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NFL playoff picture 2017: Which teams are in, which are out

The playoff picture is now set.

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2017 regular season comes to a close Sunday and for 20 teams it was the last week of the year. Nine teams had already guaranteed themselves a chance to play in January. Three other teams officially punched a ticket on New Year’s Eve.

In the AFC, there was a four-team race between the Ravens, Titans, Chargers and Bills for two wild card berths. The Titans grabbed one of them with a win over the Jaguars, and the Chargers are out of it, despite winning on Sunday. The Ravens and Bills battled for the final spot. It came down to the wire, but Buffalo finally ended its 17-year playoff droughtwith help from Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

In the NFC, the Falcons beat the Panthers, holding off the Seahawks for the final spot.

The playoff schedule can be found here. Below is a look at the final playoff picture:


  1. New England Patriots (13-3)**
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)**
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)**
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)**
  5. Tennessee Titans (9-7)*
  6. Buffalo Bills (9-7)*

**clinched division
*clinched wild card spot


Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)
Oakland Raiders (6-10)
Miami Dolphins (6-10)
Denver Broncos (5-11)
New York Jets (5-11)
Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
Houston Texans (4-12)
Cleveland Browns (0-16)

At the top of the conference, the Patriots sewed up the top seed with a win at home against the Jets. That leaves the No. 2 seed, and the other first-round bye, to the Steelers. Despite playing mostly backups, Pittsburgh stomped on the Browns’ hearts, sealing Cleveland’s 0-16 season.

After that, the Jaguars were already locked into the No. 3 seed and the Chiefs had secured the No. 4.

The real intrigue in the conference was the four-team race for the two wild cards. Baltimore led the pack and just needed to win at home against the Bengals. Instead, Cincinnati shocked the Ravens with a last-minute touchdown to end Baltimore’s season.

That opened the door for the Bills, who beat the Dolphins on the road. Buffalo is in the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Tennessee controlled its destiny and got in with a win against the visiting Jaguars.

The Chargers beat the Raiders, but couldn’t get enough help elsewhere. They will miss out on the postseason.


  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)**
  2. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)**
  3. Los Angeles Rams (11-5)**
  4. New Orleans Saints (11-5)**
  5. Carolina Panthers (11-5)*
  6. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)*

**clinched division
*clinched wild card spot


Detroit Lions (9-7)
Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
Green Bay Packers (7-9)
Washington (7-9)
San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
Chicago Bears (5-11)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
New York Giants (3-13)

The top of the NFC was essentially set before Sunday. The Eagles already clinched the No. 1 seed and the Vikings just needed to beat the Bears — which they did with ease — to lock down the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.

The Eagles didn’t have much to play for, but their ugly 6-0 loss to the Cowboys probably doesn’t inspire much confidence heading into the postseason.

The Saints lost at the last second to the Bucs, which helped the Rams get the No. 3. But, the Panthers’ loss gave the NFC South title to the Saints.

Carolina’s road game against the Falcons was the biggest game of the week because it also carried NFC Wild Card implications. Atlanta’s win allowed it to clinch the final wild card spot. That eliminated the Seahawks, who wouldn’t have gotten in anyway after losing to the Cardinals.

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