Were heading into the final week of the Regular season and the Playoffs are right around the corner.
In this post, I shall be breaking down the chances of all the teams that are still in with a shot of making the Playoffs. This will include providing the somewhat complicated Playoff scenarios for the potential Wildcard teams.
Here is the Playoff picture in the AFC as it stands.
1. New England Patriots 12-3 AFC East
2. Baltimore Ravens 11-4 AFC North
3. Houston Texans 10-5 AFC South
4. Denver Broncos 8-7 AFC West
5. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-4 Wildcard
6. Cincinnati Bengals 9-7 Wildcard
Here are the teams that are still in with a chance of making the Playoffs.
7. Oakland Raiders 8-7
8. Tennessee Titans 8-7
9. New York Jets 8-7
New England Patriots
The Patriots have secured their third consecutive AFC East title and currently hold the number 1 seed in the AFC. A win against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday will see the Pats finish with the number1 seed and give them homefield advantage throughout the Playoffs.
The Ravens go into their final game of the season with a Playoff place secured but their final Playoff position is still uncertain. The Ravens can still finish with the number1 seed with a win against the Cincinnati Bengals and a Patriots loss but they can also finish with a wildcard place if they lose and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns.
The Texans make the Playoffs for the first time ever after they clinched the AFC South title in Week 14. Since then however, the Texans have lost two straight games and appear to be struggling with third choice Rookie Quarterback T.J Yates at the helm. The Texans have secured the number3 seed and will play against the number6 seed in the Playoffs.
The Broncos are on the verge of making the Playoffs for the first time in six years and their Playoff scenario is simple, win or go home. If the Broncos beat the Kansas City Chiefs, they clinch the AFC West title and make the Playoffs. If the Broncos lose to the Kansas City Chiefs, they will have to rely on other results going their way to make the Playoffs.
The Steelers have already clinched a wildcard place but can still improve on their position. If they win and the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Bengals, they will win the AFC North and finish with the number2 seed. With a Playoff place already secured, it may be a good idea to rest quarterback Ben Roethlisberger whose been struggling with an ankle injury.
The Bengals face a similar scenario to the Broncos, knowing that a win against division rivals Baltimore Ravens will secure a Playoff place. The Bengals cannot improve on their position and will have to be content with a wildcard place. If the Bengals were to lose, they would have to rely on other results going their way to secure the number6 seed.
The Raiders are still in with a shot of winning the AFC West. First and foremost, they must get a win against the San Diego Chargers to have any shot at making the Playoffs. A Raiders win and a Broncos loss would see the Raiders win the AFC West. If both teams were to win, they would need results in other games to go their way to clinch the final wildcard place.
The Titans have quietly forced themselves into Playoff contention and are in with a shot getting the final wildcard place. The Titans must defeat division rivals Houston Texans and hope that the Cincinnati Bengals lose. If this happens, the Titans would get the final wildcard spot as long as the Raiders fail to win or the Raiders win and the Jets lose.
New York Jets
The Jets must defeat the Miami Dolphins to have any shot at making the Playoffs. They have lost their last two games and are depending on other results to get the final wildcard place. The Jets must hope that the Bengals/Raiders/Titans fail to win. A Raiders win and Bengals/Titans/Broncos loss would also send the Jets to the Playoffs.
You’ll be glad to hear that the Playoff picture in the NFC is a lot less complicated.
Here is the Playoff picture in the NFC as it stands as it stands.
1. Green Bay Packers 14-1 NFC North
2. San Francisco 49ers 12-3 NFC West
3. New Orleans Saints 12-3 NFC South
4. New York Giants 8-7 NFC East
5. Detroit Lions 10-5 Wildcard
6. Atlanta Falcons 9-6 Wildcard
The Dallas Cowboys are the only team that is still in with a chance of making the Playoffs.
7. Dallas Cowboys 8-7
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have secured the number1 seed and will have homefield advantage throughout the Playoffs. They may have fallen short on an undefeated season but the Packers are still the team to beat in the NFC. A potential rematch with the New Orleans Saints would make for an incredible NFC Championship Game.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have turned things around this season and have made the Playoffs for the first time in nine years. Under Rookie Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have cruised to the NFC West title and are looking to secure the number2 seed. A win against the St.Louis Rams would secure the number2 seed for the 49ers and also clinch a first-round bye.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have already clinched the NFC South title and so all that’s left to decide is whether they will be the number2/3 seed. With record-breaking quarterback Drew Brees at the helm, the Saints know that getting the number2 seed could be crucial to their Superbowl chances. The Saints need to win their final game and hope that the 49ers lose to the Rams.
New York Giants
The Giants go into their final game of the season knowing only a win would send them to the Playoffs. A defeat against the Dallas Cowboys would mean no Playoff football for the Giants for the third consecutive season and would put Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s job on the line. It all comes down to the final game to decide the winner of the NFC East.
The Lions have already clinched a wild-card berth and will be in the Playoffs for the first time since 1999. A win in their final game against the Green Bay Packers and the Lions would secure the number5 seed and play either the New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys in the Playoffs. The Lions will be a dangerous team for any opponent in the Playoffs.
The Falcons have also clinched a wild-card berth and can move up to the number5 seed with a win in their final game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a Lions loss. If they fail to win their final game they will have to be contempt with the number6 seed and could face a potential match-up division rivals New Orleans Saints.
The Cowboys are the only other team in the NFC that can make the Playoffs. Their Playoff destiny will be decided by a must-win game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. A win for the Cowboys would give them the NFC East title and secure the number4 seed, a loss would make for no Playoff football in Dallas.
So be sure to tune in Sunday night to watch the Playoff picture unfold. Thanks for reading.