Cover Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The NFL playoff picture is coming into focus with just one week left in the NFL season. The AFC North champion is still up for grabs as are Wild Card spots in both the AFC and NFC.

While quite a bit was resolved with Sunday's Week 16 NFL games, including the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Houston Texans all clinching playoff berths, there's still a lot of jockeying for first-round byes and playoff seeding. Outside of the New Orleans Saints securing the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, almost every other team can shift with a win or a loss in Week 17.

With that in mind, here's how the playoff picture looks at the moment.

Note: X means a team has clinched a playoff berth, Y means a team has a first-round bye, and Z means that a team that has clinched its division.


1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) – X

The Chiefs still control their own destiny. With a win in Week 17 over the Oakland Raiders, they clinch the AFC West and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. However, if they lose and the Chargers win, the Chiefs would fall to the No. 5 seed and a Wild Card spot.

2. New England Patriots (10-5) – Z

The Patriots clinched the AFC East in Week 16 and can lock up a first-round bye with a win over the New York Jets in Week 17. Amazingly, the Pats still have a chance at the No. 1 seed -- if they win and the Chiefs and Chargers both lose, the Pats will have home-field advantage in the AFC again.

3. Houston Texans (10-5) – X

The Texans clinched a playoff berth despite their loss to the Eagles on Sunday. With a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17, they would win the AFC South. A loss would drop them to a Wild Card spot, with the winner of the Indianapolis Colts-Tennessee Titans game taking home the division.

4. Baltimore Ravens (9-6) 

The Baltimore Ravens are the No. 4 seed right now but haven't even clinched a playoff spot. With a win over the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens win the AFC North. If they lose, and the Steelers fall to the Bengals in Week 17, then Baltimore takes the division crown as well.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) – X 

The Chargers are in the playoffs and will likely be the No. 5 seed. However, with a win against the Denver Broncos and a loss by the Chiefs to the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead, the Chargers would end up with home-field advantage and an AFC West division title.

6. Indianapolis Colts (9-6)

The Colts control their own path to the playoffs. Simply beat the Titans in Week 17 and clinch a playoff spot. If they win and the Texans lose, then the Colts move up and will be named the AFC South champions.

In The Hunt:

  • Tennessee Titans (9-6): The Titans are in the same boat as the Colts. Win and they're in, either as the AFC South champ or the No. 6 seed.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1): The Steelers' best path to the playoffs is with a division title. If they beat Cincinnati an the Ravens lose, then they're in. Surprisingly, their playoff hopes could come down to the Sunday night game as a win by Pittsburgh and a tie between the Colts and the Titans would put the Steelers in as a Wild Card team.


1. New Orleans Saints (13-2) – Y*

The Saints clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with their win over the Steelers in Week 16. As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, it's quite possible that the Saints next road game is the Super Bowl (* = home-field advantage).

2. Los Angeles Rams (12-3) – Z

The Rams clinched the NFC West a few weeks back and are still in line for a first-round bye. A win in Week 17 over the San Fransisco 49ers would do just that. However, a loss and a Bears' win would knock them down to the No. 3 seed. If both teams lose, the Rams remain the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

3. Chicago Bears (11-4) – Z

The Bears are just one game behind the Rams and have the head-to-head tiebreaker. They've already clinched the NFC South, but a win over the Minnesota Vikings coupled with a Rams' loss would catapult them to the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.

4. Dallas Cowboys (9-6) – Z

The Cowboys won the NFC East for the third time in five seasons. Dallas is locked into the No. 4 seed and will host a Wild Card Weekend game at Jerry's World.

5. Seattle Seahawks (9-6) – X

The Seahawks are in the playoffs again, following a win at home over the current No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Chiefs. But their seeding can change with a win or a loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. If they win, they get the No. 5 seed. If the Vikings lose, they get the No. 5 seed. If the Seahawks lose, and the Vikings win, however, Seattle then drops to the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs.

6. Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) 

The Vikings are in with a win, or an Eagles loss. They can also move up to the fifth seed with a win over the Bears and a Seattle loss.

In The Hunt:

  • Philadelphia Eagles (8-7): Just when you were ready to count the Eagles out, the defending Super Bowl champions just keep trucking along. They need some help, but a win against the Washington Redskins and a Vikings' loss in Week 17 and Philadelphia is back in the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

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