Welcome to the final week of the 2019 NFL regular season. Week 17 is upon us and quite a bit is up for grabs in the playoff bracket. We can throw every cliche into the mix for this weekend. Two playoff spots and nine seedings have yet to be determined, and by around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, all will be revealed.
Normally we break this down into Games of the Week and Elimination Games. Given that there is no Week 18 for teams to make up for a miscue this week, we don’t really need to include the Elimination Games section. Every game involving most of the playoff teams is big so we don’t need a Games of the Week section. Instead, we’ll break down what’s been decided and what is to be decided in each of the time slots.
Baltimore Ravens: No. 1 seed — home field advantage through AFC playoffs
Buffalo Bills: No. 5 seed — will travel to face No. 4 seed in the wild card round.
Minnesota Vikings: No. 6 seed — will travel to face the No. 3 seed in the wild card round
What’s to be decided
AFC byes: The Patriots can clinch the No. 2 seed with a win or Chiefs loss, while the Chiefs can grab it with a win and a Patriots loss.
AFC wild card hosts: If the Chiefs and Patriots win, Kansas City is your No. 3 seed and Houston is the No. 4 seed. If the Chiefs lose and the Texans win, Houston is the No. 3 seed and Kansas City is the No. 4 seed.
AFC second wild card: The Titans currently lead the wild card and will be the No. 6 seed with a win or Steelers loss. The Steelers get in with a win and a Titans loss. The Raiders get in with a win, a Titans loss, a Colts win, and a win by one of the Bears, Lions, Chargers, or Patriots to clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker.
No. 1, 2, 3, 5 seeds: The 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, and Saints all could still claim the top seed with the right combination of wins and losses. The Packers and Saints play their respective games at 1:00 p.m., and the 49ers and Seahawks face each other on Sunday Night Football to close out the night. We won’t know the four seeds until SNF wraps up.
Below is a rundown of the NFL playoff picture and who the top six seeds in each of the conferences face. It’s followed by the notable matchups involving playoff contenders.
1. Baltimore Ravens: 13-2 — vs. Steelers
2. New England Patriots: 12-3 — vs. Dolphins
3. Kansas City Chiefs: 11-4 — vs. Chargers
4. Houston Texans: 10-5 — vs.
5. Buffalo Bills: 10-5 — vs. Jets
6. Tennessee Titans: 8-7 — @ Texans
Key Week 17 matchups
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans
NFC playoff picture
1. San Francisco 49ers: 12-3 — @ Seahawks
2. New Orleans Saints: 12-3 — @ Panthers
3. Green Bay Packers: 12-3 — @ Lions
4. Philadelphia Eagles: 8-7 — @ Giants
5. Seattle Seahawks: 11-4 — vs. 49ers
6. Minnesota Vikings: 10-5 — vs. Bears
In the hunt: Dallas Cowboys (7-8)
Key Week 17 matchups
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
Washington @ Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks