AFC, NFC Playoff Pictures Much Clearer After Dolphins And Ravens Lose, Panthers Clinch NFC South

Philip Rivers

The AFC playoff picture was a complete mess heading into Week 17, but losses by the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens in the 1 p.m. round of games cleared things up quite a bit.

Baltimore and Miami were the most likely teams to snag the AFC’s sixth and final playoff seed entering the weekend, but both choked away their opportunities Sunday. The Dolphins dropped their season finale 20-7 to the AFC East rival New York Jets, eliminating themselves from contention, and the Ravens fell hard in Cincinnati, where the Bengals rolled 34-17.

The losses leave the San Diego Chargers in possession of their own fate, while the Pittsburgh Steelers wait to see if their 20-7 win over the Cleveland Browns was enough to sneak them into the playoffs.

Here’s what the NFL’s playoff picture looks like entering the last round of games.

AFC’s No. 6 seed


In if: they beat the Kansas City Chiefs


In if: Chargers lose, as they win four-team tiebreaker with Baltimore, Miami and San Diego

As for the rest of the AFC playoff picture, the top two seeds are still up for grabs.

AFC No. 1 and 2 seeds

Denver Broncos:

No. 1 seed if: Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders

No. 2 seed if: Broncos lose and Patriots win

New England Patriots:

No. 1 seed if: Patriots beat Buffalo Bills and Broncos lose

No. 2 seed if: Patriots win

No. 4 seed if: Patriots lose, since Bengals and Colts won today

Cincinnati Bengals:

No. 2 seed if: Patriots lose

As for the NFC, the Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South with a win in Atlanta, but a few spots are still up for grabs.

NFC East:

Winner of Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game will secure NFC East title and playoff berth.

NFC North:

Winner of Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears game will secure NFC North title and playoff berth.

NFC West:

Seattle Seahawks:

Win division if: Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams

San Francisco 49ers:

Win division if: 49ers beat the Cardinals and the Seahawks lose

No. 6 seed:

New Orleans Saints:

In if: Saints beat the Buccaneers

Arizona Cardinals:

In if: Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers and Saints lose

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

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