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NFL Week 17 Playoff Picture and Scenarios

John Morgan
John Morgan on Twitter
December 29, 2015 at 7:00 am ET

NFL Week 17 Playoff Picture and Scenarios

🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

NFL Week 17 Playoff Picture

with Clinching and Elimination Scenarios

 

While many of the top NFL teams such as New England, Seattle, Carolina and Green Bay lost in Week 16, nobody was more negatively affected than Pittsburgh. A shockingly flat performance against an injury-riddled Baltimore team that was forced to turn to a recently out-of-work Ryan Mallett as their fourth starting quarterback this season, will most likely keep the Steelers out of post-season play. Losses by the Patriots and Panthers prevented those teams from securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but did not drop them in the playoff standings. Seattle’s loss at worse means only the difference between a fifth and sixth seed, and despite the Packers looking abysmal on Sunday night, they are still in the driver’s seat to win the division and claim the number three seed in the NFC.

 

We know which teams will represent the NFC in the playoffs, but only one of the six slots (Washington, #4) is determined yet. In the AFC there are still eight clubs alive, though one of them – the Indianapolis Colts – needs so very many things to happen they are nothing more than a humorous anecdote. Who knows, maybe Jim Irsay will hang a banner congratulating the team for remaining alive until the final week of the season.

 

Here is a look at all of the remaining playoff clinching and elimination scenarios, no matter how minute. For the sake of clarity and the attempt to avoid mind-numbing confusion, I have not forgotten – but instead have avoided scenarios involving ties.

 

NFL Week 17 Playoff Picture

1. New England Patriots
12-3 [9-2 conference]
Clinched AFC East and a first-round bye
at Dolphins
85% chance for #1 seed
– Clinch #1 seed with either a win, or a Broncos loss
– Drop to #2 seed with a loss, plus Broncos win

2. Denver Broncos
11-4 [7-4 conference, 3-2 division]
Clinched playoff spot with Monday night win over Bengals
at Chargers
15% chance for #1 seed; 78% chance for #2; 1% for #3; 6% for wild card
– Clinch #1 seed with a win, plus Patriots loss
– Clinch #2 seed with a win
– Clinch #2 seed with losses by both Bengals and Chiefs
– Clinch #3 seed with loss by Chiefs
– Clinch #5 seed with loss by Jets
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either a loss, or a win by Patriots
– Eliminated from #2 seed with loss, plus Bengals win
– Eliminated from #3 seed with loss, plus Chiefs win
– Become #6 seed with loss, plus Chiefs win, plus Jets win

3. Cincinnati Bengals
11-4 [8-3 conference]
Clinched AFC North and at least #3 seed
at Broncos, vs Ravens
7% chance for #2 seed; 93% chance for #3 seed
– Clinch #2 seed with win, plus Broncos loss
– Clinch #2 seed with Chiefs win, plus Broncos loss
– Become #3 seed with Broncos win
– Become #3 seed with Chiefs loss

4. Houston Texans
8-7 [4-1 division, 6-5 conference]
vs Jaguars
99.9% chance of winning AFC South and #4 seed
– Clinch #4 seed with any one of the following: Texans win; Colts lose; Bengals win; Patriots win; Jets win; Chargers win; Saints win; or Steelers lose plus Chiefs win
– Eliminated if every single one of the above does not happen

5. Kansas City Chiefs
10-5 [9-2 conference, 4-1 division]
Clinched playoff spot; win tiebreaker for #5 seed based on conference record
vs Raiders
5% chance to win division and #3 seed; 82% chance for #5, 13% chance for #6
– Clinch #3 seed with win, plus Broncos loss
– Clinch #5 seed with either a win, or a Jets loss
– Eliminated from #3 seed with either a loss, or a Broncos win
– Eliminated from #5 seed with both a loss, plus Jets win

6. New York Jets
10-5 [7-4 conference]
Need to finish with better record than Steelers to make playoffs
at Bills
15% chance for #5 seed, 49% chance for #6 seed, 36% chance for no playoffs
– Clinch #5 seed with win, plus Broncos loss
– Clinch #5 seed with win, plus Chiefs loss
– Clinch #6 seed with win, or Steelers loss
– Eliminated from playoffs with loss, plus Steelers win
– All other scenarios Jets become #6 seed

7. Pittsburgh Steelers
9-6 [6-5 conference]
Hold tiebreaker over Jets based on common games
at Browns
36% chance for #6 seed; 64% chance for no playoffs
– Clinch #6 seed with both a win, plus Jets loss
– Eliminated from playoffs with either a loss, or Jets win

10. Indianapolis Colts
7-8 [3-2 division, 5-6 conference]
vs Titans
99.9% chance to miss playoffs
– Need ALL of the following to happen:
Colts beats the Titans, plus
Texans lose to Jaguars, plus
Patriots lose to Dolphins, plus
Jets lose to Bills, plus
Chiefs lose to Raiders, plus
Steelers beat Browns, plus
Bengals lose to Ravens, plus
Broncos beat Chargers, plus
Falcons beats the Saints

 

NFL Week 17 Playoff Picture

1. Carolina Panthers
14-1 [10-1 conference]
Clinched NFC South division title and first round bye
vs Bucs
95% chance for becoming the #1 seed, 5% chance for #2 seed
– Clinch #1 seed with either a win, or a loss by Cardinals
– Drop to #2 seed with loss to Bucs, plus Cardinals win

2. Arizona Cardinals
13-2 [10-1 conference]
Clinched NFC West and a first round bye
vs Seahawks
94% chance for a first round bye
– Clinch #1 seed with a win over Seahawks, plus loss by Panthers
– Become #2 seed with either a loss, or a win by Panthers

3. Green Bay Packers
10-5 [3-2 division, 7-4 conference]
Clinched a playoff spot
vs Vikings
61% chance for #3 seed; 39% chance for #5 seed
– Clinch NFC North and #3 seed with win over Vikings
– Become #5 seed with loss

4. Washington Redskins
8-7 [7-4 conference]
Clinched NFC East and are locked into #4 seed
at Cowboys

5. Minnesota Vikings
10-5 [7-4 conference, 4-1 division]
Clinched a playoff spot
at Packers
Leapfrogged Seahawks last week with win over Giants and Seattle’s loss to Rams
39% chance to win division and #3 seed; 48% chance for #5 seed; 13% for #6 seed
– Clinch division and #3 seed with win over Packers
– Become #5 seed with loss, plus Seahawks loss
– Become #6 seed with loss, plus Seahawks win

6. Seattle Seahawks
9-6 [6-5 conference]
Clinched playoff spot; can only be a wild card
at Cardinals
13% chance of being the #5 seed, 87% chance of being the #6 seed
– Become #5 seed with win over Cardinals, plus Vikings loss
– Become #6 seed with either a loss, or a Vikings win

 

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Tags: 2015 NFL Season 2015 Patriots Season 2015 Playoff Picture AFC Arizona Cardinals Carolina Panthers Cincinnati Bengals Denver Broncos Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New York Jets NFC Pittsburgh Steelers Seattle Seahawks Washington Redskins

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