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Patriots and other NFL Week 17 playoff scenarios

Posted by Staff  December 23, 2013 09:35 AM

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After wrapping up their fifth consecutive AFC East crown on Sunday, all that stands between the Patriots and a first-round bye in the playoffs is the Buffalo Bills.

A win against the 6-9 Bills in Week 17 will guarantee the Patriots will have the first weekend of the NFL playoffs off and a home matchup in the divisional round.

The Patriots are still alive in the race for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC as well. If the Oakland Raiders can beat the Denver Broncos in Week 17, and if the Pats take care of business against the Bills, the Patriots would ensure the AFC’s road to the Super Bowl would run through Foxborough.

A loss to the Bills, however, could see the Patriots dropping all the way to the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoff standings, depending on the result of other games around the AFC. If the Patriots lose, and the Bengals and Colts both win, then the Bengals would get the No. 2 seed, the Colts the No. 3, and the Patriots would fall to No. 4.

A loss to Buffalo and a win by just one of either the Bengals or Colts would see the Patriots drop to the No. 3 spot.

Losses or ties by both the Bengals and Colts, however, would clinch a first-round bye for the Patriots outright, regardless of their result against the Bills.

Heading into Week 17, just one NFL playoff seed is fully locked into place: the Kansas City Chiefs as the No. 5 seed in the AFC. Other than that, every spot is up for grabs. Here is a look at the scenarios of all of the other teams around the NFL.

AFC

Denver Broncos (have clinched AFC West and first-round bye)
Clinches home field throughout the AFC playoffs with:
1. A win or tie OR
2. A New England loss or tie

Cincinnati Bengals (have clinched AFC North)
Clinches first-round bye with:
1. A win AND a New England loss

Indianapolis Colts (have clinched AFC South)
Clinches first-round bye with:
1. A win AND a New England loss AND a Cincinnati loss or tie

Baltimore Ravens
Clinches playoff spot with:
1. A win AND a San Diego loss or tie OR
2. A win AND a Miami loss or tie OR
3. A tie AND a Miami loss AND a San Diego loss or tie OR
4. A tie AND a Miami tie AND a San Diego loss OR
5. A Pittsburgh loss or tie AND a San Diego loss AND a Miami loss

Miami Dolphins
Clinches playoff spot with:
1. A win AND a Baltimore loss or tie OR
2. A win AND a San Diego win OR
3. A tie AND a Baltimore loss AND a San Diego loss or tie OR
4. A tie AND a Baltimore tie AND a San Diego tie

San Diego Chargers
Clinches a playoff spot with:
1. A win AND a Baltimore loss or tie AND a Miami loss or tie OR
2. A tie AND a Miami loss AND a Baltimore loss

Pittsburgh Steelers
Clinches a playoff spot with:
1. A win AND a Baltimore loss AND a Miami loss AND a San Diego loss

NFC

Seattle Seahawks (have clinched playoff spot)
Clinches NFC West and home-field throughout NFC playoffs with:
1. A win or tie OR
2. A San Francisco loss or tie

Carolina Panthers (have clinched playoff spot)
Clinches NFC South and a first-round bye with:
1. A win or tie OR
2. A New Orleans loss

Clinches NFC South and home-field throughout NFC playoffs with:
1. A win AND a Seattle loss AND a San Francisco win

New Orleans Saints
Clinches playoff spot with:
1. A win OR
2. A tie AND an Arizona loss or tie OR
3. An Arizona loss

Clinches NFC South and a first-round bye with:
1. A win AND a Carolina loss

San Francisco 49ers (have clinched playoff spot)
Clinches NFC West and first-round bye with:
1. A win AND a Seattle loss

Clinches NFC west and home-field throughout NFC playoffs with:
1. A win AND a Seattle loss AND a Carolina loss or tie

Arizona Cardinals
Clinches playoff spot with:
1. A win AND a New Orleans loss or tie OR
2. A tie AND a New Orleans loss

Philadelphia Eagles
Clinches NFC East with:
1. A win or tie

Dallas Cowboys
Clinches NFC East with:
1. A win

Chicago Bears
Clinches NFC North with:
1. A win or tie

Green Bay Packers
Clinches NFC North with:
1. A win

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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