SportsPulse: Merry Clinchmas! The Seahawks, Cowboys and Patriots punched their tickets to the postseason this weekend while the Steelers look like they’ll miss the playoffs all together. Trysta Krick recaps it all.
Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks after Week 16’s key games.
x — 1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4): AFC West leader. Failed to clinch division and home-field advantage by losing second straight. Those objectives can still be reached by beating Raiders in Week 17, however a loss might send K.C. plummeting into wild-card weekend.
y — 2. New England Patriots (10-5): AFC East champions. Reports of dynastic death may have been premature. Pats locked up division for unprecedented 10th consecutive season and — perhaps more important — vaulted back in front of Houston and will get their accustomed bye week by defeating Jets in Week 17. Top seed still a possibility, too.
x — 3. Houston Texans (10-5): AFC South leader. Fairly disastrous weekend after their failure to close out Eagles cost them inside track for first-round bye and chance to secure division they now lead by just one game over Indianapolis and Tennessee. However Pittsburgh’s loss Sunday evening ensured at least a wild card for Houston.
4. Baltimore Ravens (9-6): AFC North leader. They move into divisional pole position after beating Chargers on Saturday and watching Steelers fall Sunday. Handle Browns in Week 17, and Ravens will host game on wild-card weekend.
x — 5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-4): Wild card No. 1. Their shot at No. 1 seed remote after loss to Ravens. Bolts would need to beat Denver in Week 17 and hope Chiefs lose to Raiders in order to steal home field.
6. Indianapolis Colts (9-6): Wild card No. 2. They barely survived Giants but later elevated into field with Pittsburgh’s loss. Week 17 game vs. Tennessee will be winner-take-all.
7. Tennessee Titans (9-6): Don’t currently qualify for postseason. Beat Indy in regular-season finale, and they’re dancing for second straight year.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1): Don’t currently qualify for postseason. They’ll need to beat Cincinnati in regular-season finale — easy enough — then hope Browns ambush Ravens to salvage AFC North crown.
* — 1. New Orleans Saints (13-2): NFC South champions. Victory over Steelers gave them home-field advantage, which they parlayed into Super Bowl victory last time they had it in 2009.
y — 2. Los Angeles Rams (12-3): NFC West champions. One win away from clinching bye … and one loss away from potentially losing it.
y — 3. Chicago Bears (11-4): NFC North champions. They can finish no worse than third seed but would snatch bye if they wind up tied with Rams.
y — 4. Dallas Cowboys (9-6): NFC East champions. Claimed division title for third time in past five seasons. Can’t improve seeding in Week 17.
x — 5. Seattle Seahawks (9-6): Wild card No. 1. Russell Wilson missed playoffs for first time in 2017, but he’s going back this year.
6. Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1): Wild card No. 2. Beat Chicago next Sunday, and they’re in.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7): Don’t currently qualify for postseason. Title defense only happens if they complete sweep of Washington, and Bears KO Vikings in Week 17.
x — clinched playoff berth
y — clinched division
* — clinched home-field advantage
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