NFL Playoff-Clinching Scenarios for Week 17
As the NFL begins Week 17, six of the 14 playoff spots have been claimed, and eight of the 32 teams are now officially out of the playoffs. That leaves 18 teams to battle it out for the final eight playoff positions over these final two weeks.
And much to the joy of television executives and NFL bettors, every single game this week features at least one team that is still alive for the playoffs.
AFC Division Clinching Scenarios
Win your division and you get to host at least one playoff game. For the Kansas City Chiefs, they enter Week 17 with the easiest division-winning formula. Just win one of the two remaining games. This week they are at home and hosting the Cincinnati Bengals, and a win gives them the AFC West for an eighth- straight season.
That would be the second-longest division championship streak in NFL history. The New England Patriots own the record with 11 straight (2009-2019).
The Jacksonville Jaguars can also clinch the AFC South when they host the Carolina Panthers. If they win and the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans lose, the Jaguars are division champions for the second straight year. At BetUS.com, the Jaguars are paying +1600 to win the AFC.
The AFC North belongs to the Baltimore Ravens if they beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. A win for the Ravens would also clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. For the Dolphins, if they win and the Buffalo Bills lose to the New England Patriots, they would be the AFC East champions.
BetUS.com has the Ravens as the favorite to win the AFC, paying +195. The Dolphins are the second betting favorite at +350.
NFC Division-Clinching Scenarios
The San Francisco 49ers have already clinched the NFC West, and the Detroit Lions have clinched the NFC North. This weekend we could also see the NFC East and South crown its champions.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been good to online sportsbook bettors, leading the NFL with a 10-5 record against the spread. With a win this week against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay will win the NFC South. Bovada.lv has the Bucs at -140 on the moneyline.
Pennsylvania online sportsbook bettors have not fared as well with the Philadelphia Eagles this season. They are just 7-6-2 against the spread. But they are 11-4 straight up, and a win on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, coupled with a Dallas Cowboys loss or tie, would give them the NFC East. If the Eagles do win the division, they will be the first repeat winner of the NFC East since they won three straight from 2002-2004.
Wild Card-Clinching Scenarios
Along with the divisions that can be clinched, four teams can claim wild card spots in Week 17.
The easiest scenario is for the Cleveland Browns. If they win on Thursday night against the New York Jets, they are in. If the Browns lose, a loss by the Jaguars or Pittsburgh Steelers or Buffalo Bills — or a loss by both the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts — also gets them.
The Browns have been a hit at Ohio online sportsbooks of late, beating the spread in each of their last three games and winning by an average of seven points.
The Bills can also clinch in the AFC. They must win, and if the Steelers and Bengals both lose, Buffalo clinches. They can also get in if just one of the two loses, and a combination of AFC South teams also lose.
Four teams in the NFC have clinched, and we could have all seven spots gone by the end of the weekend. We know one of the three wild card spots goes to the NFC East. The final two could go to the NFC West.
The Los Angeles Rams can clinch if they win and the Seattle Seahawks lose. The Rams can also get in if they lose and the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings tie. That same scenario exists for the Seahawks. If they beat the Steelers at home, and the Packers and Vikings tie, they are in.
BetUS.com is heavily favoring both the Rams and Seahawks to make the playoffs. L.A. is paying -250 to be a wild card team, and Seattle is paying -325.