NFL Playoff Picture: Breaking Down Every Possible Scenario

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With only one week left in the 2015 National Football League regular season, we have a pretty good idea of which teams will participate in the postseason, which is slated to begin in just two weeks. The majority of the 32 teams in the NFL have been eliminated from playoff contention — to be exact, only 14 teams are still alive — which makes for several intriguing matchups in the final weekend of the regular season. In the NFC, the six playoff qualifying teams are decided, but their seeding is still up in the air. Here’s a look at every seeding scenario heading into Week 17.

*Note: All scenarios that include a tie were excluded from consideration in this article.

NFC Playoff Picture

No. 1 Seed

The top seed in the NFC is down to the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. If the Panthers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the No. 1 seed is theirs. If they lose and the Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks, the No. 1 seed will belong to Arizona.

No. 2 Seed

See above. The NFC’s No. 2 seed will go to either the Cardinals or Panthers.

No. 3 Seed

This spot goes to the winner of this weekend’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

No. 4 Seed

This spot belongs to the Washington Redskins regardless of what happens this weekend.

No. 5 Seed

This seed will go to the Vikings, Packers, or Seahawks. If the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals, then this spot will go to the loser of the game between the Vikings and Packers. If the Seahawks and Packers win, this spot goes to the Seahawks. If the Seahawks win and the Vikings win, this spot goes to the Packers.

No. 6 Seed

If the Seahawks lose this weekend, this will be their spot. If the Seahawks and Packers win, this seed goes to the Seahawks. If the Seahawks win and the Vikings win, this seed goes to the Packers.

AFC Playoff Picture

Jim Rogash.Getty Images

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The playoff picture in the AFC is much less clear heading into the final week of the regular season. Here is a breakdown of the situation.

No. 1 Seed

This spot is the New England Patriots’ to lose. If they beat the Miami Dolphins next week, they will lock up home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. However, if they lose and the Denver Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers, then this spot will belong to Denver.

No. 2 Seed

If the Broncos and Patriots both win this weekend, this seed will belong to Denver. If the Patriots lose and the Broncos win, this seed goes to New England. If the Broncos lose and the Cincinnati Bengals win, this seed goes to the Bengals. If the Broncos and Bengals lose and the Kansas City Chiefs win, this seed goes to the Bengals.

No. 3 Seed

If the Broncos win, this spot belongs to the Bengals. If the Broncos and Bengals lose and the Chiefs win, this spot goes to Kansas City.

No. 4 Seed

If the Houston Texans win this weekend, this spot will belong to them. If the Texans lose and the Indianapolis Colts win — in addition to all of this happening — the Colts will own this seed.

No. 5 Seed

If the Broncos and Chiefs win, this seed belongs to Kansas City. If the Chiefs lose and the New York Jets win, this spot goes to the Jets. If the Broncos lose, the Jets win, and the Chiefs win, this seed will go to New York. If the Broncos and Chiefs lose and the Jets win, this seed goes to New York. If the Broncos lose, the Chiefs win, and the Jets lose, this will be Denver’s spot. If the Jets lose and the Chiefs lose, this spot goes to Kansas City.

No. 6 Seed

If the Pittsburgh Steelers win and the Jets lose, this seed will go to the Steelers. If the Jets win and the Chiefs lose, this spot goes to Kansas City. If the Jets and Chiefs win and the Broncos lose, this seed belongs to Denver.

Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

More from The Cheat Sheet