clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Week 17 means for the 2020 NFL playoff picture

We’ve reached the final week of the 2019 NFL season, and the playoff race will get full clarity by late Sunday evening. We break down the implications of the Week 17 schedule.

Head Coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers shake hands on the field following the game at CenturyLink Field on December 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

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.

What’s decided

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.

NFC East: The Eagles clinch the division and the No. 4 seed with a win or Cowboys loss. If Dallas wins and Philadelphia loses, the Cowboys claim the No. 4 seed.

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.

AFC playoff picture

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

In the hunt: Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7), Oakland Raiders (7-8)

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