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NFL playoff scenarios: Steelers keep hope alive for No. 1 seed

Heading into the Eagles-Raiders Monday night game and the Week 17 finale’s full slate on Sunday, there will be a mad scramble for the final two wild-card spots in the AFC.

Meanwhile in the NFC, the South division crown is still up for grabs along with the final wild-card spot.

A look at the picture:

AFC

1) New England Patriots** (12-3): Next game vs. New York Jets (5-10).
• Can clinch home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs with a victory against the Jets. New England clinched a first-round bye with Jacksonville’s defeat at San Francisco on Sunday.
• Can also clinch the No. 1 seed with a Steelers defeat to the Cleveland Browns. Try not to LOL at this scenario.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are looking for a little help from the Jets on Sunday. (AP)

2) Pittsburgh Steelers** (12-3): Next game vs. Cleveland Browns (0-15).
• They clinched a first-round bye with their 34-6 victory over the Houston Texans on Monday.
• Can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC with Patriots defeat vs. the Jets + victory against the Browns.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5)**: Next game vs. Tennessee Titans (8-7)
• They are locked in the No. 3 seed as South division champions. Will host the last team to get into the AFC playoffs on wild-card weekend.

4) Kansas City Chiefs (9-6)**: Next game at Denver Broncos (5-10)
• They are locked in at the No. 4 seed as West division champions. Will host the conference’s top wild-card team in Round 1 of the playoffs.

In the AFC wild-card hunt

5) Baltimore Ravens (9-6): Next game vs. Cincinnati Bengals (6-9)
• A victory against the Bengals would clinch them a playoff berth and a matchup at Kansas City on wild-card weekend.
• If the Ravens get upset by the Bengals, they can still get in the playoffs if the Titans OR Bills lose.
• The Ravens are eliminated from the playoff hunt if they lose to the Bengals + the Titans, Chargers and Bills each win OR they lose to the Bengals + the Titans and Bills each win.

6) Tennessee Titans (8-7): Next game vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5)
• Sure, they’re stumbling but the postseason is within grasp considering the Jaguars don’t have much to play for in Week 17 other than to be a holiday Grinch. A win against the Jags gets the Titans in the playoffs.
• Titans also get in with losses from the Chargers + Bills.
• Here’s what can eliminate the Titans: a loss + a Chargers win + Ravens win.

7) Los Angeles Chargers (8-7): Next game vs. Oakland Raiders (6-8)
• Can get in with a victory vs. the Raiders + a Titans defeat to the Jaguars + a Ravens victory against the Bengals.

8) Buffalo Bills (8-7): Next game at Miami Dolphins (6-9)
• The Bills know how to sneak in:


NFC

1) Philadelphia Eagles** (12-2): Next game vs. Oakland Raiders (8-6).
• How they can clinch home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs: Beat the Raiders.

2) Minnesota Vikings** (12-3): Next game vs. Chicago Bears
• The Vikings can clinch at least a first-round bye with a victory Sunday.
• Can move up to the top seed with a victory and two Eagles defeats (vs. the Raiders and Cowboys).

Also, from the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson:


3) Los Angeles Rams** (11-4): Next game vs. San Francisco 49ers (4-10).
• Will host a playoff game as West champions on wild-card weekend.

4) New Orleans Saints* (11-4): Next game at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11).
• Will clinch the NFC South with a victory in Week 17 OR a Panthers defeat against the Falcons.

5) Carolina Panthers* (11-4): Next game vs. Atlanta Falcons (9-6).
• Can win the South with a victory vs. the Falcons + a Saints defeat to the Bucs.

6) Atlanta Falcons (9-6): Next game vs. Carolina Panthers (11-4).
• Can get in with a victory against the Panthers.
• A loss + a Seattle Seahawk victory vs. Arizona will eliminate the defending NFC champions.

In the NFC wild-card hunt

7) Seattle Seahawks (9-6): Next game vs. Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
• Can claim the final spot in the NFC playoffs with a victory against the Cardinals + a Falcons defeat.

** Have clinched their division
* Have clinched a playoff berth

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