By the time we hit Week 17 in the NFL, the playoff picture had started to take solid shape in both conferences.
The picture in the NFC was a pretty sure thing by the time the Week 17 games kicked off. The sole exception was the matchup between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys where the winner would get the fourth seed and the loser would sit out the playoffs.
The AFC, on the other hand, was a much more complicated scenario. There were teams who could lose and still make it—but only if other teams lost as well. There were teams who could win, but still sit out the playoffs depending on what happened around the rest of the conference.
For the casual NFL fan, the convoluted what-if scenarios can be a little bit too much to keep up with. That’s why we’re here to do the legwork for you, and to let you know who’s in, who’s out and why.