With Week 17’s Sunday games completed, here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks:
- Kansas City Chiefs (13-3), AFC West champs: A Buffalo loss to Cincinnati opens the door for Kansas City to claim the No. 1 seed, an objective that is currently hampered by the Chiefs’ Week 6 loss to the Bills. Schedule remaining: at Raiders
The Buffalo Bills (12-3) are the AFC East champions. To keep the inside track for the AFC’s first-round bye and home-field advantage, the Bengals must win at Cincinnati on Monday. If the Bills lose to the Bengals, they could drop to third place in the conference. The remaining games are against the Bengals and the Patriots.
x – 3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4), leaders of the AFC North: If they beat Buffalo and finish in a three-way tie with the Bills and Chiefs, the reigning conference champions will get home field advantage and a first-round bye. Cincinnati would win the AFC North if they won on Monday. The remaining games are against the Bills and the Ravens.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8), leaders of the AFC South: With Sunday’s decisive victory over the Houston Texans, they ended a five-year drought… but it had little bearing on the Jags’ playoff chances. In Week 18, the division title will be decided against Tennessee. Schedule remaining: vs. Titans
Los Angeles Chargers (10-6), wild card No. 1: Playoff participants for the first time in four years, the only thing left to decide is which divisional champion the Bolts will face in the first round. LA will not be seeded lower than sixth in the AFC because their record in AFC games is better than Baltimore’s. Schedule remaining: at Broncos
x – 6. Baltimore Ravens (10-6), wild card No. 2: A Cincinnati loss Monday ensures that the Ravens and Bengals will play for the AFC North title in Week 18. Schedule remaining: at Bengals
- New England Patriots (8-8), wild card No. 3: By defeating Miami on Sunday, the Pats avoided elimination and will advance to the playoffs if they win next Sunday. Schedule remaining: at Bills
- Miami Dolphins (8-8), out of the playoffs: The Fins’ postseason hopes have been jeopardised by a five-game losing streak and QB Tua Tagovailoa’s latest concussion, with Sunday’s loss at Foxborough dropping them out of the projected postseason bracket. However, a win next week combined with a loss by New England will propel Miami forward. Schedule remaining: vs. Jets
- Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8), eliminated from playoff contention: Big win in Baltimore on Sunday night. If the Steelers defeat Cleveland in Week 18 and the Bills and Jets both win, Pittsburgh will earn the AFC’s final wild card spot. Schedule remaining: vs. Browns
The New York Jets (7-9) are currently ranked 10th in the AFC, but have been eliminated from playoff contention.
- Tennessee Titans (7-9), out of playoff contention: They treated Thursday night’s loss to Dallas like a preseason game, knowing that the AFC South title will be decided in Week 18 against Jacksonville. Schedule remaining: at Jaguars
- Philadelphia Eagles (13-3), NFC East champions: They’ve gone 0-2 without injured quarterback Jalen Hurts, failing twice to clinch the NFC’s top seed. But the Eagles can do it again in Week 18 against a Giants team destined for sixth place and with little to play for before the wild-card round. Schedule remaining: vs. Giants
y – 2. NFC West champions, San Francisco 49ers (12-4): Because of their 9-2 intraconference record, they have a chance at the NFC’s top seed after escaping Las Vegas with an overtime win and eliminating the Raiders. The Niners still need a win next week, as well as a loss in Philadelphia. Schedule remaining: vs. Cardinals
y – 3. Minnesota Vikings (12-4), NFC North champions: Their crushing loss at Green Bay on Sunday means they will not receive the No. 1 seed. Schedule remaining: at Bears
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8), NFC South champions: It hasn’t been a pretty year, but the Bucs’ win over Carolina on Sunday eliminated the Panthers and gave the Bucs consecutive divisional titles for the first time in franchise history. Schedule remaining: at Falcons
x – 5. Dallas Cowboys (12-4), wild card No. 1: If they win in Week 18 and the Eagles don’t, America’s Team takes over the NFC East. The Cowboys can also earn the No. 1 seed if they beat Washington and finish tied for first place in the conference with Minnesota. Schedule remaining: at Commanders
x – 6. New York Giants (9-6-1), wild card No. 2: With Sunday’s win, Big Blue is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Schedule remaining: at Eagles
- Seattle Seahawks (8-8), wild card No. 3: They stayed alive by defeating the New York Jets on Sunday, but despite being in seventh place, they have no control over their postseason fate. The Seahawks must win in Week 18 and hope that the Packers lose. Schedule remaining: vs. Rams
- Detroit Lions (8-8), out of the playoff picture: They need a win at Green Bay and a Seahawks loss in Week 18 to make the playoffs. The loss to Seattle in Week 4 may come back to haunt them. Schedule remaining: at Packers
Green Bay Packers (8-8), out of the playoffs: They’ve gotten plenty of help from outside sources in recent weeks, but the biggest boost has come from within, thanks to the Pack’s four-game winning streak, which included a win over Minnesota on Sunday. If the Packers beat the Lions in Week 18, they will make the playoffs for the fourth time in four years under coach Matt LaFleur because their record in NFC games would be 7-5, one better than Seattle even if the Seahawks beat the Rams in the regular-season finale. Schedule remaining: vs. Lions
x – secured berth
y – secured division