NFL Standings 2021-22: Week 17 Records, Playoff Scenarios, Wild-Card Picture

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 28, 2021

NFL Standings 2021-22: Week 17 Records, Playoff Scenarios, Wild-Card Picture

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    At the end of Week 8, the Miami Dolphins were 1-7 and had lost seven consecutive games after beating the New England Patriots in their season opener. At the end of Week 16, the Dolphins are the No. 7 team in the AFC and in the conference's final wild-card position.

    It's been a remarkable turnaround for Miami, which extended its winning streak to seven games with a 20-3 road win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. The Dolphins are one of four 8-7 teams in the AFC, and they own the tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens.

    Will Miami's turnaround lead it into the playoffs, or will it still fall short by failing to keep its momentum going through the final two weeks of the regular season? Anything could happen in this competitive AFC wild-card race over Weeks 17 and 18.

    Here's a look at the current NFL standings, the full playoff picture and clinching scenarios for Week 17, per ESPN's Kevin Seifert.

Current NFL Standings

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    AFC East

    Buffalo Bills (9-6)

    New England Patriots (9-6)

    Miami Dolphins (8-7)

    New York Jets (4-11)


    AFC North

    Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)

    Baltimore Ravens (8-7)

    Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1)

    Cleveland Browns (7-8)


    AFC South

    Tennessee Titans (10-5)

    Indianapolis Colts (9-6)

    Houston Texans (4-11)

    Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13)


    AFC West

    Kansas City Chiefs (11-4, clinched division)

    Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)

    Las Vegas Raiders (8-7)

    Denver Broncos (7-8)


    NFC East

    Dallas Cowboys (11-4, clinched division)

    Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)

    Washington Football Team (6-9)

    New York Giants (4-11)


    NFC North

    Green Bay Packers (12-3, clinched division)

    Minnesota Vikings (7-8)

    Chicago Bears (5-10)

    Detroit Lions (2-12-1)


    NFC South

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4, clinched division)

    Atlanta Falcons (7-8)

    New Orleans Saints (7-8)

    Carolina Panthers (5-10)


    NFC West

    Los Angeles Rams (11-4, clinched playoff berth)

    Arizona Cardinals (10-5, clinched playoff berth)

    San Francisco 49ers (8-7)

    Seattle Seahawks (5-10)

AFC Playoff Picture

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)

    No. 2 Tennessee Titans (10-5) vs. No. 7 Miami Dolphins (8-7)

    No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) vs. No. 6 New England Patriots (9-6)

    No. 4 Buffalo Bills (9-6) vs. No. 5 Indianapolis Colts (9-6)

    In the hunt: Los Angeles Chargers (8-7), Las Vegas Raiders (8-7), Baltimore Ravens (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1), Cleveland Browns (7-8), Denver Broncos (7-8)

    Although the Chiefs are the only AFC team that has clinched a playoff berth, that's likely to change in Week 17. And it's possible that the Titans and Bengals will both join them as division champions.

    Tennessee will clinch the AFC South title in Week 17 with a win over Miami or an Indianapolis loss to Las Vegas. If neither of those things happens, then the Titans could still at least secure a playoff berth if two of the following three teams lose: the Chargers (vs. the Broncos), Ravens (vs. the Rams) and Patriots (vs. the Jaguars).

    Cincinnati will clinch the AFC North title in Week 17 with a win over Kansas City. However, that could be a difficult task, considering the Chiefs are looking to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which they can do with a win and a Titans loss to the Dolphins.

    The AFC East title race will last until Week 18, regardless of what happens during Week 17. The Bills control their own destiny in the division race, as they'll win the title with victories over the Falcons and the Jets in the next two weeks. However, Buffalo can't clinch this week, as New England and Miami remain in the race.

    The Bills can clinch a playoff berth in Week 17, though, if they beat the Falcons and the Ravens or the Raiders and Chargers lose.

    The Colts are still alive in the AFC South race, but they need to win each of their final two games and have the Bills lose each of their final two matchups. Still, Indianapolis can clinch a playoff berth in Week 17 if it beats Las Vegas this week.

    The Patriots may have fallen to second place in the AFC East on Sunday, but they remain alive in the race for the division title. Even if they come up short, they can clinch a playoff berth in Week 17 with a win over the Jaguars and a loss by either the Raiders or Dolphins.

    Currently on a seven-game winning streak, Miami now controls its own postseason destiny. If it wins its final two games against Tennessee and New England, then it will be in the playoffs.

NFC Playoff Picture

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    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Green Bay Packers (12-3)

    No. 2 Dallas Cowboys (11-4) vs. No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)

    No. 3 Los Angeles Rams (11-4) vs. No. 6 San Francisco 49ers (8-7)

    No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4) vs. No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

    In the hunt: Minnesota Vikings (7-8), Atlanta Falcons (7-8), New Orleans Saints (7-8), Washington Football Team (6-9)

    Heading into Week 17, the Cowboys, Rams and Buccaneers are all still in the running for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. However, the Packers could change that if they beat the Vikings and the Cowboys lose to the Cardinals, as they'd then clinch home-field advantage and a first-round bye.

    Dallas and Tampa Bay are now just playing for seeding, as both have clinched division titles. That leaves the NFC West as the only division in the NFC that has yet to be decided.

    The Rams took over first place in the NFC West in Week 16, and they can now clinch the division title in Week 17 if they beat the Ravens and the Cardinals lose to the Cowboys. Both Los Angeles and Arizona clinched playoff berths in Week 16, but the teams could be battling for the division crown until Week 18.

    If the Cardinals hope to win the NFC West, they'll need the Rams to lose at least one of their final two games. Los Angeles concludes the regular season with matchups against Baltimore and San Francisco.

    The 49ers remained in the No. 6 spot even after they lost to the Titans in Week 16, and they can now clinch a playoff berth in Week 17. That will happen if San Francisco defeats Houston and a New Orleans loss to Carolina. So the 49ers are still in a good position to reach the postseason.

    The Eagles have won three straight games to improve to 8-7 and move up to the No. 7 spot in the NFC. They can clinch a playoff berth in Week 17 if they beat Washington—and the Vikings, 49ers and Saints all lose.

    Considering San Francisco and Philadelphia can't both clinch this week, there will still be at least one postseason berth up for grabs heading into Week 18. And it's possible there could be two, if both the 49ers and Eagles are unsuccessful in their clinching efforts in Week 17.