Week 17 of the 2016 NFL regular season schedule will take place today, and for the first and only time of the season, all 32 teams will play on Sunday as the regular portion of the schedule comes to a close.
For many teams, today will be a New Year’s Day to remember, while for others it will be one of what-ifs and what could have been. When all of the Week 17 NFL game results become official, fans will finally know which 12 teams are in the playoffs, who they will face, and where the games will be played.
According to NFL.com, the NFL playoff schedule won’t officially be known until every game is completed today, including key games between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, and the Sunday night clash between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.
Here is how everything breaks down.
In the NFC, Dallas is the NFC East champions and they have clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Atlanta Falcons are the champs of the NFC South and can clinch the No. 2 seed with a win against the New Orleans Saints. If Atlanta loses, they can still clinch the second seed with a Seattle loss or a Detroit loss or tie.
The Washington Redskins can clinch a playoff berth with a win and as long as the Packers vs. Lions game doesn’t end in a tie the Skins can also get into the postseason if they tie against the Giants, and Green Bay and Tampa Bay both lose.
Speaking of the Buccaneers, they are still alive to make the playoffs as well, but their chances rely on a lot of things going just right.
Tampa Bay can clinch a playoff berth if they win today at home against the Carolina Panthers. Well that is just step one. If the Bucs win, they also need Green Bay to lose, and Washington to tie. Yeah, it is a long shot for the Buccaneers, but it is possible.
Are you following all that so far?
The simplest “win and you are in” scenario is in Motown tonight. The winner of the Packers vs. Lions game will claim the NFC North title and will host a game next weekend.
In the AFC, the Patriots are in the postseason already, however, a win will guarantee them the No. 1 spot in the conference and home-field throughout.
If the Patriots happen to lose to the Dolphins, the Oakland Raiders can swipe the No. 1 seed away from them if they defeat the Denver Broncos. The Kansas City Chiefs can clinch the AFC West with a win and an Oakland Raiders loss.
If you feel like all of these tie breakers are kind of confusing, you are not alone. The bottom line for fans of teams on the bubble like Washington, Detroit and Green Bay is simple – just win your game and you don’t have to worry who else wins or loses!
Below is a look at today’s schedule, TV start times and the latest Las Vegas odds for each game.
Sunday, Jan. 1
- Chicago at Minnesota (-6) — 1 p.m. — FOX
- Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-4.5) — 1 p.m. — CBS
- Dallas at Philadelphia (-5) — 1 p.m. — FOX
- New England (-9) at Miami — 1 p.m. — CBS
- Buffalo (-3.5) at N.Y. Jets — 1 p.m. — CBS
- Carolina at Tampa Bay (-3.5) — 1 p.m. — FOX
- Houston at Tennessee (-4) — 1 p.m. — CBS
- Baltimore (-1) at Cincinnati — 1 p.m. — CBS
- Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-5) — 1 p.m. — CBS
- New Orleans at Atlanta (-8) — 4:25 p.m. — FOX
- N.Y. Giants at Washington (-7.5) — 4:25 p.m. — FOX
- Kansas City (-4) at San Diego — 4:25 p.m. — CBS
- Oakland at Denver (-1) — 4:25 p.m. — CBS
- Seattle (-9) at San Francisco — 4:25 p.m. — FOX
- Arizona (-6) at L.A. Rams – 4:25 p.m. — FOX
- Green Bay (-3) at Detroit — 8:30 p.m. — NBC
ATS Picks — Denver -1, New England -9, Buffalo -3.5, Philadelphia -5
[Featured Image by Andrew Weber/Getty Images]