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NFL Playoff Picture 2020: AFC, NFC Wild-Card Scenarios and Week 17 Predictions

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 22: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles hands off to teammate Miles Sanders #26 during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 22, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys 17-9. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Corey Perrine/Getty Images

There's still plenty to play for as the curtain comes down on the 2019 NFL regular season Sunday, with a number of teams still fighting for improved seeding or their postseason status.

In the AFC, the Tennessee Titans are clinging on to the second wild-card spot and can ensure they remain in that place with a win over the Houston Texans in Week 17. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders need the Titans to slip up if they are to stand any chance of making the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles can progress to the postseason with a win over the New York Giants, with the Dallas Cowboys hoping for a shock. There's NFC West superiority on the line too, with the Seattle Seahawks hosting the San Francisco 49ers.

                

Week 17 Fixtures and Predictions

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 24-20

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals: Cleveland 31-25

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings: Chicago 23-17

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs: Kansas City 35-18

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots: New England 30-9

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions: Green Bay 33-14

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers: New Orleans 35-7

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: Buffalo 21-12

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars: Indianapolis 21-18

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos: Oakland 24-20

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: Philadelphia 28-12

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore 21-15

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans: Tennessee 24-17

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys: Dallas 28-24

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams: Los Angeles 26-10

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: San Francisco 35-32

                 

AFC

Division Leaders

1. Baltimore (13-2)

2. New England (12-3)

3. Kansas City (11-4)

4. Houston (10-5)

        

Wild Cards

5. Buffalo (10-5)

6. Tennessee (8-7)

        

In the Hunt

7. Pittsburgh (8-7)

8. Oakland (7-8)

    

The Titans are clinging on to the final wild-card berth after successive losses. A win over the Texans, who may rest some crucial players ahead of the postseason, would be good enough for them to advance.

Should the Texans win on home soil, the door would be open for the Steelers to move into a playoff position.

Pittsburgh need a Houston win and a victory themselves over the AFC's No. 1 team, the Baltimore Ravens. They only other way the Steelers could get through is if Tennessee and Oakland fall to defeats in their respective matches, along with a win for the Indianapolis Colts over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders also have slender hopes of advancing beyond Week 17. Adam Schefter of ESPN detailed the unlikely scenario that would need to come about for Oakland:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Hard as it is to believe, the Raiders have a path to the playoffs. Here’s what would have to happen in Week 17: 🏈Raiders beat Broncos 🏈Ravens beat Steelers 🏈Texans beat Titans 🏈Colts beat Jaguars If those four things happen next Sunday, the Raiders make it as a wild card.

In terms of seeding, the Ravens have already tied up top spot, while the New England Patriots can clinch second if they roll over the Miami Dolphins as anticipated.

If Miami were to stun the Patriots, then the Kansas City Chiefs can jump above New England with a win at home to the Los Angeles Chargers.

          

NFC

Division Leaders

1. San Francisco (12-3)

2. Green Bay (12-3)

3. New Orleans (12-3)

4. Philadelphia (8-7)

        

Wild Cards

5. Seattle (11-4)

6. Minnesota (10-5)

         

In the Hunt

7. Dallas (7-8)

        

After their crucial win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16, the Philadelphia Eagles have control over the NFC East. The Giants stand between them and the postseason.

Although New York have struggled for consistency this year, last time out they produced one of their best performances of 2019. Daniel Jones was the conductor of the 41-35 win over the Washington Redskins, throwing five touchdown passes.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, it was a landmark performance from the rookie quarterback:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Per @EliasSports, @Giants QB Daniel Jones is the first rookie in NFL history with 350+ passing yards, 5 TD and 0 INT in a game. https://t.co/9Opr5DDGN8

The Eagles need to be wary of the threat he poses, although if they are focused and in form, then they should be too strong.

The Cowboys will be need New York to do them a favour if they are to make the playoffs. The only way Dallas can extend its season into 2020 is with a Giants win and a victory over Washington.

Elsewhere, the winner of the match between the 49ers and the Seahawks will take the NFC West. A win for Seattle would also allow Green Bay to take the NFC's top spot with success over the Detroit Lions. The New Orleans Saints will be the top seed with a win if both Green Bay and San Francisco lose.

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