NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Predicting Standings After Season Finales

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 17:   Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles walks off the field after the 34-29 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 17, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Most of the NFL playoff teams are decided, but there are still three teams that remain alive.

For the AFC, we have the Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills.

For the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks.

All three of these teams need to win, but they also need another team to lose.

When your postseason fate is left up to another team, it can extremely unsettling, but at least these teams have a chance considering where they started the season.

Below are the projected standings after Week 17, along with four games to watch—you better believe the three teams above are mentioned.

Where is your team at in Week 17? Playoffs? High draft pick?

      

Projected Standings After Week 17

AFC

1. New England Patriots (13-3)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5)

4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

5. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) 

7. Tennessee Titans (8-8)

8. Buffalo Bills (8-8)

9. Miami Dolphins (7-9)

10. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)

12. New York Jets (5-11)

13. Denver Broncos (5-11)

14. Houston Texans (4-12)

15. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)

16. Cleveland Browns (0-16)

       

NFC

1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-2)

2. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)

3. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)

4. New Orleans Saints (12-4)

5. Carolina Panthers (12-4)

6. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)

7. Atlanta Falcons (9-7)

8. Detroit Lions (9-7)

9. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)

10. Washington Redskins (8-8)

11. Green Bay Packers (7-9)

12. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)

13. Chicago Bears (5-11)

14. San Francisco 49ers (5-11)

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)

16. New York Giants (2-14)

       

Matchups to Watch

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens stands on the field in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Currently the fifth seed, if the Ravens win in Week 17, they'll make the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

Looking back at 2017, it's somewhat hard to imagine that the Ravens would have made it this far, but here we are.

Before we assume their victory, they'll take on a Bengals team that put up nearly 30 at home in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions.

The Bengals have some playmakers in wide receiver A.J. Green and running back Joe Mixon, but they've been incredibly inconsistent this season.

Conversely, the Ravens offense isn't any more reliable, though quarterback Joe Flacco has multiple touchdowns in his last four games.

The Ravens defense, at home, should hold up here, but Green should be in the line for a nice statistical output.

Expect the Ravens to win here, but it won't come as easy as you might think.

Welcome to the postseason, Charm City.

          

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after scoring the game winning touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Charlotte, Nor
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In a battle of the NFC South, this game is vital for the Falcons. Similar to the Ravens, the Falcons need to win this game to make the postseason.

Should they lose, they'll also need the Seattle Seahawks to lose at home to the Drew Stanton-led Arizona Cardinals—that's not likely.

The Panthers are also playing for seeding. If the Saints lose and the Panthers win, Carolina will hop to the fourth seed, and instead of being on the road against the Saints (based off the projections above), they'll be hosting them instead.

Even though it's on the road, quarterback Cam Newton is playing exceedingly well recently. It came down the wire against the Buccaneers, but Newton and the Panthers need this game—not only to potentially move up a seed, but to keep a third NFC South team from clinching a postseason berth.

Carolina wins on the road, keeping the Dirty Birds out of the playoffs.

           

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 24:  Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers looks to pass during the first half against the New York Jets in an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Ed Mulholland
Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Going by the projections above, the Chargers have made the postseason as the sixth seed.

Considering they started the season at 0-4, that is an amazing feat. In fact, it hasn't been done since the Chargers did it back in 1992.

Before they can crown themselves the sixth seed in the AFC, they'll need to take care of business at home against the Oakland Raiders.

Given their offensive skill players, the Raiders can awaken at any time. Yes, the Chargers have a great defense, but if wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper are on, they can be tough to contain.

Ultimately, this should be a game that they win. The Raiders could try to play spoiler, but this is also a spot for them to let some bench guys get some snaps here and there.

All eyes will be on the Chargers—they look to come back from a death sentence of a start at the beginning of the season to winning nine of their last 12.

In their first season in L.A., the Chargers will make the postseason.

      

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Miami Dolphins has trouble hearing the play call during the second quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium on December 24, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. ( Pho
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

One of the two teams alive in the AFC playoff hunt is the Bills.

They need two things to happen: A win in Week 17 and the Chargers (mentioned above) to lose at home to the Raiders.

Should those two things happen, the Bills will somehow make the 2017 playoffs.

Remember, this is a team that has shuffled its quarterbacks around and had Nathan Peterman throw five interceptions at one time.

On paper, the Chargers would be a much better playoff entrant, but it's not over yet.

At home, the edge goes to the Dolphins—with running back Kenyan Drake, the Dolphins should be able to ground-and-pound their way to victory, but in all reality, this could be a tight game.

Who will be the sixth seed in the AFC? I'm sticking with the Chargers, but they also need to win, too.

       

Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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