As we wrap up the regular season of the NFL, all eyes turn towards the playoff picture. With a handful of games left on the schedule that matter for seeding and scenarios the fans of those teams lucky enough to still have teams good enough to be relevant are in for a treat. In Arizona, however, the only mystery that remains is which of the two teams most people picked to win the NFC West will end up on the bottom.
The Cardinals and 49ers are fighting out in the futility bowl while in other NFC action there are two actual playoff spots up for the taking. The New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (technically) are vying for the wildcard. And of course the one remaining division title comes down to the league's worst division, your NFC West. The Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams were flexed by NBC to get the prime time spot so see which .500 team gets the honors of advancing to the post season.
For the NFC wildcard the scenarios are simple. If the Packers beat the Bears they are in. If the Packers lose and the Giants beat the Redskins then New York gets in. If both the Packers and the Giants lose then the team once considered the best in the NFC -- by their coach -- backs into the playoffs. Simple.
In the AFC, all the playoff spots have been locked in but the seeding is very much up for grabs.
The New England Patriots won the AFC East and a first-round bye and home-field advantage in playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched playoff spot and can clinch the AFC North division and a first-round bye with a win; a tie and a Ravens loss or tie; OR a Ravens loss.
The Kansas City Chiefs clinched AFC West and can get the No. 3 seed with a win/tie against the Raiders or a Colts loss/tie. The Chiefs could drop to the No. 4 seed if they lose and the Colts win. The Indianapolis Colts can win the AFC South division with a win/tie against the Titans or a Jaguars loss at the Texans. Indy can still become the AFC's No. 3 seed if they win and the Chiefs lose to the Raiders.
The Baltimore Ravens have secured their playoff berth and can't do worse than the No. 5 seed. They can can win the AFC North, No. 2 seed and a first-round bye by beating the Bengals along with a Steelers loss/tie vs. the Browns.
The New York Jets are in the playoffs and can secure the 5th seed with a win against the Bills Sunday, along with a Ravens win/tie versus the Bengals and a Steelers loss at the Browns.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need to both win and hope that the Colts lose so they can lock up AFC South title and the 4th seed. A loss/tie or a Colts win/tie would eliminate Jacksonville.
How much more clear could it be?