you aren’t careful, and two straight weeks of that is no good.

  5. packfntk says: Dec 23, 2012 8:49 PM

    Man, so no matter what the Packers do we get the Bears or Queens in the playoffs. That sucks…..

  6. ddaveyy says: Dec 23, 2012 9:01 PM

    dirtybirds233 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:43 PM

    The Giants actually have a very good shot at it. They’re facing the lowly Eagles and all of the teams they need to lose are favored to lose with the exception of Chicago at Detroit.
    ____

    So then all the teams the Giants need to lose aren’t favored then…

    Dave

  7. jakec4 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:02 PM

    Looking at the NFC the Packers could really use that game the replacement refs stole from them. That entire seeding seems tainted.

  8. asublimeday says: Dec 23, 2012 9:03 PM

    The packers will roll over for the queens to block the bears. They want no part of an angry Chicago team in the playoffs.

  9. vikesfansteve says: Dec 23, 2012 9:25 PM

    It’s just awesome the Vikings have a win and they are in game again. They need to bring their A game to beat the Packers. Then they would probably play them again first round.

  10. jimw81 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:29 PM

    patriots vs texans in afc championship game determines winner of the super bowl.

  11. bobnelsonjr says: Dec 23, 2012 9:32 PM

    Looks like a sure thing that Bears are are in the playoffs.

  12. pesh00 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:42 PM

    Boys-skins to win the division and get to the playoffs….this is awesome!

  13. firethorn1001 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:42 PM

    The packers will roll over for the queens to block the bears. They want no part of an angry Chicago team in the playoffs.
    ————————————————————-

    Yes, of course. I mean, why would the Packers want a first round bye. Their main goal is to avoid playing a team they have beaten the last what, 7 times in a row?

  14. myvickinabox14 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:55 PM

    Houston NE championship game to see who wins the Super Bowl. The AFC is horrible my friend. They look good against each other, then get worked against the NFC. Except the Giants, but as an Eagles fan that collapse the last two weeks was awesome. Good luck tho friend

  15. h8dansnyder says: Dec 23, 2012 9:57 PM

    Please explain the tiebreakers. Why is Dallas champ if Skins and boys have same division record. they tie head to head and skins I think have a better conference record.

  16. packman331 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:04 PM

    No, the packers wont roll over. With SF getting beat so far in Seattle, if that holds— the Pack gets the 2 seed with a win.
    But don’t just put it in the win column. Vikes are 6-1 at home, highly motivated, and had the Pack on the ropes in Lambeau.

  17. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:21 PM

    The Vikings haven’t beaten the Packers in over 3 years.

  18. michaelahicks says: Dec 23, 2012 10:29 PM

    h8dansnyder says:Dec 23, 2012 9:57 PM

    Please explain the tiebreakers. Why is Dallas champ if Skins and boys have same division record. they tie head to head and skins I think have a better conference record.

    ….

    To answer your question, if Dallas and Washington tie at 9-7 record the tiebreaker order is as follows: H2H (they split), division record (both would be 4-2), record vs. common opponents (Dallas would be 8-4; Washington would be 7-5). Conference record is the next tiebreaker, which Redskins would win, But it won’t get to that tiebreaker due to the common opponents.

    If the NY Giants force a three-way tie at 9-7 with a win over Philadelphia, the Giants would be eliminated from the process on the second tiebreaker — division record — as Washington and Dallas would be 4-2 while NYG would be 3-3.

  19. 8man says: Dec 23, 2012 10:30 PM

    I’m still shocked that as poorly as the Cowboys have played, they can still win their division.

    Still, its great theater.

  20. shear061 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:03 PM

    Vikes wont lose at home. They’re playing well and shouldve beat the packers the first time! It was closer than most people think…

  21. gweetarman says: Dec 23, 2012 11:13 PM

    Wait a sec….NFC is better than AFC? What the heck are you smoking? The best teams in the AFC are quite on par with those in the NFC. The top three teams in the AFC (Denver, NE, and Houston) are 6-6 against the NFC. The record is similar for the top three teams in the NFC. In fact, Denver is 3-1 against the NFC and roasted the three teams they beat. They barely lost to Atlanta early and they would destroy them now. The only teams in the NFC that are scary at all are Seattle and Green Bay. The rest of them are total pretenders. I would take NE or Denver against any team in the NFC.

  22. jdhein22 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:17 PM

    Can’t the Seahawks win the 2-seed still? If Packers and Niners lose, and Seahawks win, Seahawks and Packers would both be 11-5, Niners would be 10-5-1. Seahawks have tiebreaker over Packers, head-to-head, correct? S, wouldn’t they be #2, in this scenario?

  23. jhein23 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:19 PM

    The 1st Vikings/Packers game this year there was no Clay Matthews he makes a pretty big difference. Aaron Rodgers is outstanding in domes too – superb.

  24. jhein23 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:25 PM

    Packers are a much better overall team than the Vikings. Just the difference in QBs alone. No way Minnesota beats GB 2 weeks in a row to advance.

  25. shear061 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:25 PM

    “The 1st Vikings/Packers game this year there was no Clay Matthews he makes a pretty big difference. Aaron Rodgers is outstanding in domes too – superb.”

    So is AD. This is the best Vikings team since they reached the championship game. Vikes Win.

  26. waterfalldungeon says: Dec 24, 2012 12:42 AM

    Hey, if Seattle wins, Green Bay Loses & San Francisco loses, wouldn’t Seattle get the #2 seed?

    Seattle would be 11-5
    Green Bay would be 11-5
    San Francisco would be 10-5-1

    Wouldn’t the first Green Bay/Seattle tie breaker be their head to head matchup which Seattle won?

  27. eatitfanboy says: Dec 24, 2012 1:00 AM

    jdhein22-

    I wouldn’t bother paying attention to any playoff scenarios that involve the Niners losing next week.

    You’ve seen the Cardinals play, no?

  28. jerrykill4pres says: Dec 24, 2012 1:04 AM

    Packers have one huge advantage over the Vikings… It’s the guy behind center. Ponder can’t compare to Rodgers. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week, and probably not ever.

    Packers are in, but don’t look for McCarthy to leave his starters out there the whole game and risk injury. With the team he has, he can win at home and on the road. Look for a Packers/Seahawks NFCCG…. Those two teams are playing the best right now. Doesn’t matter if it’s home or away, they are the toughest in the NFC right now.

  29. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Dec 24, 2012 1:10 AM

    myvickinabox14 says:
    Dec 23, 2012 9:55 PM
    Houston NE championship game to see who wins the Super Bowl. The AFC is horrible my friend. They look good against each other, then get worked against the NFC. Except the Giants, but as an Eagles fan that collapse the last two weeks was awesome. Good luck tho friend

    ————————————–

    Bengals went 3-1 against the NFC.

    38-31 @ Redskins
    31-13 vs Giants (wasn’t that close)
    19-20 vs Cowboys (lost on last second FG)
    34-13 @ Eagles (you should remember this one)

    In fact, the Bengals typically dominate their NFC games.

    NFC east = overrated.

  30. gergie1957 says: Dec 24, 2012 1:30 AM

    The Vikings will come out strong, and hit the Packers in the mouth, like they did to Houston, The Packers will have to watch out for this. Vikings win at Home. Now in the Playoffs, it will have to lean towards the Pack at home.

  31. 7ransponder says: Dec 24, 2012 2:05 AM

    filthymcnasty1 says:
    Dec 23, 2012 10:21 PM
    The Vikings haven’t beaten the Packers in over 3 years.

    ——————

    Right, but last year it took the Packers + the Refs to beat the Vikings. They’re due, it’s time, and what better time.

  32. packmaneffsanfran says: Dec 24, 2012 2:23 AM

    AD may be a good back, but he ain’t gonna beat the Pack alone…just like he ain’t gonna beat Dickersons record. (which I personally think is sad, so close yet so far)

  33. eventhorizon04 says: Dec 24, 2012 2:31 AM

    In terms of AFC Teams I see doing well in the postseason, there’s the team with Tom Brady and the team with Peyton Manning and that’s it.

    Ravens, Colts, Bengals, and Texans don’t worry me if I’m a fan of an NFC playoff team.

  34. larryboodry says: Dec 24, 2012 7:24 AM

    So let’s see…As a Bears fan, would I rather end my season with a blowout win at Detroit, or with a blowout playoff loss at either GB or SF?

    Hmmmm…

  35. statman19 says: Dec 24, 2012 11:20 AM

    The 3 teams that no one wants to play: Broncos, Seahawks and Redskins. All 3 are rolling right now.

  36. 2difshoe says: Dec 24, 2012 12:37 PM

    As a Bear fan, people are saying the Packers do us a favor by beating the Vikes. Not so much.

    A Packer win = a blowout loss by the Bears to Greenbay or San Fran…and then Bear ownership retain Lovie as Head Coach.

    In all actually, for Bear fans, this is a lose, lose situation.

    Bummer

  37. denverdude7 says: Dec 24, 2012 4:30 PM

    Don’t look over your shoulder Houston, there’s a runaway horse gaining on you.

    GO BRONCOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. bears47 says: Dec 24, 2012 7:36 PM

    I understand that some Bears fans are disappointed in in the Bears but seriously, why in the world would you not want to get to the playoffs? I understand that people are worried about getting blown out but in the playoffs, crazier stuff has happened. Plus, just look at the last 2 NFC 6th seeds. They’ve won the Super Bowl. Now I’m not saying the Bears are going to win the Super Bowl because without a decent O-line the team will go nowhere but another crack at the playoffs would be quite nice. Plus, think about all those teams like the Cardinals or the Lions. They’d be ecstatic for a chance at the playoffs. Don’t take playoffs for granted Bears fans if they do in fact get there.

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