NFL Week 17 Playoff Permutations: Three spots waiting to be secured

Houston Texans
"First NFL football game 008" by thisgeekredes https://flickr.com/photos/krisandapril/51403649 is licensed under CC BY

We are heading into the final weekend of the regular season in the NFL and there is still plenty to be decided, with the biggest scenarios still up in the air concerning the final three positions in the playoffs.

The AFC has been extremely tight all year and four teams are heading into the weekend battling it out for the two remaining positions, while in the NFC the Vikings and the Eagles are the two teams looking to land the final spot.

On top of that, the AFC West, AFC South and AFC North titles are still up for grabs and the respective champions will be crowned this weekend. With plenty to be decided, we have delved into the results that are required for the teams in question to meet their objectives.

Already qualified: Kansas City Chiefs (AFC), Los Angeles Chargers (AFC), New Orleans Saints (NFC), Los Angeles Rams (NFC), Chicago Bears (NFC), New England Patriots (AFC), Houston Texans (AFC), Seattle Seahawks (NFC), Dallas Cowboys (NFC).

NFC

Los Angeles Rams (12-3-0) – 2nd seed

The LA Rams have had their spot in the playoffs secured for a number of weeks but their final position in the postseason is still up in the air. If they secure a win or a tie against the San Francisco 49ers this weekend, the Rams will secure a first-round bye. If the Chicago Bears fail to win, then the Rams would secure that regardless of the result in their game.

Chicago Bears (11-4-0) – 3rd seed

The Bears still have a chance of securing a first-round bye in the playoffs but they need everything to go their way. If they are to watch from the sofa in the first week of the playoffs, they will need to beat the Vikings in Minnesota and also need the San Francisco 49ers to do them a favour against the Rams.


Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) – 4th seed

The Vikings are within touching distance of a spot in the playoffs but need to ensure they do not slip this weekend. A victory or a tie against Chicago would be enough and, if they were to lose to the Bears, then Minnesota would need the Eagles to fail to win.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-7-0)

The Eagles kept their hopes alive with a last-gasp victory against the Texans last weekend but need another miracle if they are to sneak into the playoffs. If they are to return to the postseason to extend the defence of their crown, they need to beat the Redskins in Washington but also require the Bears to beat the Vikings.

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4-0) – 1st seed

Another side who had their playoff secured for a while, the Chiefs still have some work to do if they are to secure the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The simple scenario is a win against the Raiders but there is also more complicated matters.

A tie would also be enough if the Chargers were to fail to win, while the Chiefs would also secure their goal if the Chargers were to lose, New England was not to win and Houston also did not secure a victory.

Meanwhile, a defeat for the Chargers and New England failing to win would clinch the AFC West title and a first-round bye, with the same also occurring if the Chargers lost and Houston did not win. Still with us?

Finally, the AFC West division title would be secured if the Chargers were to lose or if both the Chiefs and the Chargers were to tie.

New England Patriots (10-5-0) – 2nd seed

Another contender for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs are the Patriots, who would secure that with a win over the Jets along with defeats for both the Chiefs and the Chargers. Meanwhile, a win would secure a first-round bye and a tie would also be enough if Houston were to fail to win.

On top of that, a Houston loss and both the Ravens and the Titans failing to win would also be enough.

Houston Texans (10-5-0) – 3rd seed

The outsiders in the hunt for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Texans require five things to go their way. Firstly, the Texans need to beat the Jaguars but they also need New England not to win, the Chiefs and the Chargers to lose, while clinching a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Kansas.

A first-round bye and the AFC South title will be secured with a Texans win and a New England loss or tie, while a win accompanied with defeats for the Chargers and the Chiefs would see Houston clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Kansas City. A tie for the Texans along with a New England defeat would also be enough and a more complicated scenario of a tie between the Colts and the Titans, a New England loss and a Baltimore win would see the Texans clinch a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over BAL.

Finally, the Texans will seal the AFC South title with a win or a tie, while a tie in the clash between the Colts and Titans would also be enough.

Baltimore Ravens (9-6-0) – 4th seed

Baltimore are chasing the AFC North title and a first-round bye, which they will secure with a win, a New England loss, a Houston loss but they would also need a winner from the clash between the Colts and the Titans.

In the hunt for the AFC North title, a win would be enough but their crown would also be secured if Pittsburgh were to lose, regardless of the Ravens’ results. A tie would be enough if the Steelers were also to tie.

A worst-case scenario would be simply securing a playoff spot, which they would achieve if they tied with the Browns and the clash between the Colts and the Titans also finished level.

Los Angeles Chargers (11-4-0) – 5th seed

The Chargers are aiming to secure a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which they can achieve with a victory accompanied by the Chiefs failing to beat the Raiders. A tie would also be enough if the Chiefs lost.

Indianapolis Colts (9-6-0) – 6th seed

First point of call for the Colts is winning the AFC South division title, which would require a victory and a defeat for the Texans. A playoff spot is still not guaranteed though and booking a spot in the post-season would require one of three scenarios.

The first would be a victory for the Colts but a tie would also be enough if Pittsburgh failed to win or if the Ravens lost.

Tennessee Titans (9-6-0)

A straight shootout with the Colts lies ahead for the Titans in the battle for a playoff spot, where victory would send Tennessee into the postseason, but the AFC South division title and a first-round bye is also possible if the Titans win, Houston lose, New England lose and Baltimore fail to win.

The AFC South title, without the first-round bye, would be secured with a win and a loss for the Texans.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1)

Pittsburgh will seal the AFC North title if they beat the Bengals and the Ravens fail to win, while a tie would also be enough if Baltimore were to lose. A victory, alongside a tie in the clash between the Colts and the Titans, would hand the Steelers a playoff spot.

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About Josh Challies 24 Articles
Yorkshire-based Seattle Seahawks follower. Iconic Atlanta United manager on FM18. Only here so I don't get fined.

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