240 games in 48 days. 119 wins. 119 losses. 2 ties. 10 playoff berths. 17 eliminations. The 2020 #1 pick locked up.
The 2019 regular season is down to the final day of action – 16 games on Sunday, December 29.
All 32 NFL teams play on Sunday. 28 have something on the line. 5 teams are fighting just to make the playoffs. 10 have already clinched and are seeking to improve their playoff seeding. 13 others will impact the draft order with their Week 17 results. Only the Ravens, Vikings, Bills, and Bengals have absolutely nothing to play for on Sunday.
Of course, Week 17 is the last chance for players to hit season milestones. Some teams are in positions to get players their stats, others need to focus fully on winning.
I’m doing a classic NFL breakdown here. I’ll quickly explain what each potential playoff team has at stake in Week 17, what they need to root for, and which players are nearing milestones.
The following 3 playoff teams will not appear in my writeup as they have nothing to play for in Week 17:
- Ravens – clinched 1 seed in AFC
- Bills – clinched 5 seed in AFC
- Vikings – clinched 6 seed in NFC
I used FiveThirtyEight’s great NFL prediction tool to help with the calculations. That is where I got the “chance of playoff berth” percentage. All of my lines and spreads are directly from Bovada sportsbook and updated on Saturday evening.
NFL Teams With a Chance to Make Playoffs in Week 17
Week 17 Game: 4:25 pm – WAS @ DAL -12.5 (-110)
Chance of Playoff Berth: 25% (only path is winning NFC East). Would be the 4 seed in the NFC.
Clinching Scenario: It is quite simple. Dallas must win and Philly must lose.
Who to Root For: The Giants. Philly is on the road in Week 17 against the 4-11 Giants. Dallas desperately needs an upset.
Key Milestones: Dak Prescott is sitting at 4,599 passing yards on the season. If he can throw for at least 401 against Washington, he’ll have 5,000 on the year.
Week 17 Game: 4:25 pm – PHI -4 (-105) @ NYG
Chance of Playoff Berth: 75% (only path is winning NFC East). Would be the 4 seed in the NFC.
Clinching Scenario: Philly wins the East with a win, a tie, or a Cowboys loss or tie.
Who to Root For: The Redskins. If Washington rises up and beats Dallas, Philly does not have to win in the Meadowlands.
Key Milestones: TE Zach Ertz is 84 receiving yards shy of 1,000 on the season.
Week 17 Game: 4:25 pm – TEN -6 (-110) @ HOU
Chance of Playoff Berth: 56% (only path is Wild Card). Would be the 6 seed in the AFC.
Clinching Scenario: Tennessee clinches with a win. If Tennessee loses, the Steelers must also lose and the Colts must either lose or tie for tiebreaker purposes.
Who to Root For: Baltimore and Jacksonville. Pittsburgh plays the Ravens while the Colts finish the season in Jacksonville. If each of these teams take care of business, the Titans do not even need to win their game.
Key Milestones: A.J. Brown is 73 receiving yards shy of 1,000 on the season. Derrick Henry is 171 rush yards shy of 1,000 on the season.
Week 17 Game: 1:00 pm – PIT -1 (-115) @ BAL
Chance of Playoff Berth: 36% (only path is Wild Card). Would be the 6 seed in the AFC.
Clinching Scenario: Pittsburgh gets in with a win and a Titans loss or tie. If Pittsburgh loses, the Titans and Raiders must also lose and the Colts must win.
Who to Root For: Houston especially but also Denver and Indy. Houston needs to knock off Tennessee for Pittsburgh to even have a chance. If the Steelers cannot win their game, they will need Denver to beat Oakland and the Colts to beat Jacksonville.
Key Milestones: None
Week 17 Game: 4:25 pm – OAK +3.5 (-115) @ DEN
Chance of Playoff Berth: 8% (only path is Wild Card). Would be the 6 seed in the AFC.
Clinching Scenario: It’s a small miracle Oakland is still in the playoff hunt. Oakland needs to win to have a chance. The Colts must also win while the Steelers and Titans each lose. This would create a tie at 8-8. The tie would be broken by strength of victory. Wins by Chicago, Detroit, LAC, and New England would help the Raiders’ cause.
Who to Root For: Houston, Baltimore, and Indy mostly – but also Chicago, Detroit, LAC, and New England.
Key Milestones: None
NFL Teams Playing For Playoff Seeding in Week 17
San Francisco 49’ers
Week 17 Game: 8:20 pm – SF -3.5 (+105) @ SEA
Seeding Scenario: With a win or tie, the 49’ers clinch the 1 seed in the NFC. If San Fran loses, not only do they fall out of first-round bye contention but they will fall to the 5th seed as Seattle will win the NFC West.
Who to Root For: Themselves. Unless SF ties with SEA, no other game matters.
Key Milestones: TE George Kittle is 33 receiving yards shy of 1,000. Kittle appeared on the injury report earlier in the week but is now off the list and ready to play.
Green Bay Packers
Week 17 Game: 1:00 pm – GB -12.5 (-105) @ DET
Seeding Scenario: If Green Bay wins, they are guaranteed at least the 2 seed and a first-round bye. A Saints loss or a 49’ers loss would also guarantee a bye for Green Bay. If Green Bay wins and the 49’ers either lose or tie, the Packers will move into the 1 seed.
Who to Root For: Seattle and Carolina. If Seattle beats SF or Carolina beats NO, Green Bay is guaranteed a bye regardless of their result against Detroit.
Key Milestones: WR Davante Adams is 96 receiving yards shy of 1,000 on the year. RB Aaron Jones is just 1 touchdown shy of tying the Packers’ single-season record for touchdowns (20 by Ahman Green in 2003).
New Orleans Saints
Week 17 Game: 1:00 pm – NO -13 (-115) @ CAR
Seeding Scenario: The Saints need some help to earn a first-round bye. A win and a Packers loss or tie will do it. So will a win and a 49’ers loss or tie. If the Saints lose, they can still move up into the 2 seed with a 49’ers loss and a Packers win or tie. To get the 1 seed and home-field throughout the playoffs, the Saints must win and neither the Packers nor 49’ers can win.
Who to Root For: Seahawks and Lions. If these two teams rise up in Week 17, the Saints can earn the 1 seed.
Key Milestones: It would take a monster day, but WR Michael Thomas is 276 yards shy of Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record.
Week 17 Game: 8:20 pm – SF @ SEA +3.5 (-125)
Seeding Scenario: A win guarantees Seattle at least the 3-seed. A win and a Packers loss will guarantee Seattle the 2-seed. A win plus losses by Green Bay and New Orleans will give Seattle the 1 seed. If Seattle loses or ties, they will be the 5 seed.
Who to Root For: Detroit and Carolina. Seattle needs the help of these 2 teams if they are to earn home-field advantage.
Key Milestones: Russell Wilson is 1 pass touchdown shy of his third-straight 30 TD season.
New England Patriots
Week 17 Game: 1:00 pm – MIA @ NE -16.5 (-110)
Seeding Scenario: A win or tie will solidify the Pats at the 2 seed. A loss or tie by the Chiefs will do the same.
Who to Root For: Chargers. If the Chargers upset KC, the Pats clinch the 2 seed.
Key Milestones: None.
Kansas City Chiefs
Week 17 Game: 1:00 pm – LAC @ KC -9 (-110)
Seeding Scenario: KC can finish anywhere from 2 to 4 in the AFC. A win and Patriots loss will move the Chiefs up to 2nd – earning them a first-round bye. A loss and a Texans win will bump KC down to 4th – giving them an extremely tough road. They would host Buffalo in Wild Card Weekend and then most likely travel to Baltimore in the divisional round. A Texans loss guarantees KC finishes at least 3rd in the AFC.
Who to Root For: Tennessee and Miami. If Tennessee ties or win, KC will finish at least 3rd. If Miami pulls off the major upset, KC has a chance to earn a first-round bye.
Key Milestones: None
Week 17 Game: 4:25 pm TEN @ HOU +3.5 (-115)
Seeding Scenario: With a victory over Tennessee and a loss by Kansas City, Houston will move into the 3 seed in the AFC. Any other result will keep Houston at 4. Read the Chiefs’ section directly above to see why the 3 seed is infinitely more advantageous than the 4 in the AFC this season.
Who to Root For: Chargers. Houston needs Old Man Rivers’ help one last time before he rides off into the sunset … or Vegas.
Key Milestones: None
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Week 17 watching!
See you on top!