What scenarios for the NFL playoffs two weeks before the end of the regular season?

If the world has passed in 2022, the NFL has not yet completed its 2021 fiscal year. With two more weeks of competition to end the regular season, the number of scenarios is reduced and the playoff table is gradually becoming clearer. At the start of Week 17, which begins this Sunday at 7:00 p.m., an update on the race for the playoffs with everything that could become official this week.

AFC Conference

They are already qualified

Kansas City Chiefs [11-4]

The only franchise officially qualified for the AFC playoffs after securing the AFC West division title, Kansas City now has its destiny in its hands to secure its place on the conference throne. The Chiefs could indeed lock in first place this week in the event of a victory coupled with a loss (or a draw) of the Titans, or a draw coupled with a defeat of Tennessee. Otherwise, we will have to wait until next Sunday to find out who will be entitled to a week of rest and home advantage.

The Chiefs schedule
  • Week 17 : @ Bengals [9-6]
  • Week 18 : @ Broncos [7-8]

They can win their division

Cincinnati Bengals [9-6]

The end of the season will be difficult to negotiate, but Cincinnati still has its destiny in its hands and could secure a first AFC North division title this Sunday. To do so, the Bengals must imperatively win against the Chiefs, who will play for first place in the conference. Zac Taylor’s men can also ensure their division in the event of a draw and non-victory of the Ravens, first pursuer in this fight, or in the event of a defeat of Baltimore with a draw between Cleveland and Pittsburgh at the same time. .

Note that Cincinnati can also secure its place in the playoffs this Sunday, in the event of a draw coupled with a loss of the Chargers, a non-victory of the Raiders and other variable conditions.

The Bengals schedule
  • Week 17 : vs Chiefs [11-4]
  • Week 18 : @ Browns [7-8]

Tennessee Titans [10-5]

Like the Bengals, the Titans have their destiny in their hands to win their division, the AFC South, for the second consecutive year, something the franchise has not done since joining the NFL in 1969. their names in the history books, Mike Vrabel’s players will have to win against Miami, or hope for a Colts loss against the Raiders. Note that if Tennessee and Indianapolis both draw, the Titans would also win the division.

It should also be noted that Tennessee will officially be in the playoffs in the event of a draw or loss of two franchises among the Chargers, the Patriots and the Ravens.

The Titans Calendar
  • Week 17 : vs Dolphins [8-7]
  • Week 18 : @ Texans [4-11]

They can secure their place

Buffalo Bills [9-6]

Still in the fight with the Patriots for the AFC East division title, the Bills still have the opportunity to validate their place in the playoffs this week. For this, Buffalo must necessarily win and at the same time hope for a defeat of the Ravens or that the Chargers and Raiders do not win. Buffalo can also qualify in the event of a draw this week against the Falcons if many conditions are met at the same time.

The Bills calendar
  • Week 17 : vs Falcons [7-8]
  • Week 18 : vs Jets [4-11]

Indianapolis Colts [9-6]

If Indianapolis must hope for a defeat of the Titans to keep its chances of winning the AFC South, the Colts can at least secure a ticket to the playoffs on their own. Thus, Indianapolis will play the playoffs in the event of victory against the Raiders this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. The Colts can also qualify if they draw, and at the same time the Ravens bow and the Patriots or Dolphins do not win.

The Colts schedule
  • Week 17 : vs Raiders [8-7]
  • Week 18 : @ Jaguars [2-13]

New England Patriots [9-6]

Still in the race to win back the AFC East, the Patriots can already confirm their revival this week by validating their ticket to the playoffs. Against the Jaguars this Sunday, they will have to win, while hoping that the Dolphins or the Raiders do not win. New England also has the possibility of qualifying by drawing, but it would take a combination of circumstances seeing several pursuers bow or separate on a tie.

The Patriots schedule
  • Week 17 : vs Jaguars [2-13]
  • Week 18 : @ Dolphins [8-7]

They are still in the race

  • Miami Dolphins [8-7]
  • Baltimore Ravens [8-7]
  • Los Angeles Chargers [8-7]
  • Las Vegas Raiders [8-7]
  • Pittsburgh Steelers [7-7-1]
  • Cleveland Browns [7-8]
  • Denver Broncos [7-8]

Just behind the top tier, it’s still wide open to make the AFC playoffs, with seven franchises holding onto a win for the final qualifying spot in Wild Cards. For the moment holder of the last sesame, the Dolphins will have to surf on their exceptional form (7 wins in a row), even if they have one of the most difficult calendars among the hunters of the playoffs (@ Titans, @ Patriots). Ravens and Raiders will also have a lot to do this week (Rams & Colts), while the Chargers could take an option if they win against the Broncos, a result that would take Denver out of playoff contention. Browns and Steelers will also play their skins, with a direct confrontation in the Monday Night Football which will be crippling for the vanquished.

NFC Conference

They are already qualified

Green Bay Packers [12-3]

Only at the head of the NFC, with a tiny margin on their pursuers, the Packers have the possibility of validating this first place this week, to ensure the week of rest and the advantage of the field. For this, Green Bay will have to impose itself during the Sunday Night Football against the Vikings, and hope that the Cowboys, who face the Cardinals, do not impose themselves. A draw could also lock in Green Bay’s spot, if at the same time Dallas loses and, among the Rams and Buccaneers, one team loses and the other draws at best.

The Green Bay Calendar
  • Week 17 : vs Vikings [7-8]
  • Week 18 : @ Lions [2-12-1]
  • Dallas Cowboys [11-4]
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers [11-4]
  • Arizona Cardinals [10-5]

For the Cowboys, champions in the NFC East, the Buccaneers, champions in the NFC South, and the Cardinals, no scenario would allow them to improve their status this week. Dallas and Tampa Bay will still have to win to hope to glean first place in the conference at the finish, while Arizona will not have the right to make mistakes to keep its hopes of a division title.

They can win their division

Los Angeles Rams [11-4]

Neck and neck with the Cardinals in the NFC West, the Rams can kill the suspense this Sunday. In case of victory of Los Angeles and non-victory of Arizona, the residents of the SoFi Stadium would be assured of the division title. A draw would also give them that status, should the Cardinals lose to the Cowboys. Note that a defeat for the Rams, already assured of being in the playoffs, would not be prohibitive and would redistribute the cards for the Week 18.

The Rams schedule
  • Week 17 : @ Ravens [8-7]
  • Week 18 : vs 49ers [8-7]

They can secure their place

Philadelphia Eagles [8-7]

Absent in 2020, the Eagles are on the way to finding the playoffs and could make sure of it this week. How? ‘Or’ What ? Winning against Washington and then hoping the Vikings don’t win and the Saints don’t win or the 49ers don’t lose. Philadelphia can also validate its place by only drawing, but should then hope for a loss of Minnesota and a non-victory of the Falcons, as well as a loss of the Saints or a draw of New Orleans coupled with San Francisco who does not lose.

The Eagles schedule
  • Week 17 : @ Football Team [6-9]
  • Week 18 : vs Cowboys [11-4]

San Francisco 49ers [8-7]

Like the Eagles, San Francisco was absent from the playoffs last year. And like the Eagles, San Francisco has the opportunity to secure a spot this year this Sunday. For that, the 49ers must win against the Texans while hoping that the Saints do not beat the Panthers, or draw while New Orleans bows, but also that the Vikings and the Falcons do not impose themselves.

The 49ers schedule
  • Week 17 : vs Texans [4-11]
  • Week 18 : @ Rams [11-4]

They are still in the race

  • Minnesota Vikings [7-8]
  • Atlanta Falcons [7-8]
  • New Orleans Saints [7-8]
  • Washington Football Team [6-9]

Behind the Eagles and the 49ers, four other franchises are still mathematically in the running for the playoffs. Opposed to the Packers then the Bears for the next two weeks, the Vikings will have to be perfect and hope for a misstep in front of them. Same observation for the Falcons and the Saints, who are no longer masters of their destiny, who will absolutely have to impose themselves in Week 17 then the following week in a direct opposition between the two rivals of the NFC South. For Washington it will almost take a miracle, and this will imperatively pass through a victory against the Eagles this Sunday which would perhaps better suit the other franchises in the fight for the Wild Cards than the DC franchise

See you at 7:00 p.m. for the start of Week 17, where some of the scenarios listed above could come true in order to secure the place in the playoffs for certain franchises even before the last week of competition.

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