Week 17 playoff scenarios

Reuters

The road to the playoffs in the AFC will go through New England. That’s one thing we know for sure.

But other than the Patriots, who have clinched home-field advantage, and the Colts, who have clinched the No. 4 seed in the AFC, all of the other teams in the playoff race have something to play for on Sunday. Here’s the full playoff scenario announcement put out by the NFL today:

AFC

CLINCHED:
New England – AFC East and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs
Denver – AFC West
Indianapolis – AFC South
Cincinnati – playoff berth
Pittsburgh – playoff berth

DENVER BRONCOS (vs. Oakland)

Denver clinches a first-round bye with:

1) DEN win OR

2) DEN tie + CIN loss or tie OR

3) CIN loss OR

4) CIN tie + IND win

CINCINNATI BENGALS (at Pittsburgh)

Cincinnati clinches AFC North with:

1) CIN win or tie

Cincinnati clinches a first-round bye with:

1) CIN win + DEN loss OR

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

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (vs. Cincinnati)

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North with:

1) PIT win

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (at Kansas City)

San Diego clinches a playoff spot with:

1) SD win OR

2) SD tie + BAL loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS (vs. Cleveland)

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) 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

47 responses to “Week 17 playoff scenarios

  1. If I’m reading this right, then no team in the NFC controls their own destiny, as far as home field advantage is concerned. If Seattle wins, the only way they don’t get it is if the GB/Detroit game ends in a tie. I’d go back and try to figure out who’d get it if that unlikely scenario happened, but my head’s about to explode as it is.

  2. Steelers are the best team to match up with NE. They are playing well now and can beat anybody if they are on top of their game. The Steelers have perhaps the most offensive weapons in the league, and the defense is getting its act together. I like their chances in the playoffs.

  3. I am not a Steelers fan but 2 teams I wouldn’t want to face right now is Pittsburgh and Seattle.
    Pittsburgh just has the feel about them and Seattle is just playing tough and I wouldn’t want as a Packer fan to see my team have to go to their place.

  4. The only team that ‘can’ beat NE in Foxboro is Baltimore. They play physical and have won there before. Steelers and Indy are frauds who would get lit up by Brady like a Christmas tree.

  5. MISTAKE

    you have denver clinching a bye with a win OR TIE

    then you have cincinatti clinching the bye with a win and devnver loss OR TIE.

    one of those has to be wrong.

    Michael David Smith: You are correct. The NFL’s official announcement had a mistake. This has now been fixed.

  6. After a few blowouts and a win against the Patriots in November, GB hasn’t played great football this December. They’re a little higher in the power rankings than they should be, probably coasting on the reputation they earned in November. I don’t see them going deep into the playoffs as a Wild Card, and I certainly don’t see them knocking off Seattle.

    So on paper, I’d say that they’re beatable this weekend. Under any other circumstances, hosting any other 11-4 team that had already beaten them this season, I’d say that the Packers had their work cut out for them.

    But they’re not playing any old 11-4 team. They’re playing the Lions, who are absolutely cursed. For over two decades it hasn’t mattered whether the Lions are good or the Packers are bad. The Lions just can’t win there.

    I wouldn’t bet the spread. But this Lions fan would bet his house on the Lions finding a way to lose this weekend, probably in the most Lions way possible. I’m thinking that the Lions take a six-point lead into the final drive, shank a punt, then rough Rodgers once on fourth down and once on an interception.

  7. sec328onroute1 says:
    Dec 23, 2014 10:22 AM

    The only team that ‘can’ beat NE in Foxboro is Baltimore. They play physical and have won there before. Steelers and Indy are frauds who would get lit up by Brady like a Christmas tree.

    Considering the Ravens just got their butts handed to them by Houston I probably would refrain from making such outrageous claims and referring to other teams as “frauds”.

  8. Not a lions fan, but Detroit is a team no one is talking about making a run in the NFC.

    IF Detroit makes it to Seattle, watching these matchups will be fun:

    Calvin Johnson & Golden Tate vs. Seattle’s secondary.
    Marshawn Lynch/Russell Wilson vs. Detroit’s front 7.

    IMO, Detroit has the edge in both those matchups that would likely determine that game.

  9. @fontesmustgo…I want to disagree with you, and I hate you for saying it…but anyone who has watched the Lions for 35 or more years knows that it is almost magical they way they lose games. I’ve seen one playoff win in my lifetime and a whole host of horrible, ridiculous, almost God-like losses. I’ve watched Detroit lose to Minnesota after frantically storming back to score a game-tying touchdown at the end of the game, only to miss the extra point and lose 28-27. And that’s NOT the Orlovsky stepping out of the end zone for a safety game (that score was 12-10 back in ’08).

    I hope you’re wrong, dude. This Lions team is actually winning games they were losing in the past…but any true Lions fan knows to still be skeptical.

  10. cometkazie says: Dec 23, 2014 10:48 AM

    Dallas has to be the success story this year, barely edging out the Lions.

    My 2¢

    I would agree and add the most disappointing teams this year:

    my Niners and the Saints pathetic display by both franchise’s this year.

  11. I agree the Ravens would have the better chance of beating the Pats in Foxboro than Indy or Pittsburgh. It’s a matchup thing. The Ravens are the only AFC team that’s really given the Pats a run for their money the last few yrs, winning 2/3 AFCC gms in Foxboro and 3-3 overall the last 6.

    Brady has won 5 out the last 6 against Pitts, most of them blowouts. That doesn’t include the 2 AFCC gms the Pats won@Pitts earlier(7-3 overall). Always been a tough matchup for the Steelers. Also, theSteelers have played the easiest schedule in the NFL this yr, based on this yr’s records. Just sayin’.

    Pats have played the Colts 3 times in the Luck era and blown them out all 3 times, including twice in 2014. Bad matchup for the Colts too.

  12. Thank God I’m a Pats fan, all these conditions are a bit much. Of course if you just focus on “your” team it gets a lil easier to digest. Seems like the last time we had to worry about complicated win/losses to get in was the 11-5 Cassel year, but I could be wrong, and if I am I am positive it will be pointed out to me.

  13. “Dallas clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

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

    I said this yesterday but why does ARI have to lose for DAL to get home field? If DAL/SEA/ARI all win, SEA would be #1 or #2 and ARI would be #5 b/c SEA wins division. If that happens and DET/GB tie, then DAL/SEA are the only division winners at 12-4 and DAL would get #1 seed and HFA due to H2H win over SEA. So I don’t see why an ARI loss would make a difference.

  14. pacificnw7722 says:Dec 23, 2014 9:41 AM

    Seattle will get home field all the way……mark it.

    ———————-

    Seattle wins and they get 1st seed. The other scenario is next to impossible. They would really have to blow it to miss the first seed.

    STL will probably try anything to win early on (trick plays, 4th downs, etc)… but if Seattle gets a decent lead the game will be over. No one wants to get hurt and have to recover from a season ending injury for the whole offseason.

  15. Was reading up on some betting info for next week’s Pit-Cin game. LV has the number of Dalton pick-sixes at 11. I’m still taking the over.

  16. If the Patriots don’t get to the Super Bowl it will be a colossal collapse. They are so much better than the rest of the AFC its stupid.

  17. tedmurph says:Dec 23, 2014 11:43 AM

    I agree the Ravens would have the better chance of beating the Pats in Foxboro than Indy or Pittsburgh. It’s a matchup thing. The Ravens are the only AFC team that’s really given the Pats a run for their money the last few yrs, winning 2/3 AFCC gms in Foxboro and 3-3 overall the last 6.

    Brady has won 5 out the last 6 against Pitts, most of them blowouts. That doesn’t include the 2 AFCC gms the Pats won@Pitts earlier(7-3 overall). Always been a tough matchup for the Steelers. Also, theSteelers have played the easiest schedule in the NFL this yr, based on this yr’s records. Just sayin’.

    Pats have played the Colts 3 times in the Luck era and blown them out all 3 times, including twice in 2014. Bad matchup for the Colts too.

    ———————-

    Maybe the Ravens of the past, but the current Ravens are probably not making the playoffs, and if they do, they are more like the Ravens that the Patriots ran over last year at the end of the regular season then the Ray Lewis era Ravens. They aren’t great.

  18. sec328onroute1 says:Dec 23, 2014 10:22 AM

    The only team that ‘can’ beat NE in Foxboro is Baltimore. They play physical and have won there before. Steelers and Indy are frauds who would get lit up by Brady like a Christmas tree.

    ————————–

    They aren’t even the same team anymore. That’s like saying the 49ers could win in Seattle. They couldn’t because they aren’t good this year. Same goes for Baltimore. They have 4 wins against the NFC South and 2 against Jax and Tenn. Some of the worst teams in the league. The Ravens are much closer to the team that NE steam rolled at the end of last season then they are to the team that last won a playoff game in NE. Flacco would be flustered all day against the current Patriots defense too.

  19. If Cincy beats Pitt and San Diego beats KC… San Diego travels to Cincy for the wild card round in a rematch of last year.

    Last year, San Diego sort of smacked Cincy around for 4 quarters.

    Based on how Cincy trashed Denver last night, they might want to throw that game against Pitt and take the 5 seed and go to Denver.

  20. jcc2525 – because any three way tie Seattle wins due to conference win loss.

    In a three + way tie, first tie breaker is conference record.

    Actually, first, conference win loss would eliminate Dallas, then head to head would eliminate Az.

    The only way Dallas can get the #1 seed is if they and Seattle alone tie for first, then first tie breaker is head to head.

  21. Looks like it’s New England and Green Bay once again.
    The Green Bay Packers will be World Champions for the 14th time.
    GO PACK GO!!!! BOOM!

  22. higheriqthanyou says:Dec 23, 2014 3:16 PM

    jcc2525 – because any three way tie Seattle wins due to conference win loss.

    In a three + way tie, first tie breaker is conference record.

    Actually, first, conference win loss would eliminate Dallas, then head to head would eliminate Az.

    The only way Dallas can get the #1 seed is if they and Seattle alone tie for first, then first tie breaker is head to head.

    ——————————————-

    Correct me if I’m wrong but only division winners can get a top 4 seed. That’s why Arizona’s record is irrelevant if Dallas and Seattle are 12-4 and DET/GB are 11-4-1. Arizona gets #5 b/c they lost the division, and the only tie to be broken is between DAL/SEA. H2H gives DAL #1 in that case.

  23. Dallas clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

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

    2) DAL win + a DET/GB tie + a ARI win + a SEA win

    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 + a DET/GB tie + a DAL loss or tie

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

    fixed.
    Go Seahawks!

  24. If Dallas and Seattle wins and Arizona loses, wouldn’t Dallas get a first round bye? It should go to head to head, right?

  25. MISTAKE

    As unlikely as it is, a DAL win and GB-DET tie will give DAL home-field throughout the playoffs.

    AZ has zero effect. So what I’m guessing were these playoff scenarios were copied from somewhere else.

    First off, the NFC West winner will need to be decided, and that goes and that is a 2 way tie break. Seattle has the advantage over Arizona if they are both 12-4.

    This means Seattle has won the NFC West and must be a 1-4 seed, and Arizona must be a 5-6 seed.

    Thus Seattle and Dallas being the only division winners sitting 12-4. Head to head, Dallas over Seattle in Week 6.

    You cannot utilize a 3 team tie break including the Dallas Cowboys to determine the winner of the NFC West. That is the first priority.

    (I even ran it through ESPN playoff machine to prove it.)

  26. Run the Cowboys through the playoff machine again.

    If GB/DET tie and DAL wins that puts them at 12-4. Then ARI needs to lose so they are 11-5 and the Lions move up. DAL #1 / DET #2

    If ARI wins that has both at 12-4 with ARI having the tie break. It is then ARI #1 / DAL #2

    With an ARI win the Cowboys would then also need a SEA win so that SEA is top spot in the NFC West, not ARI, and DAL then has the tie break. DAL #1 / SEA #2

    Go Seahawks!

  27. Congrats to jcc2525 for asking my exact question that I thought in error. My thinking was that the NFC West champ would be decided first so AZ was no longer in consideration because of WC status. After study I thought they must be including AZ making it a three way going to best conference record, all with 12-4 records. I’m still not sure how the league would decide in the event this highly unlikely scenario unfolds.

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