NFL playoff picture: Three teams can clinch divisions in Week 17

Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks with Week 17 underway:


x – 1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2), NFC East leaders: One more win clinches the division, a first-round bye and home-field advantage. Remaining schedule: vs. Saints, vs. Giants

y – 2. Minnesota Vikings (12-3), NFC North champions: If they win out – which must be done on the road against a pair of cold-weather divisional rivals – and Eagles lose out, Vikes will snatch NFC’s No. 1 seed. Remaining schedule: at Packers, at Bears

y – 3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4), NFC West champions: Thanks to their NFC-best 9-2 record in intraconference games, Niners still have a path to No. 1 seed if they win out and no one else in NFC reaches 14 wins. Remaining schedule: at Raiders, vs. Cardinals

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4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8), NFC South leaders: Pretty simple – beat Carolina on Sunday, and Bucs repeat as division champs … ugly as it might be. Lose, and they’re in trouble. Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers, at Falcons

x – 5. Dallas Cowboys (12-4), wild card No. 1: If they win in Week 18 and Eagles drop their final two, America’s Team swoops to NFC East throne. Cowboys also have a road to No. 1 seed if they beat Washington – Philly must obviously lose its last two games – and finish tied atop conference with Minnesota. Remaining schedule: at Commanders

6. New York Giants (8-6-1), wild card No. 2: One more win, and Big Blue is back in postseason for first time since 2016. Remaining schedule: vs. Colts, at Eagles

7. Washington Commanders (7-7-1), wild card No. 3: They can lock up a berth this weekend by beating Cleveland if the three teams all a half-game back of Washington (Seattle, Detroit, Green Bay) all lose. Commanders will also advance by winning their last two games. Remaining schedule: vs. Browns, vs. Cowboys

8. Seattle Seahawks (7-8), out of playoff field: Since 6-3 start, they’ve won once. But hope lingers … and Week 4 victory at Detroit might serve them well. Remaining schedule: vs. Jets, vs. Rams

9. Detroit Lions (7-8), out of playoff field: Sunday’s loss at Carolina was a blow for feel-good Lions, but they can still recover with at least one win and some help. Remaining schedule: vs. Bears, at Packers 

10. Green Bay Packers (7-8), out of playoff field: They’ve gotten plenty of outside assistance past few weeks, but biggest aid has come internally courtesy of Pack’s three-game winning streak. If they win final two and Commanders lose once, Green Bay will be in the playoffs for the fourth time in four years under coach Matt LaFleur Remaining schedule: vs. Vikings, vs. Lions

11. Carolina Panthers (6-9), out of playoff field: Win their last two games, starting Sunday in Tampa, and they wind up atop the NFC South. Remaining schedule: at Buccaneers, at Saints

12. New Orleans Saints (6-9), out of playoff field: Though their record mirrors Carolina’s, Saints’ playoff outlook is far worse – mostly because New Orleans was swept by Bucs while Panthers can go 2-0 against Tampa Bay this weekend. Still, Saints remain very long shots for divisional title and wild-card berth. Remaining schedule: at Eagles, vs. Panthers


y – 1. Buffalo Bills (12-3), AFC East champions: Win at Cincinnati on Monday and they’ll sew up No. 1 seed – provided Kansas City first trips Sunday. Fall to the Bengals, and Buffalo could slip to third place in conference. Remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Patriots

y – 2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3), AFC West champions: A Buffalo loss to Cincinnati opens gate for K.C. to snatch No. 1 seed, an objective currently impeded by Chiefs’ Week 6 loss to Bills. Remaining schedule: vs. Broncos, at Raiders

x – 3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4), AFC North leaders: If they can beat Buffalo and wind up in a three-way tie with Bills and Chiefs, reigning conference champs would earn home field and first-round bye. A win Monday plus a Baltimore loss Sunday would convey AFC North championship to Cincinnati. Lose on Monday, and Bengals in jeopardy of dropping to wild-card range. Remaining schedule: vs. Bills, vs. Ravens

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8), AFC South leaders: Their Week 17 game at Houston has no bearing on their divisional aspirations, which will be decided the following week against Tennessee. Regardless, Jags plan to play their starters Sunday. Remaining schedule: at Texans, vs. Titans

x – 5. Baltimore Ravens (10-5), wild card No. 1: A win Sunday or Cincinnati loss Monday ensures Ravens and Bengals will play AFC North championship game in Week 18. Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers, at Bengals

x – 6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6), wild card No. 2: Playoff participants for the first time in four years, all that’s left to be determined is which divisional champion Bolts will visit in opening round. Remaining schedule: vs. Rams, at Broncos

7. Miami Dolphins (8-7), wild card No. 3: Four-game slide and QB Tua Tagovailoa’s latest concussion leave their postseason hopes in jeopardy … though a win Sunday plus a Jets loss clinches berth for Fins. Remaining schedule: at Patriots, vs. Jets

8. New England Patriots (7-8), out of playoff field: They’ve dropped four of five, and a loss to Miami on Sunday will keep Pats home for winter. Remaining schedule: vs. Dolphins, at Bills

9. New York Jets (7-8), out of playoff field: QB Mike White is back, and if he can engineer a pair of wins – and get the benefit of one New England defeat – then NYJ would end league’s longest playoff drought at 12 years. Remaining schedule: at Seahawks, at Dolphins

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8), out of playoff field: Postseason still looks like a pipe dream, especially with coach Mike Tomlin’s first losing season one defeat away … though odds have greatly improved by winning four of past five. Remaining schedule: at Ravens, vs. Browns

11. Tennessee Titans (7-9), out of playoff field: They essentially treated Thursday night’s preseason loss to Dallas like a preseason game given it’s the Week 18 matchup with Jacksonville that will determine who wins the AFC South crown. Remaining schedule: at Jaguars

12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9), out of playoff field: They’re technically alive, but even the Silver and Black have already waved the white flag by benching QB Derek Carr this week. Remaining schedule: vs. 49ers, at Chiefs​

x – clinched berth

y – clinched division


Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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