Week 17 playoff scenarios

AP

The Patriots, Broncos, Colts and Cowboys have all clinched their divisions. The Steelers, Seahawks, Cardinals, Lions and Packers have all clinched playoff berths. That’s what we know now.

What we don’t know is who the other three playoff teams will be. And we don’t know any team’s playoff seed. Here are the NFL’s official playoff scenarios for the remaining 17 games of this season:

AFC

CLINCHED:
New England – AFC East and a first-round bye
Denver – AFC West
Indianapolis – AFC South
Pittsburgh – playoff berth

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (vs. Buffalo)

IF DENVER DEFEATS CINCINNATI

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) NE win OR

2) NE tie + DEN loss or tie OR

3) DEN loss

IF CINCINNATI DEFEATS DENVER

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs

DENVER BRONCOS (at Cincinnati; vs. Oakland)

IF DENVER DEFEATS CINCINNATI

Denver clinches a first-round bye

Denver clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) DEN win + NE loss or tie OR

2) DEN tie + NE loss

IF CINCINNATI DEFEATS DENVER

Denver clinches a first-round bye with:

1) DEN win or tie OR

2) CIN loss OR

3) CIN tie + IND win

CINCINNATI BENGALS (vs. Denver; at Pittsburgh)

IF DENVER DEFEATS CINCINNATI

Cincinnati clinches AFC North with:

1) CIN win

Cincinnati clinches a playoff spot with:

1) CIN tie OR

2) BAL loss or tie OR

3) SD loss

IF CINCINNATI DEFEATS DENVER

Cincinnati clinches a playoff spot

Cincinnati clinches AFC North with:

1) CIN win or tie

Cincinnati clinches a first-round bye with:

1) CIN win + DEN loss or tie OR

2) CIN tie + DEN loss + IND loss or tie

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (vs. Cincinnati)

IF DENVER DEFEATS CINCINNATI

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North with:

1) PIT win or tie

IF CINCINNATI DEFEATS DENVER

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North with:

1) PIT win

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (at Kansas City)

IF DENVER DEFEATS CINCINNATI

San Diego clinches a playoff spot with:

1) SD win OR

2) SD tie + CIN loss OR

3) SD tie + BAL loss or tie

IF CINCINNATI DEFEATS DENVER

San Diego clinches a playoff spot with:

1) SD win OR

2) SD tie + BAL loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS (vs. Cleveland)

IF DENVER DEFEATS CINCINNATI

Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with:

1) BAL win + CIN loss OR

2) BAL win + SD loss or tie OR

3) BAL tie + SD loss

IF CINCINNATI DEFEATS DENVER

Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with:

1) BAL win + SD loss or tie OR

2) BAL tie + SD loss

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (vs. San Diego)

Kansas City clinches a playoff spot with:

1) KC win + BAL loss + HOU loss or tie

HOUSTON TEXANS (vs. Jacksonville)

Houston clinches a playoff spot with:

1) HOU win + BAL loss + SD loss

NFC

CLINCHED:
Arizona Cardinals – playoff berth
Seattle Seahawks – playoff berth
Detroit Lions – playoff berth
Green Bay Packers – playoff berth
Dallas Cowboys – NFC East

DALLAS COWBOYS (at Washington)

Dallas clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) DAL win + ARI loss or tie + DET/GB tie

Dallas clinches a first-round bye with:

1) DAL win + SEA loss or tie + ARI loss or tie OR

2) DAL win + DET/GB tie OR

3) DAL tie + SEA loss + ARI loss OR

4) DAL tie + SEA tie + ARI loss or tie + DET/GB does not end in a tie

DETROIT LIONS (at Green Bay)

Detroit clinches NFC North with:

1) DET win or tie

Detroit clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) DET win + SEA loss or tie + ARI loss or tie OR

2) DET tie + SEA loss + ARI loss + DAL loss or tie

Detroit clinches a first-round bye with:

1) DET win OR

2) DET tie + DAL loss or tie OR

3) DET tie + SEA loss + ARI loss

GREEN BAY PACKERS (vs. Detroit)

Green Bay clinches NFC North and a first-round bye with:

1) GB win

Green Bay clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) GB win + SEA loss or tie

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (vs. St. Louis)

Seattle clinches NFC West with:

1) SEA win OR

2) SEA tie + ARI loss or tie OR

3) ARI loss

Seattle clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) SEA win + DET/GB game does not end in a tie OR

2) SEA win + DAL loss or tie OR

3) SEA tie + ARI loss or tie + DAL loss or tie + GB/DET tie

Seattle clinches a first-round bye with:

1) SEA win OR

2) SEA tie + ARI loss or tie + DAL loss OR

3) SEA tie + ARI loss or tie + GB/DET tie

ARIZONA CARDINALS (at San Francisco)

Arizona clinches NFC West with:

1) ARI win + SEA loss or tie OR

2) ARI tie + SEA loss

Arizona clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) ARI win + SEA loss or tie + GB loss or tie OR

2) ARI tie + SEA loss + DAL loss or tie + GB/DET tie

Arizona clinches a first-round bye with:

1) ARI win + SEA loss or tie OR

2) ARI tie + SEA loss + DAL loss or tie OR

3) ARI tie + SEA loss + GB/DET tie

CAROLINA PANTHERS (at Atlanta)

Carolina clinches NFC South with:

1) CAR win or tie

ATLANTA FALCONS (vs. Carolina)

Atlanta clinches NFC South with:

1) ATL win

52 responses to “Week 17 playoff scenarios

  1. I have way more faith in Denver and Pitt beating Cincinnati back to back versus KC beating the Chargers next week.

  2. New England is 12-4 with a first round bye???

    But didn’t ya hear, Tom Brady is washed up!!!!

    Bwaaaaaa HAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAA!!!!!

  3. This literally blew my mind. Can we just say that the only real contenders in the AFC are the Steelers, Patriots, and Denver (not in that specific order), and in the NFC the Seahawks, Packers, and Cowboys (in that specific order).

  4. The reason the Seahawks and their fans are so annoying as most of you put it, is because every big game they play they win. It’s that simple. We think we’re going to repeat because the next four games we play this year are big games so history says we will win them all. I’m not going to apologize for that. The reason you haters get all twisted up is because everytime the nation gets to see them play you haters get this idea in your head that your going to finally see these fans and players get shut up. And everytime the hawks take care of business. Fun to be a hawks fan and fun to rub it in. Why don’t you cry about it.

  5. you treat a CIN win and a DEN loss as though they are independent things, as though one could happen and not the other.

    CIN and DEN are playing each other. if one wins, the other loses, by definition

  6. Colts did not look like a playoff team yesterday. Is it possible they made an incredible mistake by letting Peyton go? Luck is even starting to show “backup QB pattern baldness.”

  7. This probably would have been easier to write after tonight’s game. . . .

    In any event, good article for those who have a rooting interest in these teams.

  8. Is there some reason this couldn’t have waited until tomorrow, rather than make our heads hurt with all the Denver/Cincy what ifs?

  9. if Denver loses tonight, the Pats should just rest all of their starters vs. the Bills next week.. it’s not worth risking injuries to key players against a sorry team with nothing to lose

  10. Most likely NFC seedings:

    1. Seattle
    2. Green Bay

    3. Dallas
    4. Atlanta
    5. Arizona
    6. Detroit

    Just my opinion >> If it turns out like this, I like Detroit’s chances to knock off Dallas in Dallas, and doubt the Cardinals (w/Linley at QB) could beat the Falcons in ATL.

    That would make the following week’s games DET at SEA, and ATL at GB.

    And so the NFC title game would probably be a rematch of the week 1 game, GB at SEA …

  11. also looks like Dallas has nothing to play for next week, they will not get a first round bye. Just rest the key players I wouldnt put it past Snyder to put a bounty on the Dallas Big 3

  12. Most likely NFC seedings:

    1. Seattle
    2. Green Bay

    3. Dallas
    4. Atlanta
    5. Arizona
    6. Detroit

    Just my opinion >> If it turns out like this, I like Detroit’s chances to knock off Dallas in Dallas, and doubt the Cardinals (w/Linley at QB) could beat the Falcons in ATL.

    That would make the following week’s games DET at SEA, and ATL at GB.

    And so the NFC title game would probably be a rematch of the week 1 game, GB at SEA …

    //////////////////////////////////////////

    Agree with the above scenario. Wouldn’t be an easy game for Seattle playing the Lions.

  13. The nice thing for Denver (assuming they win tonight) is that the Pats-Bills game is at 1pm ET next week, while the Denver-Oakland game won’t kick off until 4:25pm ET. So while the Pats will have to burn their players against a tough defense to secure home field advantage, Denver will either know they have something to play for (win) or they can rest their players (also a win), which is huge given the number of injuries their players have this year. That early-season Week 4 bye has been killer for Denver this year.

  14. My concern…Bengals lose both, Charges and Ravens win and Bengals are home for the New Year. I hope I’m wrong but 2 prime time games doesn’t give me much confidence.

  15. I could be wrong, but I believe Dallas can clinch a first round bye if they lose as well as Arizona and Seattle. In that scenario, Seattle still wins the division and Dallas (because they beat Seattle) wins the tie-breaker for the #2 seed.

  16. “The nice thing for Denver (assuming they win tonight) is that the Pats-Bills game is at 1pm ET next week, while the Denver-Oakland game won’t kick off until 4:25pm ET. So while the Pats will have to burn their players against a tough defense to secure home field advantage, Denver will either know they have something to play for (win) or they can rest their players (also a win), which is huge given the number of injuries their players have this year. That early-season Week 4 bye has been killer for Denver this year”

    Actually, the NFL would likely flex the Pats/Bills to 4pm so to avoid that scenario.

  17. Looks like the Super Bowl will be the Patriots against the Seahawks.

    Now THAT will be a great game, unlike the dud Peyton Manning and the Donkeys laid down in the field last Super Bowl and then bleated and begged the Seahawks not to hurt them anymore.

  18. God I think Seahawk fans even have us Cowboy fans beat when it comes to arrogance. I mean why are we even playing the game if the Seahawks are so good that they will just repeat regardless. You’d think almost 30 years of terrible would impart some humility.

  19. “The nice thing for Denver (assuming they win tonight) is that the Pats-Bills game is at 1pm ET next week, while the Denver-Oakland game won’t kick off until 4:25pm ET. So while the Pats will have to burn their players against a tough defense to secure home field advantage, Denver will either know they have something to play for (win) or they can rest their players (also a win), which is huge given the number of injuries their players have this year. That early-season Week 4 bye has been killer for Denver this year”

    Actually, the NFL would likely flex the Pats/Bills to 4pm so to avoid that scenario.
    ———————————————-

    Actually no, the NFL will not flex a 1pm game to 4PM cause of such implications.

  20. ARZ doesn’t technically have to lose for DAL to get home field. If DAL/SEA/ARZ all win, then SEA wins the division, and ARZ cannot get a bye. If that happens and DET/GB tie, then the only two division champs at 12-4 are DAL/SEA, and DAL would get home field by virtue of H2H win.

    As a Cowboys fan though, the odds are so astronomical that I would prefer to just rest our key guys for the WC game.

  21. Writing like this is part of the reason why these scenarios are so hard to follow:

    “IF CINCINNATI DEFEATS DENVER

    Denver clinches a first-round bye with:

    1) DEN win or tie OR”

    So how can Denver win if they already lost?

  22. Manning is really slowing down (195 yards/game over the past three weeks) – the Broncos should sit him tonight. With rest, he’ll easily beat the Raiders next week, and then have another week off. They only need one win to get a bye, and cannot possibly get home field throughout unless the (road 3-4) Bills beat the (home 7-0) Patriots at Foxboro, which ain’t gonna happen.

    If he plays tonight at Cincy, they still risk losing the game, plus he’ll be more worn out and dinged up next week against Oakland, and they could lose that one too. If that happens, they’re toast.

  23. sactogary says:
    Dec 22, 2014 2:00 PM
    Manning is really slowing down (195 yards/game over the past three weeks) – the Broncos should sit him tonight. With rest, he’ll easily beat the Raiders next week, and then have another week off. They only need one win to get a bye, and cannot possibly get home field throughout unless the (road 3-4) Bills beat the (home 7-0) Patriots at Foxboro, which ain’t gonna happen.

    ====

    The (home 7-0) Patriots at Foxboro were a fingertip away from losing to the (road 1-6) Jets this week. The (road 0-7) Raiders also fell just short in Foxboro against the (home 7-0) Patriots.

    Is it likely the Bills will beat them? No. But it wouldn’t be a complete shock. Win now, rest later.

  24. DARWIN AWARDS:

    Buffalo Bills. Hey, Buffalo. You just beat Green Bay and in one strike reduced a #1 seed, and SB favorite, to a #6 seed. Now with the playoffs in sight for the first time since 1999, what do you do? You promptly lose to a team that started the year 0-10. That seemingly annual finale against New England could have been meaningful.

    Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, & Philadelphia Eagles. Nice losing streaks to close out the year. The Miami Dolphins get honorable mention here for a swoon of their own. Only come-from-behind squeakers over the Jets and Vikings made things look not quite as bad.

    Baltimore Ravens. You beat another playoff rival in Miami to position yourselves nicely for the playoffs. Then you lose to Casey Keenum? You didn’t just lose. You were never in this game.

    San Diego Chargers. Okay — so you completed a miraculous comeback over San Fran after falling behind 21-0 and 28-7 and giving up 355 rushing yards and 3 INTs — just barely escaping a 3-game meltdown of your own after losing back to back home games to New England and Denver.

    Does anyone want this thing in the AFC? Pittsburgh appears to want this more than anyone else and they recorded momentum-threatening losses to Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and the Jets.

  25. stealthjunk says:
    Dec 22, 2014 2:21 PM
    sactogary says:
    Dec 22, 2014 2:00 PM
    Manning is really slowing down (195 yards/game over the past three weeks) – the Broncos should sit him tonight. With rest, he’ll easily beat the Raiders next week, and then have another week off. They only need one win to get a bye, and cannot possibly get home field throughout unless the (road 3-4) Bills beat the (home 7-0) Patriots at Foxboro, which ain’t gonna happen.

    ====

    The (home 7-0) Patriots at Foxboro were a fingertip away from losing to the (road 1-6) Jets this week. The (road 0-7) Raiders also fell just short in Foxboro against the (home 7-0) Patriots.

    Is it likely the Bills will beat them? No. But it wouldn’t be a complete shock. Win now, rest later.

    ———————————————–

    The Jets/Pats game was at Jets. And they weren’t just a fingertip away from a loss. The Pats would have been down by less than one score and would have had plenty of time to win it. Heck, they were taking a knee in the red zone at the end of the game.

  26. Pittsburgh is a threat? The team with the 32nd ranked sched? From the division that gave you Balti losing an important game to 7-7 Houston with their 3/4 th string QB? Cleve losing an outside chance at the playoffs to 5-8 Carolina? Like Cincy tonite? Good luck.

    Nobody in the AFC wants it? NEngland has WIPED OUT Cincy, Denver, Colts, Lions and SDiego. Every playoff team they’ve played except one. Lost a fairly close one at Lambeau. Looking to me like they want it. SBowl goes thru Foxboro.

  27. The Bolts will be in. Andy Reid continues to avoid giving Jamaal Charles the ball, and they’ve lost all seven games this year either due to that or him being out of the game completely. Never seen a more stubborn coach blatantly ignore his offensive strong point — and worse yet — have a weak QB passing it 40+ times three straight games and not even score 20 points in these losses while doing so. Amazing.

  28. seansull83 says:
    Dec 22, 2014 1:34 PM
    God I think Seahawk fans even have us Cowboy fans beat when it comes to arrogance. I mean why are we even playing the game if the Seahawks are so good that they will just repeat regardless. You’d think almost 30 years of terrible would impart some humility.
    ————

    Their arrogance is justified. What they don’t have is Dallas fans’ IGNORANCE. Dallas fans have no reason to be mouthing off.

    And with several key defensive players going down or playing banged up in the first match up, there is no reason for Dallas fans to be thinking they are going to catch lightning in a bottle and beat Seattle at home again.

  29. realmenwearstripes says:
    Dec 22, 2014 11:42 AM
    How about a ten-year reunion for the Patriots and Panthers?
    ————-

    They had a chance for the ACTUAL ten-year reunion last year, but both teams chat the bed in the playoffs.

  30. polarbear71 says:
    Dec 22, 2014 12:07 PM
    Nobody from the NFC south should make the playoffs….we need a new plan, maybe like the NHL where teams with the best records make the playoffs.
    ———–

    No we don’t. These scenarios only play out once or twice per decade.

    Win your division and avoid being the odd team out in a statistical anomaly is better than creating a playoff system that devalues winning divisions and diminishes long-standing rivalries, in some cases.

  31. lemmetalkwouldya says:
    Dec 22, 2014 11:26 AM
    New England is 12-4 with a first round bye???

    But didn’t ya hear, Tom Brady is washed up!!!!

    Bwaaaaaa HAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAA!!!!!
    ————-

    I’d love to hear you talk after Seattle gets done with him.

    If New England even gets that far. They are lucky that the Ravens may actually miss the playoffs.

  32. The Seahawks are all mouth, they win one time and act like the 2nd coming of the Packers Dynasty! At least they quit bawling about the 05 Super Bowl!

  33. reger91 says:
    Dec 23, 2014 12:26 AM
    The Seahawks are all mouth, they win one time and act like the 2nd coming of the Packers Dynasty! At least they quit bawling about the 05 Super Bowl!
    ————

    But you talk about the Seattle game winning TOUCHDOWN catch against Green Bay every chance you get?

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