NFL playoff image; AFC, NFC Week 17 Rankings: Buccaneers clinch

Here’s what the NFL playoff picture looks like with Week 17 underway:


y – 1. Buffalo Bills (12-3), AFC East champions: Must win at Cincinnati on Monday to keep inside the track for the AFC’s first-round bye and home-field advantage. Fall to the Bengals, and Buffalo could slide to third place in the conference. Remaining schedule: at the Bengals, against the Patriots

y – 2. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3), AFC West champions: A Buffalo loss to Cincinnati opens the door for KC to snatch the No. 1 seed, a goal currently hampered by the Chiefs’ Week 6 loss to the Bills. Remaining schedule: at Raiders

x – 3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4), AFC North leaders: If they can beat Buffalo and find themselves in a three-way tie with the Bills and Chiefs, the defending conference champions would earn home court and a first-round bye. A win on Monday and a loss at Baltimore on Sunday would hand Cincinnati the AFC North championship. Lose on Monday and the Bengals risk moving to wild card range. Remaining schedule: against Bills, against Ravens

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4. AFC South leaders Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8): They ended a five-year drought against the Houston Texans with Sunday’s decisive win … but it had little bearing on the Jags’ playoff chances. The division title will be determined against Tennessee in Week 18. Remaining schedule: against titans

x – 5. Baltimore Ravens (10-5), joker #1: A win on Sunday or a loss at Cincinnati on Monday guarantees the Ravens and Bengals will play the AFC North Championship Game in Week 18. Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers, Bengals

x – 6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6), joker #2: Making the playoffs for the first time in four years, it remains to be seen which division champion Bolts will visit in the first round. Remaining schedule: against the Rams, at the Broncos

7. New England Patriots (8-8), Wild #3: Not only avoided elimination by beating Miami on Sunday, the Pats have a great chance of advancing by winning next Sunday. Remaining schedule: at Invoices

8. Miami Dolphins (8-8), off the playoff field: QB Tua Tagovailoa’s five-game slide and latest concussion jeopardizes their playoff hopes, with Sunday’s loss at Foxborough knocking the Fins out of their predicted playoff bracket. Remaining schedule: vs. Jets

9. New York Jets (7-8), out of playoff field: QB Mike White is back, and if he can put together a pair of wins — and enjoy a loss in New England — then NYJ would end the league’s longest playoff drought at 12. Remaining schedule: at Seahawks, at Dolphins

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8), off the playoff field: The playoffs still look like a pipe dream, especially with coach Mike Tomlin’s first loss in the first season away … although the odds have improved greatly by winning four of the last five. Remaining schedule: at Ravens, against Browns

11. Tennessee Titans (7-9), out of playoff field: They essentially treated Thursday night’s loss to Dallas as a preseason game given that it’s the Week 18 game with Jacksonville that will determine the AFC South crown. Remaining schedule: at Jaguar

12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9), out of playoff scope: They’re technically alive, but even the Silver and Black have already waved the white flag by benching QB Derek Carr. Remaining schedule: against 49ers, at Chiefs


x – 1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3), leaders NFC East: They are 0 for 2 without injured QB Jalen Hurts, failing twice to wrap up the NFC No. 1 seed. But Philly can still do it in Week 18 against a Giants team tagged for the sixth seed and with little left to play before the wildcards turn. Remaining schedule: against the giants

y – 2. Minnesota Vikings (12-3), NFC North champions: If they win — which must be done on the road against a pair of cold-weather divisional rivals — and the Eagles lose in Week 18, Vikes will snatch the NFC No. 1 seed. Remaining schedule: at Packers, at Bears

y – 3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4), NFC West champions: Thanks to their best NFC record of 9-2 in intraconference games, the Niners still have a path to the No. 1 seed if they win and no one else in the NFC reaches 14 wins. Remaining schedule: at Raiders, against Cardinals

Buccaneers QB Tom Brady can get his team back into the playoffs with a win Sunday against Carolina.

y – 4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8), NFC South champions: It hasn’t been a great year, but Sunday’s win over Carolina eliminated the Panthers and gave the Bucs back-to-back division crowns for the first time in franchise history. Remaining schedule: among the hawks

x – 5. Dallas Cowboys (12-4), joker #1: If they win in Week 18 and the Eagles don’t, Team USA rushes to the NFC East throne. The Cowboys also have a road to the No. 1 seed if they beat Washington — Philly must obviously lose its last two games — and finish tied for the top of the conference with Minnesota. Remaining schedule: among the commanders

x – 6. New York Giants (9-6-1), joker #2: Big Blue is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 with Sunday’s win. Remaining schedule: among the eagles

7. Detroit Lions (8-8), joker #3: Beat Green Bay in Week 18 and the Lions are playoff-bound. Remaining schedule: at the packers

8. Washington Commanders (7-8-1), out of playoff field: The crushing loss to the Cleveland Browns leaves Washington in danger of being knocked out if the Packers win on Sunday. Remaining schedule: vs. Cowboys

9. Green Bay Packers (7-8), out of playoff field: They’ve had a lot of outside help in recent weeks, but the biggest help has come internally thanks to Pack’s three-game winning streak. If they win the final two, Green Bay will make the playoffs for the fourth time in four years under coach Matt LaFleur. Remaining schedule: against the Vikings, against the Lions

10. Seattle Seahawks (7-8), out of playoff field: From the start 6-3, they have won once. But hope persists…and the Week 4 victory in Detroit could serve them well. Remaining schedule: against Jets, against Rams

11. New Orleans Saints (7-9), off the playoff field: A surprise win in Philadelphia leaves them long shots for a wildcard berth … but the Packers’ victory ends the Saints’ hopes. Remaining schedule: against the panthers

x – unhooked berth

y – unhooked division


Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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