While there are still two games to be played, the NFL Playoff picture came into clearer focus as to who with be in the postseason tournament. There are still plenty of playoff scenarios, however, to make the final games this week, as well as the Week 17 action must-see TV.
Only the Colts have work to do in terms of earning a spot. The other 5 teams are in, with only seeding left to play for.
NFC EAST - When the New York Giants imploded - again - in the 2nd Half against the Packers yesterday, losing 45-17, they handed the division title to the Philadelphia Eagles.
NFC NORTH - The Packers now control their own destiny. If they beat the Bears next Sunday they are in as a Wild Card. The Bears have already wrapped up the North, though they still have a BYE week as motivation.
NFC SOUTH - Tonight's Monday Night Football showdown between the Falcons and Saints will go a long way toward determining what happens next. The Saints can clinch a playoff spot with a win. The Falcons are going after home-field advantage.
NFC WEST - Take a deep breath because this gets a bit ugly. The Rams lead the West at 7-8. They head to 6-9 Seattle on Sunday in a winner-take-all affair. That's right, if the Seahawks beat the Rams on Sunday they will be the NFC West Champs with a losing record. They would also be the 4th seed in the NFC, likely hosting a 10-win Wild Card team.
If it ended today, here is what the NFC would look like:
Plenty can happen this Sunday in terms of the NFL Playoff Picture. As it stands, four teams - New England, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Chicago - are officially in. Who and where they will play still needs to be determined. To make it easy for you, here is a team-by-team breakdown of what needs to happen, and what the results could be:
CLINCHED: New England - playoff spot
Pittsburgh - playoff spot
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches AFC East division and homefield advantage with:
1) NE win or tie OR
2) NYJ loss or tie
Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division and a first-round bye with:
ROUNDUP: To put it in plain English, the Patriots can clinch home-field all the way to the Super Bowl with a win this Sunday. Pittsburgh, while in the playoffs, is still trying to wrap up the AFC North and a first-round BYE. They can do so with a win and a Baltimore loss. The Ravens play the Browns on Sunday.
The Ravens have a 'win and they're in' scenario on Sunday as well, and still have a shot at winning the North, though it will belong to Pittsburgh if they win out. Kansas City can win the AFC West with a win coupled with a loss by the Chargers, though like Pittsburgh, the Chiefs will win the West if they keep winning.
The New York Jets, like the Ravens are in the Playoffs with a win on Sunday.
CLINCHED: Chicago - NFC North
Atlanta - playoff spot
Atlanta clinches NFC South division and homefield advantage with:
ROUNDUP: The Falcons can clinch the NFC South and home-field advantage with a win over the Saints on Sunday. The Saints, however, can keep their divisional hopes alive, and clinch a playoff spot themselves, with a win in the Georgia Dome.
If the Eagles win, they are the NFC East champs, though seeding will still need to be determined.
Chicago is already in, though they can clinch a first-round BYE with a win and losses by the Eagles and Giants.
Finally, the Giants, despite their collapse at home against the Eagles last Sunday are in with a win over the Green Bay Packers.