Eight teams vying for the three remaining NFL playoff spots
The GIST: While the league continues to process Monday’s terrifying events, squads are preparing for this weekend’s regular season finale slate, which will feature eight teams vying for the three remaining playoff spots.
- One squad that’s definitely raring to go? The Bills. When asked if he feels they’re ready to play football, Buffalo quarterback (QB) Josh Allen said, “I do…That’s what [Damar] wants, that’s what his dad wants.” Onward.
The setup: Quick refresher: Fourteen (seven from the AFC, seven from the NFC) of the league’s 32 teams make the playoffs. Although eleven have already clinched a spot, they’ll still be competing this weekend for all-important seeding. The No. 1 seed in each conference earns a first-round bye, and higher seeds nab crucial home-field advantage.
Where it gets complicated: There’s an obvious elephant in the room: the unfinished Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game, which had major playoff implications. The NFL officially canceled it last night, but is still considering various scenarios for how to handle the seeding impact, with owners set to meet today to discuss.
- Also complicated? Those aforementioned seeding possibilities. Channel your inner Charlie Day and untangle the web here before we detail the teams still trying to punch their postseason tickets.
AFC: Five squads are in the hunt for the two remaining AFC berths. Up first, the suddenly surging Jacksonville Jaguars face the no-longer-so-mighty Tennessee Titans tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. ET. Winner nabs the AFC South crown and with it a postseason berth. The Jags still have a chance to advance with a loss, but the Titans will be eliminated with an L.
- Elsewhere, the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers all have a shot, but the Pats have the easiest route. Head coach Bill Belichick’s squad clinches with a win against the Bills on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Simple as that.
NFC: The league is truly saving the best for last in the NFC, where three squads are playing musical chairs for the lone spot up for grabs. It all rides on the 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday Night Football showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.
- If the Packers win, they’re in. If the Lions win and the Seattle Seahawks lose to the LA Rams on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, Detroit is through. And just because things weren’t messy enough, if Seattle wins and the Packers lose, the Seahawks grab the final berth.
- TL;DR? It’s going to be an epic season finale weekend. Buckle up.