CHICAGO IL - DECEMBER 26: Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears celebrates a touchdown catch against the New York Jets at Soldier Field on December 26 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 38-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

NFL Playoff Picture: Eagles Locked In As NFC No. 3 Seed, Bears Get First-Round Bye

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NFC Playoff Picture Coming Into Focus As Bears Clinch Bye, Eagles Locked Into 3rd Seed

The NFL playoff picture is coming into focus on the NFC side as the Eagles are now locked into the third spot with their loss to the Vikings on Tuesday. That loss also clinched a first round bye for the Bears, who will be at home in the wildcard round.

Here's how the playoff picture is shaping up on the NFC:

The Falcons can clinch the top seed with a win over the Panthers while the Saints can win the division and take the top seed with a Falcons loss and a victory in Week 17.

The Bears will be the second seed with the Eagles falling out of contention.

The Eagles have locked themselves into the third seed. They can't pass the Bears in the second seed and, because they won the NFC East, they can't fall below the fourth playoff team, which is the winner of the NFC West.

The winner of the Seahawks-Rams game on Sunday Night Football in Week 17 will decide the fourth playoff spot.

The Saints or Falcons will be the first wildcard and fifth seed in the playoffs. If the Falcons win, they'll be the first seed while the Saints will be the fifth. If the Saints win and the Falcons lose, the Saints will be the top seed and the Falcons the fifth.

The final seed is coming down to a few teams. The Packers clinch this spot with a win or a Giants and Bucs loss. The Bucs need a win and a Giants and Packers loss to get in. The Giants need to win and the Packers lose for New York to get in.


NFL Playoff Picture: Eagles Loss Helps Bears, Hurts Giants

The Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday night were 14.5 point favorites heading into their game against the Minnesota Vikings. And because the NFL is incredibly unpredictable it's almost predictable that the Vikings turned it around and beat the Eagles by 10 points.

What does this mean for the NFL playoff picture?

First, the Eagles are now locked into the No. 3 seed. They can't move up or down next week which means they're not getting a bye. If they had won, they'd be playing for a first round bye. Now that the bye is officially out of the picture, they can rest their guys in Week 17. So the loss is bad but it's not the worst thing in the world.

Second, the Bears now clinch a first round bye. The Bears will have a first round bye along with the winner of the NFC South, Falcons or Saints.

Third, this may hurt the Giants. The Bears, like the Eagles, now have nothing to play for (except to go from No. 2 to No. 1 seed in the playoffs) in Week 17. The Giants need the Bears to beat the Packers in Week 17 but now the Bears already have their incentive with the first round bye. Will they still play to win? New York hopes so.

The loss hurts the Eagles because, at the very least, it showed they're not invincible as they head into the playoffs. But there are worse scenarios the Eagles could be in right now as they have a free week next week.


NFL Playoff Picture: Vikings Vs. Eagles And What's On The Line

The Minnesota Vikings will play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Tuesday Night Football in a game that has plenty of playoff implications for the Eagles. Philly has already clinched the NFC East so we know they're in and they won't be lower than the third seed. They could, however, move up to the second seed and get a first round bye.

First, the Eagles need to beat the Vikings on Tuesday night and move to 11-4 on the season. That would give them the same record as Chicago but the Bears would hold the tiebreaker via head-to-head. Second, the Eagles need to beat the Dallas Cowboys next week to move to 12-4 on the season. Third, the Eagles need the Bears to lose to the Green Bay Packers in Week 17.

That would give them a one-game lead on the Bears -- which they'll need because Chicago owns the tiebreaker -- and move them into the second spot in the NFL playoff picture. If the Eagles lose either of these next two games, or the Bears win, they'll be locked into the third seed.

Philly could also be in the running for the top seed, although that's more difficult. If they win twice and Chicago loses or ties, Atlanta loses and New Orleans loses or ties, they'd get the top seed. If they win twice and Atlanta loses, New Orleans loses or ties then Philly would clinch a strength of victory tiebreaker over Atlanta.

So the Eagles have motivation to win this game (and the Vikings don't). Having the second seed would be even more important if the top seed -- Falcons or Saints -- gets knocked out and the Eagles advance to the NFC Championship game, which would then be at home.


NFL Playoff Scenarios: Steelers, Ravens, Colts And Jaguars Can Win Divisions In Week 17

Five of the six playoff spots in the AFC have already been determined with the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets clinching playoff spots. The final spot is coming down to the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Patriots are the only ones who have sealed up their playoff spot with the No. 1 seed. The Steelers, Chiefs, Ravens and Jets are still fighting for playoff seeds while the Colts are just trying to get in.

Here are a few of the clinching scenarios in the AFC for Week 17:

The Pittsburgh Steelers can clinch the AFC North title and a first round bye by doing one of three things -- Steelers win, Steelers tie plus a Ravens loss or tie, or a Ravens loss. Any of those three things happen and the Steelers will clinch the AFC North and the second seed in the AFC.

The Ravens can also clinch the AFC North title and a first round bye. If Baltimore wins and Pittsburgh loses or ties, the Ravens will win the division and a first round bye.. If Baltimore ties, and Pittsburgh loses, the Ravens will win the division and a first round bye.

The Colts are close to clinching the AFC South and a playoff spot but they're not there yet. If Indy wins or ties this weekend, or Jacksonville loses or ties, the Colts will win the AFC South and land in the playoffs.

The Jaguars need a little help from the Colts getting into the playoffs. They need to win on Sunday and have the Colts lose, and then they're in.


NFL Playoff Picture: Saints Can Still Top Falcons For No. 1 Seed In NFC

The New Orleans Saints clinched a playoff spot on Monday Night Football beating the Atlanta Falcons but also made our NFL playoff picture potentially a little more messy. Despite Atlanta's dominance for much of the season, the Saints can still catch them and become the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Here's how: Next week, the Saints beat the Bucs and the Falcons lose to the Panthers. A Falcons loss combined with a Saints victory could give New Orleans the division, the top seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bears and Eagles would also be involved for the top seed in this scenario. That would drop the Falcons all the way to the fifth seed which means in two short weeks, they'd go from top dogs to fifth seed going on the road in the first round of the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Saints, Carolina's the worst team in the NFL. It seems very unlikely that the Falcons, who have played very well all year, would lose to them. Of course, no one thought the Bengals would beat the nine point favorite Chargers pushing the Chiefs into the playoffs either.

So early predictions will be that the Falcons remain with the No. 1 seed and the Saints get the fifth seed.

The question moving forward for the Falcons, assuming they beat Carolina, is just how good they are. They've now lost to both New Orleans and Philadelphia -- arguably the top two teams in the NFC -- and are just 4-3 against playoff teams. They're good good?


NFL Playoff Picture: Packers-Eagles, Saints-Rams In NFC If Playoffs Started Today

The NFC playoff picture through 16 weeks has still left plenty to be decided including the No. 1 seed. A Falcons victory tonight on Monday Night Football against the Saints could secure the top seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the playoffs started today, though, the Falcons would have the No. 1 seed.

Looking at the NFL playoff picture if the season ended today, the Falcons would have the No. 1 seed followed by the Bears, Eagles, Rams, Saints and Packers. That means the Falcons and Bears would have bye weeks.

The Packers would be visiting Philadelphia to play the Eagles. Philly lost to Green Bay in Week 1 but the Eagles are a totally different team with Michael Vick hitting his stride. The Eagles would probably be favored to win this game in whatever kind of weather Philly wants to throw out there.

The Rams would be hosting the Saints. Yes the Rams, a 7-8 team, would be hosting the defending Super Bowl champs. I think New Orleans would be favored if that game took place.

The lowest seed would then face the Falcons in Atlanta and the Bears would host the other game.

Of course plenty can change in one week. There's even a scenario where the Falcons don't win the NFC south and end up as the fifth seed so plenty can happen.


NFL Playoff Picture: Jets-Chiefs, Ravens-Colts In AFC If Playoffs Started Today

If the NFL playoff picture ended today then the Kansas City Chiefs would host the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens would travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts in the wildcard round of the playoffs. The New England Patriots have the top seed and the Pittsburgh Steelers, if the season ended today, would have the second seed. Both teams would have first round byes.

So the first matchup we'd have would be the Jets-Chiefs. For the Chiefs, it's probably the best matchup you could hope for with the Jets, at times, struggling. The Jets would probably be favored but the Chiefs have a chance to end the season undefeated at home so they won't be an easy out.

The second AFC matchup in the wildcard round would be the Ravens-Colts. This would be an excellent game between two very good teams. The Ravens have been tough all year while the Colts had to overcome a slow start. The Colts have one more week to clinch their playoff spot with a victory.

If the higher seeds won in both of those games, the Chiefs would be visiting Pittsburgh in the divisional round and the Colts would be traveling to New England. However it shakes out, New England will get the lowest seed while the No. 2 team in the AFC would get the other winner.

Of course this is if the playoffs ended today -- which they didn't. We've got one more week to sort through NFL playoff scenarios.


NFL Playoff Picture: Saints-Falcons Means Something; Bears, Eagles Battle For No. 2 Seed

Various NFL playoff scenarios are out there but we're starting to get a clearer look at the NFL playoff picture as we enter Week 17. Unlike the AFC, the top seed is not yet wrapped up as the Falcons play the Saints on Monday Night Football.

Here's a look at how things are currently looking in the NFC playoff picture:

First, the Falcons can clinch the NFC South and the No. 1 seed with a victory in one of their last two games. Two Falcons losses with two Saints victories would give New Orleans the NFC South title.

Second, the Bears can clinch the second seed and a first round bye by beating the Packers in Week 17 or the Eagles losing to the Vikings or Cowboys in the final two weeks. But they're NFC North champs so they'll be somewhere in seeds 1-3.

Third, the Eagles have already clinched the NFC East with two games to go against the Vikings (Tuesday) and Cowboys. Two Eagles wins with a Bears loss gives the Eagles the second seed and a first round bye. If not, they'll be in the third seed.

Fourth, the Rams or Seahawks will win the NFC West in Week 17 when they meet. The winner of that game will be the fourth seed and will host a home playoff game.

Fifth, the Saints can clinch the top wildcard spot with one more win or potentially the NFC South if the Falcons lose twice and they win out. The Saints and Falcons play on Monday Night Football. If the Saints lose, the Bucs could beat them in Week 17 and take their playoff spot. There are other (unlikely) scenarios of the Saints and Bucs both getting in.

Sixth, the Packers are in with a win over the Bears next week. If they lose, it opens the door for the Giants who would then get in if with a victory. If the Giants and Bucs tie them up, the Packers own the tiebreakers.


NFL Playoff Picture: Patriots Wrap Up AFC; Steelers, Ravens Battle For No. 2 Seed

Various NFL playoff scenarios remain but we're nearly at the point where the NFL playoff picture is decided. Five of the six spots in the AFC have been decided at this point with the Colts and Jaguars the final two teams fighting to get in. We know quite a few things about the playoff picture by now as the Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs, Ravens and Jets have clinched spots. The final spot will come from the winner of the AFC South.

First, the Patriots have the No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They're two games ahead of the Steelers with one to play. With the weather we've seen this year, playing in New England won't be the easiest thing in the world for either team.

Second, the Steelers need a win against Cleveland next week or a Baltimore loss to clinch the No. 2 seed. A Steelers loss and a Ravens victory slides Pittsburgh all the way down to the sixth seed so this is an important game.

Third, the Chiefs clinched the AFC West and a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. If they win or if the Colts lose, they'll confirm themselves as the third seed. A Chiefs loss and a Colts victory puts KC in the fourth seed.

Fourth, the Colts need to win or have the Jaguars lose to secure the AFC South title. They could still move up to the third seed with a Chiefs loss.

Fifth, the Ravens are the top wildcard. They could move all the way up to the No. 2 seed if they win and the Steelers lose. if not, they're locked in ahead of the Jets as the fifth seed.

Sixth, the Jets are the final playoff team. If the Steelers win, they'll be the sixth seed. They could move up to the fifth seed with a Steelers loss and a Ravens win.


NFL Playoff Picture: Kansas City Chiefs Clinch AFC West; San Diego Chargers Out Of Hunt

With their win over the Tennessee Titans, the Kansas City Chiefs have locked up a spot in the 2010 NFL playoffs. Well, that coupled with the San Diego Chargers loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Chiefs are in line for the No. 3 seed and a wild card round game against the New York Jets, and will keep that seed with a win next week over the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs could also rest starters, including Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles, and possibly let the Indianapolis Colts sneak up to the No. 3 seed.

A 10-win season would be Kansas City’s first since 2005 and only its third since 1998. They’ve already secured their first winning season since 2006 and first division title since 2003.

The Chargers will miss the playoffs for the first time in five years, and they did it despite ranking in the top two in both offense and defense for almost the entire season. Wow.

For more on the Chiefs, visit Arrowhead Pride and SB Nation Kansas City.


NFL Playoff Picture: Green Bay Takes Control In Wild Card Race, Eagles Clinch NFC East

The Packers' 45-17 shellacking of the Giants provided some clarity to a couple of different aspects of the NFL playoff picture in the NFC.

With the loss, the Packers now have just one last step to making it two straight playoff berths: win next week over the Bears, and the Packers will be one of the NFC's two wild card teams. Lose, and the Packers need a little help to get back to the postseason.

The Giants' loss also helped the Eagles. Philadelphia clinched the NFC East with the win, and is now playing only for playoff byes.

Tampa Bay's rout of Seattle also keeps the Bucs in the playoff hunt. The Buccaneers still need some help — both the Packers and Giants need to lose next weekend — but can make it to the postseason by beating the Saints next week and having things fall their way.

And out in the woeful NFC West, it's a winner-take-all scenario for the Rams and Seahawks. Whichever team prevails in next week's game at Qwest Field will win the NFC West and take the NFC's fourth seed.

If the Seahawks win that game, they will enter the playoffs with a 7-9 record — and may welcome the defending Super Bowl champion Saints to Seattle.


NFL Playoff Picture: Jets Clinch Playoff Berth Despite Loss, Patriots Secure Home Field Advantage

Today's early games produced a few results of significance to the NFL playoff picture, but only the Jets managed to clinch a playoff berth.

And they lost.

Despite falling to the Bears 38-34 in Chicago, the Jets wrapped up a wild card berth in the NFL playoffs after the Jaguars lost to the Redskins 20-17 in overtime.

The Jets were eliminated from contention in the AFC East mere minutes before their game ended. The Patriots clinched that division and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by routing the Bills 34-3.

The Colts also got a late Christmas present from the Redskins: with the Jaguars' loss to Washington, the Colts can clinch the AFC South and the resulting playoff spot with a win over Oakland today, a win in Week 17, or a Jaguars loss in Week 17.

The Bears were the only major NFC contender in action early, but their win locked up nothing. They remained in position to earn a first-round bye with a win next week against Green Bay, but could have problems with the Packers and would be passed for the second seed with a loss in Week 17 if the Eagles win out.

And in the NFC West, the NFL's forgotten child, the Rams beat the 49ers and stayed on pace to win the division by winning out. If they do, the Rams would be an 8-8 team hosting a team with a better record in the first round of the playoffs.

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