The week 17 NFL playoff scenarios are a whole lot simpler to decipher than they were a few weeks ago, or even just last week. In a nutshell Pats fans want the Pats to win (duh), and the Texans, and Broncos to lose. If the inconceivable should happen (i.e., the Dolphins beat the Pats) then we need the Ravens to lose.

Here are the more detailed possibilities for each team that can still possibly make the playoffs:

 

12-3 Houston Texans – (at Colts; favored by 6½)
Can be the #1, #2, or #3 seed

Will be the #1 seed with either:
Win at Colts, or
Losses by both Pats and Broncos

Will be at least the #2 seed with either:
Loss at Colts, plus loss by Pats, plus win by Broncos; or
Loss at Colts, plus loss by Broncos, plus win by Pats

Will be the #3 seed with all of:
Loss at Colts, plus Pats win, plus Broncos win

 

12-3 Denver Broncos – (home vs Chiefs; favored by 16)
Can be the #1, #2, or #3 seed

Will be the #1 seed with:
Win vs Chiefs, plus Texans loss

Will be the #2 seed with either:
Win vs Chiefs, plus Texans win
Loss vs Chiefs, plus Pats loss

Will be the #3 seed with both:
Loss to Chiefs, plus Pats win

 

11-4 New England Patriots – home vs Dolphins; favored by 10
Can be the #1, #2, #3 or #4 seed

Will be the #1 seed with:
Win vs Miami, plus Texans loss, plus Broncos loss

Will be the #2 seed with either:
Win vs Miami, plus Texans loss, plus Broncos win; or
Win vs Miami, plus Broncos loss, plus Texans win

Will be the #3 seed with either:
Win vs Miami, plus Texans win, plus Broncos win; or
Loss vs Miami, plus Ravens loss

Will be the #4 seed with both:
Loss vs Miami, plus Ravens win

 

10-5 Baltimore Ravens – (at Bengals; 2½ point underdogs)
Can be either #3 or #4 seed

Will be the #3 seed with both:
Win at Bengals, plus Pats loss

Will be the #4 seed with either:
Loss at Bengals, or Pats win

 

10-5 Indianapolis Colts – (home vs Texans; 6½ point underdogs)
Can only be the #5 seed
However – their game can have an effect on #1, #2 and #3 seeds

 

9-6 Cincinnati Bengals – (home vs Ravens; 2½ point favorites)
Can only be the #6 seed
However – their game can have an effect on the #3 and #4 seeds

 

 

13-2 Atlanta Falcons – (home vs Bucs; no line)
Can only be the #1 seed

 

11-4 Green Bay Packers – at Vikings; 3½ point favorites
Can either be the #2 or #3 seed

Will be the #2 seed with either:
Win at Vikings; or
Losses by both Seahawks and 49ers

Will be the #3 seed with either:
Loss to Vikings, plus Seahawks win; or
Loss to Vikings, plus 49ers win

 

10-4-1 San Francisco 49ers – (home vs Cardinals; favored by 16½)
Can be the #2, #3 or #5 seed

Will be the #2 seed with both:
Win vs Cardinals, plus Packers loss

Will be the #3 seed with either:
Win vs Cardinals, plus Packers win; or
Loss vs Cardinals, plus Seahawks loss; or
Seahawks loss, plus Packers win

Will be the #5 seed with both:
Loss vs Cardinals, plus Seahawks win

 

10-5 Seattle Seahawks – (home vs Rams; favored by 10½)
Can be the #2, #3 or #5 seed

Will be the #2 seed with:
Win vs Rams, plus Packers loss, plus 49ers loss

Will be the #3 seed with:
Win vs Rams, plus Packers win, plus 49ers loss

Will be the #5 seed with:
Loss to Rams, or
49ers win

 

9-6 Washington Redskins – home vs Cowboys; favored by 3
Can be either the #4, #6 seed, or miss playoffs

Will be the #4 seed with:
Win vs Cowboys

Will be the #6 seed with:
Loss to Cowboys, plus Vikings loss, plus Bears loss

Are eliminated with either:
Loss to Cowboys, plus Vikings win; or
Loss to Cowboys, plus Bears win

 

8-7 Dallas Cowboys – at Redskins; 3-point underdogs
Can either be the #4 seed or miss the playoffs

Will be the #4 seed with win vs Redskins

Will miss the playoffs with a loss

 

9-6 Minnesota Vikings – (home vs Vikings; 3½ point underdogs)
Can be the #6 seed or miss playoffs

Will be the #6 seed with either:
Win vs Packers; or
Loss by the Bears, plus loss by the Cowboys, plus loss by the Giants

Will miss the playoffs with either:
Loss to Packers, plus Bears win; or
Loss to Packers, plus Cowboys win; or
Loss to Packers, plus Giants win

 

9-6 Chicago Bears – at Lions; favored by 3
Can either be #6 seed or miss playoffs

Will be the #6 seed with both:
Bears win vs Lions, plus Vikings loss

Will miss the playoffs with:
Loss to Lions; or
Vikings win

 

8-7 New York Giants – home vs Eagles; favored by 7½
Can either be #6 seed, or miss playoffs

Will be the #6 seed with:
Win vs Eagles; plus Vikings loss; plus Bears loss; plus Cowboys loss

Will miss the playoffs with either:
Loss to Eagles, or
Vikings win, or
Bears win, or
Cowboys win

 

 

This Day In Patriots History

 

December 28, 1963:
Boston Patriots 26, Buffalo Bills 8 at War Memorial Stadium

The Pats and Bills finished the regular season tied for first place in the AFL East, so the title was determined the old fashioned way: by meeting in a playoff game. The Bills win in Week 14 over the Jets coupled with the Pats loss to the Chiefs forced the tilt. The Pats lost the first meeting on October 26, 28-21, but won the rematch at Fenway on December 1 by a score of 17-7.

This game was a one-sided affair as the Pats defense held the Bills to a mere 7 yards rushing and forced six Buffalo turnovers, while the offense turned it over just once. Larry Garron scored on a 59-yard catch and run from Babe Parilli in the first quarter, and Gino Cappelletti kicked three field goals to give the Patriots a 16-0 lead at halftime. Daryl Lamonica replaced Jack Kemp at QB for Buffalo and threw a 3rd quarter 93-yard touchdown pass to Elbert Dubenion; the two-point conversion made it a one-score game, cutting the lead to 16-8.

In the 4th quarter Parilli hooked up with Garron again for a 17-yard touchdown, and Cappelletti’s 36-yard field goal – his fourth of the game – put the icing on the cake. The Patriots had won their first division title, and would play for the AFL championship a week later.

Parilli finished the game with 300 yards passing, Garron had 164 yards from scrimmage, and Cappelletti had 109 yards receiving in addition to his kicking duties; on defense Ross O’Hanley had two interceptions and Jack Rudolph had two sacks. For the season Cappelletti led the league in field goals made (22), and scoring (113 points).

 

December 28, 1985:
New England Patriots 26, New York Jets 14 at Exit 16W

The Patriots won their first-ever NFL playoff game, and second in franchise history – and also ended the Jets season with a victory in New Jersey. Ironically for head coach Raymond Berry it came on the anniversary of the ‘greatest game ever played’, when he teamed with Johnny Unitas for a Colts victory.

The game featured two quarterbacks from the renowned 1983 quarterback class, Tony Eason and Ken O’Brien. O’Brien had thrown for 3,888 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions; he was considered to be much better than Eason (2,156 yards, 11 TD, 17 INT). That combined with home field advantage made the Jets favorites to win the game.

The two teams entered the game with identical 11-5 records and on a hot streak: the Pats finished 7-2, while the Jets finished 6-3 – including a 16-13 win over the Pats in NJ.

The first half was close, with two Pats field goals being the difference in the 13-7 lead. However, the game turned in the third quarter when Johnny Rembert picked up a fumble on a kick return and ran it 15 yards for a touchdown, to give the Pats a 23-7 lead.

The Pats defense harassed the Jets all game, collecting five sacks, including three in the 4th quarter (three by Garon Veris, and one each by Don Blackmon and Andre Tippett), three fumble recoveries (by Rembert, Steve Nelson and Roland James), and two interceptions (Veris and Fred Marion).

After the score by Rembert, Joe Walton yanked O’Brien and replaced him with Pat Ryan, who did lead the Jets to a touchdown to make the score 23-14. That was as close as it would get as the Pats D – who allowed just 58 yards rushing on 21 carries – was relentless. In the 4th quarter Tony Franklin booted his fourth field goal to put the game out of reach.

While Eason did not put up gaudy stats, he was accurate and did not turn the ball over, which mattered more; he finished 12-16 for 179 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Stanley Morgan led the Pats offense with 62 yards receiving, including a 36-yard touchdown reception.

 

December 28, 1987:
New England Patriots 24, Miami Dolphins 10 at Joe Robbie Stadium

On Monday Night Football for the final game of the regular season the Pats – who had been eliminated 24 hours earlier – played the role of spoiler and kept the favored Dolphins out of the playoffs.

The Pats defense was the key, forcing four turnovers, picking Dan Marino off twice, and holding the Dolphins to just 54 yards on the ground. Once they had the ball the Pats just played keep away, by running the ball 44 times for 138 yards, and forcing Marino to just watch from the sidelines.

Steve Grogan threw two touchdown passes, to Irving Fryar (3 yards) and Stephen Starring (34 yards) to give the Pats a 14-3 first quarter lead. Tony Collins scored on a 5-yard run, and after a 31-yard Tony Franklin field goal the Pats were up 24-3 at halftime. The Dolphins finally found the end zone in the 4th quarter but by then it was too late, and their season was over. Fred Marion and Ernest Gibson each had an interception of a Marino pass for the New England defense.

 

December 28, 1997:
New England Patriots 17, Miami Dolphins 3 in Foxboro
Wild Card Playoff Game

The Patriots put any remaining Miami demons to rest for good as they swept the Dolphins 3-0 for the season and completely dominated the Dolphins, despite not having running back Curtis Martin available due to a shoulder injury.

The Pats constantly pressured Dan Marino, finishing with four sacks, nine hurries, six knockdowns, four deflections and two interceptions against the future hall of famer. In the 2nd quarter Chris Slade‘s 22-yard interception return of a pass tipped by Larry Whigham set up a 24-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Troy Brown to give the Pats a 7-0 lead. Then early in the third quarter the Pats defense audibled and Todd Collins stepped in and picked off a Marino pass in the flat, returning it 40 yards for another score.

Early in the 4th quarter Miami got on the scoreboard with a 38-yard Olindo Mare field goal, and things looked dicey for a moment when the Dolphins recovered the ensuing onside kick. However the Pats hit Marino on the next play and recovered the fumble, and were never threatened again.

The Pats defense held Miami to a club record playoff-low of 162 total yards of offense. Derrick Cullors, filling in for the injured Curtis Martin, rushed for 86 yards on 22 carries – both career highs for the backup who usually only got on the field for kick returns. Ted Johnson, Chris Canty, Willie McGinest and Chris Slade each had a sack for the Pats defense.

 

December 28, 2008:
New England Patriots 13, Buffalo Bills 0 at the Ralph

The Pats beat Buffalo for the 11th straight time on a day where wind gusts made the goal posts look like something out of a Dali painting.

Bill Belichick used the wind to his advantage, calling several timeouts when the wind was at the team’s back to prolong the amount of plays with the wind behind them; he also had Matt Cassel quick kick once, resulting in a 57-yard punt that pinned the Bills on their own 2-yard line.

LaMont Jordan scored the only touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run in the third quarter. His 20 carries represented a career-high as a member of the Patriots in what would turn out to be his final game with the team.

Randy Moss was limited to one catch for 13 yards, but that was enough to bring his career total for yards receiving to 13,201; that moved him ahead of former Bill Andre Reed into 9th place all-time in NFL history.

 

 

♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯

 

December 28, 1921:
Johnny Otis was born in Vallejo, California

 

December 28, 1946:
Edgar Winter was born in Beaumont, Texas

 

December 28, 1950:
Alex Chilton of The Box Tops was born in Memphis

 

 

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