The New England Patriots wrapped up the number one seed in the AFC and with it home field throughout the playoffs, but there is still some intrigue left as six NFL teams still have a shot at the two final playoff slots.

In week 15 the Patriots, Colts and Broncos all clinched division titles, while Arizona clinched a playoff berth. Then in week 16 the Pats clinched a first round bye with their victory over the Jets, and when the Bengals beat Denver the Patriots claimed the number one seed in the AFC. Pittsburgh, Seattle, Green Bay and Detroit also clinched playoff spots in week 16, and Denver clinched the NFC East at the same time. The NFC has five 11-4 teams jockeying for position, with the winner of the Carolina-Atlanta game locked into the number four slot.

Buffalo (with their loss to Oakland) and Miami (with Pittsburgh’s win over the Chiefs) were among the teams to be eliminated last week. Philadelphia still had a remote chance to back in to the post-season after their loss at Washington on Saturday, but that ended when Dallas crushed Indy in the late game Sunday afternoon. The Saints could have clinched the NFC South with a win over Atlanta plus a loss by Carolina but the reverse happened, thus ending their playoff hopes. Last week Seattle jumped from number five to number one in the NFC, while Arizona dropped from the number one seed to number six.

To keep things simple and make a lot more sense I have refrained from posting scenarios that involve ties. The only exception I made was for Dallas counting on a Green Bay-Detroit tie since that is the only way they can end up as the number one seed.

 

AFC Playoff Picture

New England Patriots (12-3) – currently AFC #1 seed
Week 17: home vs Buffalo Bills
Clinched the number one seed in the AFC

Denver Broncos (11-4) – currently AFC #2 seed
Week 17: home vs Oakland Raiders
Clinched the AFC West division title
– Can clinch the number two seed with (a) a win, or (b) a Bengals loss
– Will be the #3 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) the Bengals win

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) – currently AFC #3 seed
Week 17: away at Pittsburgh Steelers
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the #2 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Broncos loss
– Can clinch the AFC North and no worse than the #3 seed with a win
– Will be the #4 seed with a tie
– Will be the #5 seed with a loss

Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – currently AFC #4 seed
Week 17: away at Tennessee Titans
Clinched the AFC South division title
– Can clinch the #3 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) the Steelers-Bengals tie
– Will be the #4 seed as long as the Steelers-Bengals don’t tie

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) – currently 2nd in division, #5 in AFC
Week 17: home vs Cincinnati Bengals
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the AFC North and the #3 seed with a win
– Can only be the #3 or #5 seed

San Diego Chargers (9-6) – currently AFC #6 seed
Week 17: away at Kansas City Chiefs
Controls own destiny to make the playoffs
– Can clinch a playoff spot with a win
– Can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with a loss

Baltimore Ravens (9-6) – currently AFC #7 seed
Week 17: home vs Cleveland Browns
On the outside looking in
– Can clinch a playoff spot with (a) a win, plus (b) a Chargers loss
– Cannot win the division; can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with (a) a loss, or (b) a Chargers win over the Chiefs

Houston Texans (8-7) – currently AFC #8 seed
Week 17: home vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Need a lot of help to get in
– Can clinch a playoff spot with (a) a win, plus (b) a Ravens loss, plus (c) a Chargers loss
– Can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with either (a) a loss, or (b) a Chargers win, or (c) a Ravens win

Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) – currently AFC #9 seed
Week 17: home vs San Diego Chargers
Need a miracle to make the playoffs
– Can clinch a playoff spot with (a) a win, plus (b) a Ravens loss, plus (c) a Texans loss
– Can do no better than the #6 seed
– Eliminated with either (a) a loss, or (b) a Ravens win, or (c) a Texans win

 

NFC Playoff Picture

Seattle Seahawks (11-4) – currently 1st in division, #1 in NFC
Week 17: home vs St Louis Rams
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) Packers-Lions not ending in a tie; OR
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Cowboys loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win
– Can clinch the division with (a) a win, or (b) a Cardinals loss
– Could possibly be a #1, #2, #3, #5 or #6 seed
– Can be no worse than a #3 seed with a Cardinals loss
– Can be no worse than a #5 seed as long as the Packers-Lions don’t tie
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a tie, plus Packers-Lions don’t tie
– Eliminated from a first round bye with a loss
– Eliminated from #3 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Cardinals win
– Become the #6 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Cardinals win, plus (c) Packers-Lions tie

Detroit Lions (11-4) – currently 1st in division, #2 in NFC
Week 17: away at Green Bay Packers
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss, plus (c) a Cardinals loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win
– Could possibly be the #1, #2, #3 or #6 seed
– To be the #3 seed the Lions-Packers game needs to end in a tie
– Become the #6 seed with a loss

Dallas Cowboys (11-4) – currently NFC #3 seed
Week 17: away at Washington Redskins
Clinched NFC East division title
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Cardinals loss, plus (c) a Packers-Lions tie; OR
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks win, plus (c) a Packers-Lions tie
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) a Cardinals loss, plus (c) a Seahawks loss; OR
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) a Packers-Lions tie; OR
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a Cardinals loss, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can only be the #1, #2 or #3 seed
– Eliminated from #1 seed with (a) a loss, or (b) a Packers or Lions win, or (c) a Cardinals win and Seahawks loss
– Eliminated from #2 seed with (a) a loss and a Cardinals win, or (b) a loss and a Seahawks win, or (c) a Packers win and a Cardinals win, or (d) a Lions win and a Cardinals win, or (e) a Packers win and a Seahawks win, or (f) a Lions win and a Seahawks win

Green Bay Packers (11-4) – currently 2nd in division, #5 in NFC
Week 17: home vs Detroit Lions
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win
– Can be the #1, #2, #5 or #6 seed
– Can become the #5 seed with (a) a tie, plus (b) a loss by either the Cardinals or Seahawks
– Will become the #6 seed with a loss

Arizona Cardinals (11-4) – currently 2nd in division, #6 in NFC
Week 17: away at San Francisco 49ers
Clinched a playoff berth
– Can clinch the number one seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss, plus (c) a Packers loss
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can be the #1, #2, #3, #5 or #6 seed
– Can become the #3 seed with (a) a tie, plus (b) a Seahawks loss
– Can be no worse than the #5 seed with a win
– Can do no better than the #5 seed if the Seahawks win
– Can become the #5 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) the Packers-Lions don’t tie
– Can become the #6 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) the Packers-Lions tie

Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) – currently 1st in division, #4 in NFC
Week 17: away at Atlanta Falcons
Win and they’re in
– Can clinch the division and the #4 seed with a win or a tie
– Eliminated with a loss

Atlanta Falcons (6-9) – currently 2nd in division, #9 in NFC
Week 17: home vs Carolina Panthers
Win and they’re in
– Can clinch the division and the #4 seed with a win
– Eliminated with a loss or a tie

 

Below is the current order for the 2015 NFL Draft. Strength of schedule (which is shown in parenthesis after the name of the team) is the tiebreaker for determining draft order. The Titans leapfrogged the Bucs for the number one spot with their loss to the Jaguars last Thursday. Tennessee’s SOS dropped from .503 to .487 after playing three-win Jacksonville, while Tampa Bay’s SOS shot up .024 after losing their eighth straight home game to Green Bay. Unfortunately the Jets moved up two spots to the number four slot, though given their history and ownership, it most likely won’t make any difference.

1. 2-13 Tennessee Titans (.487)
2. 2-13 Tampa Bay Bucs (.491)
3. 3-12 Jacksonville Jaguars (.513)
4. 3-12 New York Jets (.551)
5. 3-12 Oakland Raiders (.560)
6. 4-11 Washington Redskins (.476)
7. 5-10 Chicago Bears (.531)
8. 6-9 Atlanta Falcons (.484)
9. 6-9 Minnesota Vikings (.491)
10. 6-9 New York Giants (.507)
11. 6-9 New Orleans Saints (.509)
12. 6-9 St. Louis Rams (.516)
13. 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers (.496)
14. 7-8 Cleveland Browns (.464)
15. 7-8 San Francisco 49ers (.520)
16. 8-7 Houston Texans (.464)
17. 8-7 Browns (Buffalo Bills) (.502)
18. 8-7 Kansas City Chiefs (.511)
19. 8-7 Miami Dolphins (.529)
20. 9-6 Baltimore Ravens (.482)
21. 9-6 Philadelphia Eagles (.496)
22. 9-6 San Diego Chargers (.507)
23. 10-5 Pittsburgh Steelers (.431)
24. 10-5 Indianapolis Colts (.504)
25. 10-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals (.482)
26. 11-4 Detroit Lions (.451)
27. 11-4 Dallas Cowboys (.458)
28. 11-4 Green Bay Packers (.464)
29. 11-4 Arizona Cardinals (.529)
30. 11-4 Seattle Seahawks (.536)
31. 11-4 Denver Broncos (.549)
32. 12-3 New England Patriots (.509)

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

2014 New England Patriots Transaction Tracker