AFC Playoff Scenarios heading into 17th and Final Week of 2011 NFL Season

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches the action from the sidelines during the game against the St. Louis Rams at Heinz Field on December 24, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

We know 10 of the 12 teams that will be participating in the 2011 NFL Playoffs. Four of the six tickets in the AFC have been punched, though there's only a handful exact seeds that have been locked down regardless of what unfolds in Week 17. Here's who's in and the possible seeds each could still wind up as after next week's action.

AFC

Still Alive

* Cincinnati Bengals (No. 6)

* Denver Broncos (No. 4)

* Oakland Raiders (No. 4)

* New York Jets (No. 6)

* Tennessee Titans (No. 6)


AFC Playoff Scenarios

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) NE win or tie OR

2) BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North division and a first-round bye with:

1) BAL win OR

2) BAL tie + PIT loss or tie OR

3) PIT loss

Baltimore clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) BAL win + NE loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division and a first-round bye with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie OR

2) PIT tie + BAL loss

Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie + NE loss

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West division with:

1) DEN win OR

2) DEN tie + OAK loss or tie OR

3) OAK loss

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Oakland clinches AFC West division with:

1) OAK win + DEN loss or tie OR

2) OAK tie + DEN loss

Oakland clinches a playoff spot with:

1) OAK win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie OR

2) OAK win + CIN loss + NYJ win

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Cincinnati clinches a playoff spot with:

1) CIN win or tie OR

2) NYJ loss or tie + OAK loss or tie OR

3) NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

NEW YORK JETS

New York clinches a playoff spot with:

1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie OR

2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

TENNESSEE TITANS

Tennessee clinches a playoff spot with:

1) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + OAK loss or tie OR

2) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + DEN loss or tie OR

3) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ loss or tie + OAK win + DEN win

*************

We'll get to what I think is the most like scenario to unfold next Sunday, but with the Steelers and Ravens scheduled to play their respective finales at the same time, you have to assume both will be playing as if their season was on the line. Same goes for the Bengals, of course. Win and they're in.

In the NFC, only one playoff spot is still up for grabs -- the No. 4 seed, which will be the winner of the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants Week 17 matchup. There is some seeding still up in the air, most notably the No. 2 seed and accompanying first round bye. Both New Orleans and San Francisco have a shot at securing that prize. Detroit and Atlanta will be the two wild cards, though it's still to be determined which will be the higher of the two seeds.

More soon.

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