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NFL Playoffs 2020: Updated AFC, NFC Scenarios Before Monday Night Football

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

Green Bay Packers' Jamaal Williams celebrates as he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 21-13. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers can become the sixth NFL division champion with a Monday night win over the Minnesota Vikings. 

A victory at U.S. Bank Stadium would also keep the NFC North side in the mix for home-field advantage and a first-round bye. 

Even if Matt LaFleur's side slips up Monday, it is still in position to claim at least one playoff home game since it owns a superior division record over the Vikings. 

Once that game ends, the focus will shift to Week 17, where the NFC East, NFC West, home-field advantage in the NFC and the AFC No. 6 seed will be decided. 

               

NFL Standings

AFC

Division Leaders

1. Baltimore (13-2; clinched AFC North and home-field advantage) 

2. New England (12-3; clinched AFC East) 

3. Kansas City (11-4; clinched AFC West)

4. Houston (10-5; clinched AFC South) 

Wild-Card Race

5. Buffalo (10-5; clinched playoff berth)

6. Tennessee (8-7) 

7. Pittsburgh (8-7) 

8. Oakland (7-8) 

The Baltimore Ravens are the only squad in the AFC playoff picture with nothing to play for in Week 17, as they locked up home-field advantage through a Week 16 victory over the Cleveland Browns. 

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 22:  Gus Edwards #35 of the Baltimore Ravens attempts to run the ball past Sheldrick Redwine #29 of the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. Baltimore defeated
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

However, their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers still carries significance for the other side, as Mike Tomlin's team is fighting with the Tennessee Titans for the No. 6 seed. 

At the moment, the Titans own the advantage through strength of victory, but they face a difficult matchup against the Houston Texans Sunday. 

The Texans still have a chance to jump up to No. 3 if they win and the Kansas City Chiefs fall to the Los Angeles Chargers. 

If each of the top four seeds win Sunday, Baltimore and the New England Patriots will earn first-round byes and the door will be open for the Oakland Raiders to sneak into the No. 6 seed. 

Jon Gruden's team needs a combination of four AFC results to go in its favor, starting with a win of its own over the Denver Broncos. 

That result combined with losses by Pittsburgh and Tennessee, as well as an Indianapolis win over the Jacksonville Jaguars would create a four-way tie at 8-8. 

That would lead to the Raiders entering the playoff field on the strength of victory tiebreaker.

If the Titans win at NRG Stadium, they get in as the No. 6, but if they lose and Pittsburgh wins, the Steelers qualify for the postseason. 

                 

NFC

Division Leaders

1. San Francisco (12-3; clinched playoff berth)

2. New Orleans (12-3; clinched NFC South)

3. Green Bay (11-3; clinched playoff berth)

4. Philadelphia (8-7) 

Wild-Card Race

5. Seattle (11-4; clinched playoff berth)

6. Minnesota (10-4; clinched playoff berth) 

Five of the six NFC playoff spots have been handed out and Philadelphia is one win away from locking up the sixth. 

All the Eagles need to do is beat the New York Giants Sunday to earn the NFC East title and the No. 4 seed. 

They can also advance to the postseason by way of a Dallas Cowboys home loss to the Washington Redskins.

Green Bay can become the second NFC division champion Monday, and even if it loses, it can secure the NFC North crown in Week 17 by beating the Detroit Lions. 

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers hands the football off during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on December 15, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

First place in the NFC West will be the last thing determined in the playoff race, as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are slated to play Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. 

If San Francisco wins, it would take home-field advantage in the NFC through its head-to-head wins over Green Bay and the New Orleans Saints. 

Seattle can still win the NFC West, but its home-field advantage chances diminished with its loss to the Arizona Cardinals. 

Since the Seahawks have one additional conference loss than the Packers and Saints, they need both sides to lose one game.

If Seattle defeats San Francisco and both New Orleans and Green Bay win out, the Packers would take home-field advantage due to a one-game lead in NFC record over the Saints. 

                         

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