The NFL’s final week of the regular season features several games that will determine playoff matchups.
While the six NFC playoff teams are set, they are jockeying for positioning in Week 17.
The Carolina Panthers won the NFC South championship in Week 13 — but by losing to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16, they failed to earn the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. They would clinch the No. 1 seed if they defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17 or if the Arizona Cardinals lose to the Seattle Seahawks. If the Panthers lose, and the Cardinals beat the Seahawks, then Arizona would get home-field advantage.
The NFC North champion will be decided Sunday night in the final game of the season. The winner of the matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers will take the division crown and secure the No. 3 seed. The NFC North runner-up will make the playoffs as a wild card.
The Seattle Seahawks would secure the No. 5 seed with a win against the Cardinals and a Vikings loss in Green Bay. With any other outcomes, the Seahawks will be the sixth seed.
The Washington Redskins won the NFC East with their Week 16 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. They will be the No. 4 seed.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots (the East champion) have not yet clinched the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but they can do so with a win over the Miami Dolphins.
The Denver Broncos clinched a playoff berth and moved to the No. 2 seed with their Week 16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. If they defeat the San Diego Chargers, Denver would win the AFC West and secure a first-round bye. The Broncos would earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs if they win and the Patriots lose to the Dolphins.
A Denver win would give the Kansas City Chiefs the No. 5 seed — but because they hold the division-record tiebreaker over Denver, the Chiefs could still win the AFC West and secure the No. 3 seed if they defeat the Oakland Raiders and Denver loses to San Diego.
Learn about the NFL’s tiebreakers.
Cincinnati won the AFC North when the Pittsburgh Steelers lost in Week 16. The Bengals would earn a first-round bye if they defeat the Baltimore Ravens and Denver loses to the Chargers.
The Houston Texans would win the AFC South and take the No. 4 seed if they beat or tie the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts lose to or tie the Tennessee Titans.
The New York Jets currently hold the No. 6 seed and can earn a trip to the playoffs in one of two ways: They defeat or tie the Buffalo Bills or the Steelers lose to or tie the Browns. Pittsburgh hasn’t secured a playoff berth, but would leapfrog the Jets with a win over the Browns and a Jets loss to the Bills because the Steelers would have a better record in games against common opponents.
The Colts are technically alive in the playoff race, but need help. They would need to win against the Titans and have Houston, Cincinnati, the New York Jets, New Orleans, San Diego, New England, Kansas City and Cleveland all lose on Sunday.