Week 17 is a very important week to a lot of teams. Some teams are trying to cement home field advantage for the playoffs, while others are trying sneak their way in. Let’s look at those teams that are looking to play their way into the playoffs.
There isn’t much opportunity for the NFC. Division winners include the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, and the Dallas Cowboys. The Seattle Seahawks have already clinched one of the wild card spots, so that leaves one spot open for two possible teams: the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Vikings control their own destiny. If they can take care of business and beat the Bears at home then they’re playoff bound. If not, their fate will determine on how the Eagles finish out their season.
The Eagles will look to their backup quarterback Nick Foles and will need a little luck on their side to slide into the playoffs. They have to beat the Washington Redskins on the road this week and the Vikings have to lose in order to make the playoffs.
The AFC is a little more confusing. Only the New England Patriots have been able to clinch their division. However, the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, and the Los Angeles Chargers have clinched playoff spots. The Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers are still trying to win the AFC North and/or a wild card spot. The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans are also fighting for a playoff spot in a win-or-go-home SNF matchup.
The Ravens and Steelers are both playing for the division and/or a wild card, but neither team is for sure in just yet. The Ravens currently hold a 0.5 game lead over the Steelers.
The Ravens quest is simple: win and you’re in by clinching the division. They play the Cleveland Browns at home this week.
On the other hand, the Steelers need a home win against the Cincinnati Bengals and a Ravens loss OR a Colts-Titans tie. Likely, right?