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The Starting 11: A Guide to the NFL Playoff Scenarios before Week 17

Welcome to Start 11. In this NFL season, we'll be collecting the biggest storylines highlighting outstanding players and presenting the most breathtaking arts of the week. Dive in:

1. This edition of The Starting 11 has only been in the season for a week, and is almost exclusively intended to search through the myriad of possible playoff scores that could come from the 17th week games. Let's start with what we know and who belongs to who will be no. 1 seed in the NFC. With their 31

:28 victory against the Steelers on Sunday, the Saints officially took first place in the conference. Their victory over the Rams in the ninth week means that even if New Orleans loses to Carolina next week, the Saints will still own the tiebreaker over Los Angeles to have a home advantage in the playoffs. And after seeing the Saints victory against Pittsburgh on Sunday – especially the performance of Drew Brees – it's clear the Super Bowl will be extremely difficult for any team that needs to visit the Superdome. New Orleans stumbled offensive last month, but Brees and his friends are still a tough job on the road.

Most of the remainder of the conference has a playoff image, though week 17 may still be a little mystery about seeds. The bears can overtake the number one rams. 2 seeds when L.A. loses to the 49ers next week and Chicago shoots the Vikings, but that's a big job. Chicago's 14-9 Nailbiter victory on Sunday against San Francisco on Sunday made sure the Bears did not come under the # 3 seed. In anticipation of a surprising loss of the Rams, Chicago will likely end after next week's games. The Niners have had a tough end lately, with a win against the Seahawks in Week 15 and a strong showing against the Bears, but seeing them again in the first round would be shocking to see the Rams fall flat at home. Dallas's 27:20 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday brought the Cowboys the title of NFC East, and in conjunction with the Bears' victory, the Cowboys are No. 4 seeds in the NFC.

. 2 The NFC no. After the impressive victory of the Seahawks 38-31 over the Chiefs on Sunday night, the seed of the five seaports seems to be practically discontinued. Seattle's performance against Kansas City has to frighten every other team in the NFC field. Russell Wilson made some big throwing to keep up with Patrick Mahomes II. Even more encouraging, Doug Baldwin put together his best game of the season. If Wilson plays at this level, Seattle is a threat that can scare any team in the league. Since Baldwin is well again, the Seahawks have another gear. Seattle still could win the # 6 seed, but that would mean a loss for the Cardinals on Sunday and a victory for the Vikings against Chicago. No matter what happens to Arizona, the Seahawks will fill one of the last two playoffs – they have every possible tiebreaker over the Eagles (the only other team left in the NFC race). If you buy one of the two wildcard seats, Seattle will not enjoy the comfort of CenturyLink Field in the playoffs, but even on the road, Wilson will be an unwelcome sight on a wildcard weekend.

. 3 The Exciting Victory of Philadelphia over the Texans keeps the Nick Foles Dream alive for at least another week, but the Eagles need some help when they sneak into the postseason . On Sunday, the Eagles showed how dangerous they could be if they manage to secure the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC. Philly's front four ended the game with four sacks and scored nine total hits on Deshaun Watson during the afternoon. The Texans 'porous offensive line may not be the best litmus test, but even better passport protecting units can take over the Eagles' line of defense. Chris Long cleared two pieces for a pair of sacks and virtually every member of the defensive line spent some time in the back country of Houston. If Philadelphia did not manage to get into Philadelphia, Philadelphia would still be a serious problem in secondary education, but the run of the storm can mask some of these shortcomings.

Unfortunately, Philly did not hesitate to hand over the reins to Nick Foles. Foles uncorked 49 passes for 471 yards on Sunday, including an 83-yard bomb on Nelson Agholor in the late third quarter. For the past two weeks, Foles has not been shy about pushing the ball down, whether in Agholor, Alshon Jeffery or others. The Eagles' ability to make big games in the vertical, combined with plenty of volume for Zach Ertz, makes Philly's air strike sound good without Carson Wentz. At this point, the Eagles look like a team that could make noises when they wiggle into the playoff image (hell, they beat the Rams on the road last week ), but they need it a boost from the bears when they get this last point. If Chicago beat the Vikings next Sunday and the Eagles beat Washington, Philly will be there.

. 4 Each team vies for the No. 6 seed in the NFC would enter the playoffs glowing. The Vikings scored a convincing 27-9 victory over the Lions on Sunday after a blowout victory over the Dolphins in the first game of offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Short ending Kyle Rudolph had a monster day with 122 reception halls and two touchdowns in the air, but for the second week in a row Dalvin Cook was the main point of the Viking attack. Cook wore the ball 16 times, allowing Minnesota to rely on the game's passion play. Kirk Cousins ​​used a gambling counterfeit on 12 of his 30 dropbacks on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus, and completed 83.3 percent of his throws while using game actions. When head coach Mike Zimmer fired former coordinator John DeFilippo two weeks ago, he wanted the Viking offense to rejoin the underground game action pass as the basis of their passing game. And that's exactly what happened under Stefanski.

If the Vikings can beat the Bears in Week 17, with Chicago having far less to offer than a Minnesota team battling for their playoffs, they deserve the no. 6 seeds and will probably travel to Chicago to play the Bears for the second week in a row. When the Vikings lose to Chicago and the Eagles manage to defeat Washington and sneak in, they enter the playoffs with three wins. Whichever team has to land the final playoff spot, just before the start of the postseason, a number of consecutive wins must be made.

. 5 Unlike the NFC, the top of the AFC playoff image is far from fixed, and there are numerous scenarios on the table going into the 17th week. With a victory over the Seahawks, the Chiefs would have both completed AFC West titles and the # 1 seed in the AFC. Instead, the loss sustained both the Patriots and the Chargers in the race for home advantage. A Chiefs win over Oakland in Week 17 would bring them the No. 1. 1 seed, but if Kansas City loses against the Raiders, the Pats and Chargers would both have a way to no. 1 seed. A Chargers' victory over Denver along with a Chiefs loss would take the road through the StubHub Center to the Super Bowl. And if the Chargers lose and Chiefs, the Patriots would somehow get to the top. Again everything depends on the Chiefs losing at home to the Raiders, which is not likely. But the loss on Sunday kept at least the hope for the other teams of the AFC.

. 6 The deep-rooted AFC playoff team that scored the biggest goal on Sunday were easily the Texans. Her loss to the Eagles pushed her out of the No. 2 seed and will probably let her play on the wildcard weekend. The only way left for the Texans to secure the No. 2 seeds are with a victory over the Jaguars in week 17 and losses of the Chiefs and Chargers. There is also a scenario in which the Texans will gain a home advantage in the AFC playoffs, but this would require a loss of the Patriots against the Jets in addition to losses by the Chiefs and Chargers. It is more likely than not that the loss of Houston to the Eagles is number one. AFC South Champions are 3 seconds, but that is no guarantee at this point either.

. 7 Both the Colts and the Titans won victories in Week 16, keeping them alive in the AFC South race. If the Texans fall to Jacksonville next week, the winner of the Colts-Titans game would win the division and almost certainly a No. 3 seed playoff game. When Houston defeats the Jags, Colts-Titans becomes the play-in game for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. It was a close challenge for the Colts on Sunday against the Giants, but after remaining double-digit on two separate occasions in the second half, Andrew Luck managed to score three touchdowns in the second half to win the 28: 27 To secure victory. After sneaking past the Giants, the Colts pitched a winner take-all game with the Titans next week. Whoever wins will probably be looking for an intradivision matchup with the Texans over the weekend with the wildcard.

. 8 After the Titans and Colts fought for the sixth and last place, the Steelers are the only team in the AFC. Baltimore's 10:10 success against the Chargers on Saturday was a terrible news for the Steelers, who now face a tough journey to the postseason to win AFC North. The no. 6 seeds is still in the game, but to earn that they need a most unlikely link between the Colts and the Titans. If the Ravens stumble against an upcoming Browns team next week and the Steelers shoot down the Bengals, Pittsburgh could still win the AFC North. But Baltimore has considered himself a legitimate contender in the AFC for half a month. The idea of ​​the playoffs without the Steelers is something out of the ordinary, especially considering that Pittsburgh pushed the best team in football at the Superdome on Sunday. At full strength, the Steelers seem to give each team a run in the AFC field – even on the road – but Pittsburgh is increasingly likely to watch the playoffs from home.

. 9 The Brown's dream of making the postseason was fun as long as it lasted. Of all the possible playoff scenarios that have emerged in recent weeks, it was easily imaginable for the Browns sneaking in. Few teams in the league look better than Cleveland, who won the fifth game in six weeks on Sunday and beat Bengals 26-18. Their playoff chances died on Saturday night with the Titans' 25:16 win over Washington. It was an almost impossible task given the Brown's terrible start this season under Hue Jackson, but Cleveland was able to finish the year over .500 and play the spoiler by defeating the Ravens this Sunday.

10. This week there was a line-play moment I had to rewind : Jadeveon Clowney toasted Halapoulivaati Vaitai more than once with a quick move on Sunday. Clowney was absolutely everywhere in the loss of the Texans; He finished with a sack, three quarterback hits, a forced fumble, and a recovery. His safest move was swimming inside, beating both the run and the pass. Clowney was never a natural bender around the corner, but his ability to stop and start following a change of pace has been elitist since he joined the NFL. If he is able to consistently defeat a duel inside, you know it's going to be a long afternoon.

. 11 This week in NFL players, they are not at all like us … It's great to have Doug Baldwin back.

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