There are the “playoffs” and then there is the “real playoffs”. For several teams this weekend, week 17, must win games are exactly the same as the “real playoffs”. The only difference is the bonus attached to the real games played in the post-season.
For some teams, it’s a “rest your starters” type of weekend because they can’t go up or down in their seeding. For others it’s win and get some help and others it’s simply do or die. Here is a breakdown of each NFL team AFC and NFC with “Post-Season” aspirations.
Miami Dolphins: The only team to have complete control of their destiny in this division. Win and they are in, lose and they are out. Nothing simpler than that.
New England Patriots: The Patriots are second in line for the division and have the best chance at a Wild-card birth of all the AFC East teams. They do however need help. A win at Buffalo is imperative for starters. Then, it’s a loss by Miami to the Jets for the Division, or a loss by the Ravens for a Wild-card.
New York Jets: The Jets were in control of their destiny and the division before dropping three of their last 4 games and now a simple win vs. Miami will not get them into the playoffs. A Jets win and a NE loss will give the Jets the division. A Jets win and a Ravens loss will put the Jets in the Wild-card position if the Patriots win.
Tennessee Titans: Locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first round bye with their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend. Look for them to rest their starters.
Indianapolis Colts: Locked up the 5th seed wild card position and will play the winner of the San Diego/Denver game on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Locked up a first round bye and the number 2 seed in the AFC.
Baltimore Ravens: A win against Jacksonville and they are in as the 6th seed wild-card team and will play the winner of the AFC East. The Ravens can get in with a loss, a Miami win, and a NE loss.
San Diego/Denver: The winner of this game will win the division. Neither team can make the post-season as a wild-card.
NY Giants: Locked up home field advantage throughout.
Dallas Cowboys: A win vs. Philadelphia and Cowboys will be in as a wild-card.
Philadelphia Eagles: Must win vs. Dallas and then have both Chicago and Tampa Bay lose.
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers can clinch the NFC South with a win or an Atlanta Loss. They will also clinch the number 2 seed in the NFC with a win. The Panthers play the New Orleans Saints. A loss and they will be the number 5 seed in the playoffs as a wild-card team if Atlanta wins.
Atlanta Falcons: Have clinched a playoff spot as a wild-card team. Can clinch the division with a win against the St. Louis Rams and a loss by Carolina. If this scenario plays out, the Atlanta Falcons will be the number 2 seed in the NFC and have a first round bye.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Can clinch the 6th seed with a win vs. Oakland and a loss by Dallas to Philly.
Minnesota Vikings: Win against the NY Giants and they are in a loss and they need some help. The Vikings control their own destiny and a loss could knock them out of the playoffs all together. If they lose, they need Chicago to lose to win the division. They can not make the playoffs as a wild-card team.
Chicago Bears: A win by Chicago and a loss by the Vikings gives the division to the Bears. A win by the Bears and Vikings does not eliminate the Bears. They can get the 6th seed WC spot with losses by Dallas and Tampa Bay.
Arizona Cardinals: Have clinched the 4th seed in the playoffs.
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