2013 NFL playoff scenarios, Week 17

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Heading into the final week of the NFL season, just two of the league's 12 playoff bids are unclaimed. Let's take a look at possible scenarios.

While the AFC's six playoff teams are set, their seeding is not, and the NFC's playoff picture is a bit murkier with the fates of a handful of teams hinging on the outcome of their (and other teams') regular-season finales.

The top three spots in the AFC and possible first-round byes are at stake on Sunday. The No. 1 Houston Texans, No. 2 Denver Broncos and No. 3 New England Patriots can all cement their seeds by taking care of their own business and winning on Sunday. A Texans loss to the surprising Indianapolis Colts could allow Denver or New England to leapfrog them with wins. Should the Broncos suffer a wholly unexpected upset at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, they could fall to the No. 3 seed if both Houston and New England win. The Patriots could slip to No. 4 with a loss (and a Baltimore Ravens win), but could finish as high as No. 1, should the Texans and Broncos lose. New England holds a tiebreaker over both teams.

With a win, the Ravens could sneak into the No. 3 spot with a Patriots loss because they hold a tiebreaker over Bill Belichick's squad.

The No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals and No. 5 Colts are cemented at their postions, regardless of what might happen on Sunday.

In the NFC, the No. 1 Atlanta Falcons have the top spot locked up. The No. 2 Green Bay Packers could lose their spot and a first-round bye if they lose to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and the No. 3 San Francisco 49ers handle the Arizona Cardinals as they should.

The 49ers need a win on Sunday (or a Seattle Seahawks loss) to win the NFC West. A win -- coupled with a Minnesota Vikings upset of the Packers -- would secure the No. 2 spot and a first-round bye. If San Francisco is upset by Arizona and fail to win the NFC West, the 49ers would tumble to No. 5 and play the Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys in the first round.

Washington can snag the No. 4 spot and an NFC East title with a win over Dallas on Sunday. If the Vikings and Chicago Bears both lose on Sunday, the Redskins will clinch a playoff berth.

As explained earlier, the No. 5 Seahawks can win the NFC West with a win and a 49ers loss. A loss, or a San Francisco win, would keep Seattle as the No. 5 seed with a first-round game against the Cowboys or Redskins.

The No. 6 seed -- a wild card berth -- is up for grabs on Sunday. A VIkings upset of the Packers would clinch the final wild card spot for Adrian Peterson and company. If the Vikings lose, they will need losses from the Cowboys, Giants and Bears in order hang on to the final spot in the NFC.

The Bears need the Packers to knock off the Vikings to claim the No. 6 spot, while the Cowboys can jump into the playoffs only with a win over the Redskins on Sunday night.

It won't be easy for the Giants to get back into the playoffs. They will need a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17 and losses by the Vikings, Bears and Cowboys in order to qualify for the No. 6 spot after a disappointing loss to the Ravens in Week 16.

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