NFL Playoff Picture Week 17: AFC and NFC race and clinching scenarios

The NFL regular season is rapidly winding down. But the NFL playoff picture is still messy. A total of 19 teams woke up Sunday morning with at least a 1-in-10 chance to reach the postseason and another four were just a game out in the NFL standings. Sunday and Monday’s games will do a lot to clarify the AFC and NFC playoff picture and clinching scenarios heading into Week 17 of the NFL season.

NFL Playoff Picture for Week 17

The Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts helped themselves in a big way in Week 16, and as a result, there is more than a 97% chance the AFC South will be a two-bid division. But there’s plenty more that needs to be resolved, and all but three of Sunday and Monday’s 13 games involve teams with realistic playoff hopes.

Current AFC Playoff Picture

1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
2. Tennessee Titans (10-5)
3. New England Patriots (9-5)
4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
5. Indianapolis Colts (9-6)
6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
7. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

8. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)
10. Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)
11. Miami Dolphins (7-7)
12. Denver Broncos (7-7)
13. Cleveland Browns (7-8)

Titans ride second-half surge vs. 49ers

There was a moment Thursday night when the Tennessee Titans’ grip on the AFC South seemed covered in grease. They trailed the San Francisco 49ers by double-digits and seemed destined for a fourth loss in five games.

Instead, the Titans got it together, rallied past San Fran, and are now more than 90% to host a first-round or second-round playoff game. The No. 1 seed is also still a distinct possibility.

Colts keep pace on Christmas

The Colts’ resiliency is the only reason the Titans aren’t yet 100% to win the AFC South. Indy got some help from the floundering Arizona Cardinals Saturday night to win for the ninth time in 12 games.

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Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals Playoff Scenarios: AFC North essentially on the line

The Colts strangely cannot clinch this weekend despite entering Sunday 98% to make the playoffs. The Cardinals, meanwhile, look lost. Arizona has now lost three straight to fall out of the NFC West lead. Still, there’s no realistic scenario in which they miss the playoffs.

Current NFC Playoff Picture

1. Green Bay Packers (12-3) — Clinched NFC North
2. Dallas Cowboys (10-4) — Clinched playoffs
3. Los Angeles Rams (10-4)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-4)
5. Arizona Cardinals (10-5)
6. San Francisco 49ers (8-7)
7. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)
9. New Orleans Saints (7-7)
10. Washington Football Team (6-8)
11. Atlanta Falcons (6-8)
12. Carolina Panthers (5-9)
13. Seattle Seahawks (5-9)
14. New York Giants (4-10)

Packers close in on No. 1 seed

It’s this simple for Green Bay — win out (against the Vikings and Lions) and you won’t have to leave Green Bay until the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers bolstered his MVP candidacy on Christmas with another 3-touchdown game against the Browns, who are now under .500 and basically out of it after their fourth loss in six games.

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