NFL playoff standings for 2016 have numerous scenarios playing out in Week 17. The NFL playoff scenarios include the Pittsburgh Steelers having a shot to move into the picture and the Denver Broncos possibly winning the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Week 17 NFL schedule all plays out on Sunday, January 3, with games affecting the playoff scenarios beginning at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET.
A very important game for the NFL playoff standings is the New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills. The Jets currently hold the No. 6 seed in the AFC, with a 10-5 overall record. If the Jets can beat the Bills, the team will clinch a spot in the playoffs as either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed. To move up to No. 5, the Jets would need the Kansas City Chiefs to lose to the Oakland Raiders later on Sunday. A loss by the Jets, though, would allow the Pittsburgh Steelers a chance to sneak into the postseason.
The NFL playoff scenarios for the Steelers are pretty simple at this point, as well. The Steelers need to beat the Cleveland Browns to move to 10-6, and also have the Jets lose to the Bills. That would allow the Steelers to take the No. 6 seed in the AFC Playoffs. The Chiefs play into the overall equation as well, with the chance to either clinch the first wild card spot in the AFC or even win the AFC West on Sunday. To win the division, the Chiefs need to beat the Raiders and have the San Diego Chargers beat the Denver Broncos.
That Denver vs. San Diego game is also very important, because the Broncos could move into the No. 1 seed in the AFC through specific playoff scenarios. If the Broncos beat the Chargers and the New England Patriots lose to the Miami Dolphins, then Denver gains home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s pretty simple for the Patriots, as the team just needs to win and it will clinch the top seed. A loss by the Broncos could also help the Cincinnati Bengals, as the Bengals can move up to No. 2 with a win. If the Chiefs win the AFC West, the Bengals are automatically the No. 2 seed, as well.
The NFL playoff standings aren’t set in the NFC, either. The Carolina Panthers can clinch the No. 1 seed by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but could get overtaken with a loss and a win by the Arizona Cardinals over the Seattle Seahawks. Arizona will be at least the No. 2 seed after winning the NFC West this season. The No. 3 seed in the NFC playoff scenarios will be the winner of the Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. The winner of that game becomes the NFC North champion with a 12-6 overall record. The loser becomes one of the wild card teams.
If the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals, the loser of the Packers vs. Vikings will be the No. 5 seed. If the Seahawks beat the Cardinals, the Vikings could fall to the No. 6 seed with a loss. The worst that the Packers can do is the No. 5 seed, as the team holds a tie-breaker with the Seahawks after beating them earlier in the NFL regular season. As for the winner of the NFC East, the Washington Redskins will become the No. 4 seed in the NFC Playoffs no matter what happens.
One additional interesting playoff scenario in the AFC is how the Kansas City Chiefs could finish No. 3, No. 5, or No. 6. If the team wins the AFC West, it would become the No. 3 seed and potentially play the Denver Broncos in a first-round playoff game. That would also create a first round-game between the New York Jets and AFC South champion Houston Texans. It’s still too early to count out the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2016 NFL playoff standings, especially since the Jets have lost to the Bills this season once before. A Jets loss and a Steelers win could really shake things up again.
[Photo by AP Photo/Gene Puskar]