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Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 17

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With wins in Week 16, the Cowboys and Eagles face off in the season finale with the NFC East at stake.

In the NFC North, the Lions were eliminated from playoff contention after a loss in overtime to the Giants. Talk about a late-season collapse. Green Bay and Chicago both lost, setting up a showdown between the two teams that will determine the division champ.

Carolina scored late and then held on to beat New Orleans, putting them in the driver's seat to win the division and earn a first-round bye. The Saints will have to settle for the sixth seed, a big blow to their Super Bowl hopes.

Seattle was stunned at home by Arizona, meaning they will have to play out Week 17 to secure the top seed in the NFC. San Francisco is still alive in the division race thanks to Seattle's loss and a win over Atlanta but will most likely settle in as the No. 5 seed.


The Patriots bounced back to beat the Ravens. Having already secured the division with Miami's loss earlier in the day, the Patriots have the inside track to the No. 2 seed. The Dolphins ugly loss could have sealed their fate, but Baltimore's loss keeps them alive. They need to win next week and have the Ravens lose or the Chargers win to make the playoffs.

Cincinnati locked up the AFC North thanks to a win and a Ravens loss. They are still alive for the No. 2 seed, but will likely be playing in the first round of the playoffs. The Ravens loss hurt a lot. They have to beat the Bengals on the road and hope Miami or San Diego loses to get into the playoffs. The Steelers, somehow, are also still alive. They need a win and losses by the Ravens, Dolphins and Chargers.

The Indianapolis Colts pulled out a surprising win at Kansas City, which keeps them in the mix for a first round bye, though that's rather unlikely.

The Broncos clinched the AFC West and are very likely the top seed after their win over Houston. The Chiefs loss means they are locked into the No. 5 seed. The Chargers are still alive but need to win next week and need both Baltimore and Miami to win or to lose for tiebreaker reasons.



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