With just two weeks remaining in the 2017 NFL season, plenty of intrigue and outcomes are left on the table. Five teams have clinched playoff berths so far: the Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, Jaguars and Vikings. Half of the divisions remain up for grabs, and there are still many possibilities left for the four wild cards.
This week, both games on Saturday, both games on Monday and most games on Sunday carry at least some playoff implications. Using odds from FiveThirtyEight and Football Outsiders, these are all the implications and scenarios to watch for over a three-day football weekend.
Saturday, Dec. 23
Colts at Ravens
Baltimore can't clinch a playoff berth this weekend, but if it wins its last two games (Week 17 is at home against the Bengals), it's back into the postseason for the first time since 2014. The Ravens started 4-5 but have won four of their past five games, so they might be getting hot at the right time. They have a good chance to finish 10-6, which would guarantee them the five seed and a likely trip (based on the Chief's 96 percent odds to win the AFC West) to Kansas City in the wild-card round; that would be a showdown between the quarterbacks ranked first (Alex Smith) and 28th (Joe Flacco) in passer rating.
Vikings at Packers
A win puts Minnesota at 99 percent to get a first-round bye, and a corresponding loss by the Panthers guarantees it. Since Green Bay has shut down Aaron Rodgers for the season, there's a good chance that Case Keenum will solidify himself as a second-round quarterback.
Mike McCarthy said Saturday night is a "big night" for #Packers rookie punter Justin Vogel. He meant in terms of dealing with the cold, and not the sheer volume of expected punts vs. Vikings.- Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) December 21, 2017
Sunday, December 24
Falcons at Saints
It's the biggest game of the weekend, not just for these two franchises, but for a lot of others who will be watching and wondering about their own fate. If the Saints win, they guarantee their trip to the playoffs. If the Saints win and the Panthers lose, New Orleans takes the NFC South, though there's almost no chance of the Saints getting a first-round bye. They'll likely host a wild-card team if they win the division, and that team could be Atlanta. A Falcons win clinches a playoff berth and hurts the chances for any non-NFC South team to get into the playoffs as a wild card. If Atlanta wins out, it will win the NFC South. The Falcons' Week 17 game is at home versus the Panthers. The Panthers, Seahawks, Cowboys, Lions, Vikings, Rams and Eagles all have their eyes on the outcome of this one.
So the Saints will host the 9-5 Falcons week 16 with a chance to win the NFC South? I wonder how that's gone in the past pic.twitter.com/MD28Btx5xT- Evan Saacks (@evansaacks) December 19, 2017
Chargers at Jets
If the Chargers lose, they're out.
Dolphins at Chiefs
If the Chiefs win, they're in as AFC West champs. They're destined for the four seed (93.9 percent, per Football Outsiders playoff odds), which could have them hosting a number of AFC contenders.
Bills at Patriots
A Bills win alone puts them at a 71 percent chance to make the playoffs, while a loss drops them to 29 percent -- hurt, but not out. The Patriots can't tone down their efforts to win, though, as a win and a Steelers loss would guarantee them a first-round bye.
I don't like it that I totally write off the Bills every time they play the Patriots but Tom Brady's complete game losses to the Bills are- Jeremy White (@JeremyWGR) December 21, 2017
1. 2003 - 31-0
2. 2011 - 34-31
In each game, he threw 4 INTs.
He has 6 career 4 INT games.
Rams at Titans
A win gives Tennessee a 78 percent chance to make the playoffs and keeps it alive to win the AFC South, albeit with slim odds; the Titans would need Jacksonville to lose to Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco, and then the Titans and Jags face off in Week 17. If the Titans win and the Bills and Ravens lose, Tennessee is in the playoffs. The Rams can clinch the NFC West with a win or Seahawks loss. They're most likely to get the No. 3 seed in the NFC, which will have them hosting the last team in -- possibly even the Seahawks (again!).
A Carolina win guarantees that Carolina goes to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
With wins in their final two games, these teams would be assured of a playoff spot:- Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 19, 2017
Lions at Bengals
A win increases Detroit's playoff odds from 14 percent to 23 percent. It's not a lot, but it is hope.
Jaguars at 49ers
The Jaguars ended their playoff drought last week but they could do even more. Jacksonville will win the AFC South with a win, and a Steelers loss would also put it in the lead for the No. 2 seed. The Jaguars could still get the top seed in the AFC, but they'll need a lot of help.
Playoffs baby!!!!! GO JAGS pic.twitter.com/XvBwFfg7Mj- Maurice Jones-Drew (@MJD) December 18, 2017
Seahawks at Cowboys
This feels almost like a wild-card play-in game, except the winner still has some work to do to even get in after the fact. The loser, however, will be out. So this is still an elimination game. Yes, a tie would keep them both alive, but barely -- they'd both be out if the Falcons win or tie.
Monday, December 25
Steelers at Texans
A win gives Pittsburgh a 98 percent chance to get a first-round bye, likely locking it into the No. 2 seed based on New England's remaining schedule. If the Steelers do need to get a win in Week 17, they're in luck because they're hosting the Browns.
Raiders at Eagles
Get ready to see Nick Foles as the quarterback with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, because a Philly win or a Vikings loss guarantees the Eagles the No. 1 seed. That's certainly an advantage they'll need against Drew Brees, Cam Newton or … Case Keenum.