Week 17 NFL Preview

IT’S ALL ON THE LINE IN FINAL WEEKEND OF REGULAR SEASON

It’s the final push for NFL teams as the regular season ends on Sunday, December 30. All 16 games are division contests. And with one week to go, there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

In the AFC, all six postseason spots have been clinched. But teams are still battling for playoff position. The four division winners are the Houston Texans (AFC South), Denver Broncos (AFC West), New England Patriots (AFC East) and Baltimore Ravens (AFC North). The Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals have locked up the Wild Card berths.

Houston and Denver are tied for the best record in the AFC at 12-3 with the Texans holding the edge based on the team’s head-to-head victory over the Broncos in Week 3. Houston will clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or losses by Denver and New England. The Broncos will seize the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a win and a Texans loss. And the 11-4 New England Patriots will capture the top seed in the conference with a win and losses by both Houston and Denver. Those three teams are also battling for a first-round bye with Houston and Denver in control.

In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons have won the NFC South and clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

“We wanted to make the playoffs and then try to play our games at home,” says Falcons quarterback MATT RYAN. “To accomplish that is perfect.”

The Green Bay Packers are the NFC North division champions and are in control for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The Packers will lock up the No. 2 seed with a win or losses by San Francisco and Seattle.

The NFC West will come down to the San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) and Seattle Seahawks (10-5). Both teams have clinched at least a playoff berth. With a win or a Seattle loss, the 49ers will win the division. Seattle will clinch the NFC West with a win and a San Francisco loss. The NFC West winner will clinch a first-round bye with a victory and a Green Bay loss.

The NFC East division title will be on the line in Week 17 when the Washington Redskins (9-6) host the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) on Sunday night (NBC, 8:20 PM ET). The winner claims the NFC East.

“It’s amazing how you play every week and you don’t think about what’s ahead but your opponent,” says Cowboys quarterback TONY ROMO. “But, in a lot of ways, the only reason you play is to get your team into that position and to get in the playoffs so you have a chance. When you get in, anything can happen.”

In the running for the final Wild Card spot are the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Redskins. The Vikings are in control and can qualify for the postseason with a victory.

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