NFL Playoff Picture Week 17: Updated playoff race and scenarios | PFN

An incredible Week 16 has shaken up the NFL standings with some significant developments in the NFL playoff picture heading towards Week 17. With the 2020 NFL playoff race heating up, let’s take a look at the AFC and NFC playoff standings. 

NFL playoff picture for Week 17

The current NFL playoff standings have a different shape in the new playoff format

After around 30 years of featuring 12 playoff teams, six for each conference, the NFL expanded their playoffs to a 14-team system for the 2020 season. Each conference will now feature three wild card teams instead of two for the first time since the 2002 expansion. The additional wild card team places a premium on the number one seed. Only that team receives a bye in the first weekend of the playoffs.

The remaining six teams in each conference will face off on wild card weekend, as the three remaining divisional winners hosting the three wild card teams (#2 vs. #7, #3 vs. #6, and #4 vs. #5). This change in the NFL structure has significantly altered the playoff scenarios and how we view both the playoff picture and standings in the NFC and AFC.

Current AFC playoff standings

1) Kansas City Chiefs, 14-1 – clinched the AFC West and the first-round bye
2) Pittsburgh Steelers, 12-3 – clinched the AFC North
3) Buffalo Bills, 11-3 – clinched the AFC East
4) Tennessee Titans, 10-4
5) Miami Dolphins, 10-5
6) Baltimore Ravens 10-5
7) Cleveland Browns, 10-5

Outside looking in: Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

After an exciting matchup, the Chiefs have clinched the first-round bye and have nothing to play for in Week 17. However, behind them, the situation changed everywhere.

On Saturday, the Dolphins won an incredible game with the final kick to ensure their playoff destiny remained in their own hands. Their victory also eliminated the Las Vegas Raiders from the 2020 NFL playoff picture. Meanwhile, the Steelers also mounted an incredible comeback to shake up the AFC playoff standings. The Colts loss dropped them all the way outside of the AFC playoff standings, and they will now need help in Week 17.

A Ravens victory has seen them catapult to the sixth seed, while the Browns’ surprise loss has seen them fall to the seventh seed.

Current NFC playoff standings

1) Green Bay Packers, 11-3 – clinched the NFC North
2) New Orleans Saints, 11-4 – clinched the NFC South
3) Seattle Seahawks, 10-4 – clinched a playoff berth
4) Washington Football Team 6-8
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-5 – clinched a playoff berth
6) Los Angeles Rams, 9-5
7) Chicago Bears 8-7

Outside looking in: Arizona Cardinals (8-7), Dallas Cowboys (5-9), New York Giants (5-10), Philadelphia Eagles (4-9-1)

The Saints eliminated the Minnesota Vikings from the 2020 NFL playoff race on Christmas Day. Their victory locked up the NFC South and kept them in contention for the first-round bye. On Saturday, their NFC South rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also clinched their playoff spot in the NFC standings.

Meanwhile, a loss for the Cardinals on Saturday, coupled with a victory for the Bears, has changed the shape of the wild card completely. The Bears are now the seventh seed, while the Cardinals are on the outside looking in.

NFL playoff scenarios heat up in Week 17

AFC playoff scenarios

With four teams tied at 10-5, there’s a lot to play for in the AFC playoff standings. A tight race for the 2020 NFL playoffs was always destined to go down to the wire. The playoff picture is clear heading into Week 17 of the NFL season, with all four teams needing a win to have a chance to avoid elimination. Only the Colts do not have their playoff destiny in their own hands.

At the top of the conference, there is still seeding to fight for. The Steelers, Bills, and Titans could all still end up as the second seed in the AFC if results break their way. Official clinching scenarios will be posted here once the NFL releases them on Tuesday, December 29.

NFC playoff scenarios

In the NFC, the playoff picture heading into Week 17 of the NFL season is somewhat murky still. The Bears need to win or hope the Cardinals lose to clinch the seventh seed.

However, the NFC West and NFC East scenarios remain uncertain, with more crucial games still to play in Week 16. Official clinching scenarios will be posted here once the NFL releases them on Tuesday, December 29.

Week 17 clinching scenarios

The Dolphins, Browns, and Ravens all have an opportunity to clinch playoff spots with a victory in Week 17. The same can be said for the Bears, who will clinch a playoff spot by defeating the Packers. Official clinching scenarios will be posted here once the NFL releases them on Tuesday, December 29.

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