NFL Week 17 playoff scenarios:
The following teams still have potential playoff relevance heading into the final week of the regular season. The most likely and plausible scenarios are covered here.
All week 17 games are divisional games.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1) – The Chiefs clinched the AFC West and the #1 seed. The Chiefs get the only AFC first-round bye. They have nothing to play for so expect some key starters to sit this week against the Chargers.
2. Buffalo Bills (12-3) – The Bills clinched the AFC East and will keep the #2 seed with a win against the Dolphins.
The open line had the Bills at -5.5, but has now moved to a pick ’em, suggesting the betting market thinks the Bills will rest starters against the Dolphins. The Dolphins can clinch a wild card spot with a win.
The spread is now Bills -3. The Bills could operate normally but be scoreboard watching the Steelers game as that game is also early.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) – The Steelers clinched the AFC North and can elevate to the #2 seed with a win at Cleveland AND a Bills loss.
HC Tomlin has no interest in playoff seeding, as QB Mason Rudolph will get the start to rest Roethlisberger. The open line had the Browns at -4, but has now correspondingly moved to -10.
WR Chase Claypool – 1 receiving TD shy of Steelers’ rookie record.
4. Tennessee Titans (10-5) – With a win against the Texans, the Titans will clinch the AFC South. They will be motivated to win.
5. Miami Dolphins (10-5) – The Dolphins will clinch the #5 seed with a win at Buffalo. Buffalo likely could rest starters. The Dolphins will be motivated to win.
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-5) – The Ravens clinch a wild card spot with a win at Cincinnati. They will be motivated to win.
QB Lamar Jackson – 98 rushing yards shy of 1,000 for the year.
7. Cleveland Browns (10-5) – With a win against the Steelers, the Browns can claim the final wild card spot.
The Steelers are expected to rest starters as current +10 road dogs. The Browns will be motivated to win.
Still alive, but needs help:
Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – The Colts need a win against the Jaguars AND losses from the Titans, Dolphins, Ravens or Browns. This scenario is tenuous for the Colts and they could possibly finish with an 11-5 record and not make the playoffs.
1. Green Bay Packers (12-3) – The Packers clinched the NFC North, and with a win against the Bears, will also claim the #1 seed and the NFC’s first-round bye. They will play to win.
QB Aaron Rodgers – Can tie Tom Brady for the most games with 3+ passing TDs. Rodgers stated he wants the MVP this year and is the current favorite.
2. New Orleans Saints (11-4) – The Saints clinched the NFC South. The Saints could claim the #1 seed with a win at Carolina AND a Packers loss AND a Seahawks loss.
The open line had the Saints as -6.5 point road favorites. The spread has moved to -5.5.
3. Seattle Seahawks (11-4) – The Seahawks clinched the NFC West. They have a shot to get the #1 seed with a win at the 49ers AND a Packers loss AND a Saints loss.
The Seahawks opened as -6.5 road favorites, and the line has now moved to -5.5.
4. Washington Football Team (6-9) – The WFT wins the NFC East with a win at Philadelphia. They will play to win.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5) – The Bucs have secured a wild card spot. A win would secure the #5 seed and a favorable matchup against whoever wins the weak NFC East.
The open line had the Bucs as -7.5 point home favorites against the Falcons. The line has now moved to -7.
WR Mike Evans – 40 receiving yards shy of 1,000. Hitting the 1,000 yard mark this season would set a new consecutive records streak to start a career with seven straight.
6. Los Angeles Rams (9-6) – The Rams claim a wild card spot with a win against the Cardinals. They will play to win.
QB Jared Goff (thumb surgery) will miss this game. Backup John Wolford will get his first NFL start.
7. Chicago Bears (8-7) – The Bears can secure a wild card spot with a win against the Packers as +5.5 home dogs. They should be motivated.
Still alive, but needs help:
Arizona Cardinals (8-7) – The Cardinals can secure a wild card spot with a win against the Rams AND a Bears loss. They will play to win.
Dallas Cowboys (6-9) – The Cowboys are still alive for the NFC East title but need help. The Cowboys need a win at the Giants AND a WFT loss to take the division.
New York Giants (5-10) – The Giants are still alive for the NFC East title but need help. The Giants need a win against the Cowboys AND a WFT loss to take the division.