The final Sunday of regular season NFL football is upon us and some things we know about the playoffs. Other scenarios are up in the air? And for the Jaguars, Dolphins and Buccaneers, all of their games have playoff relevance for them and/or their opponent.
So here’s some of most pertinent info headed to what should be a wild afternoon and evening with the understanding we’re not going into every tiebreaker possibility, just the likely ones:
The Jaguars have not only clinched the AFC South and a home game next weekend, but they are also locked into the AFC #3 seed, because even if they end tied with Kansas City, they have a better AFC record. So, the Chiefs will be #4 as AFC West champs, and play the #5 Wildcard.
That wildcard is likely the Ravens, because they only have to beat the Bengals at home to be 10-6 and clinch. They also will clinch a playoff spot if either the Titans or Bills lose their game. Seeding in a tie for Baltimore would still be a tiebreaker for Sunday night.
Who will be the likely #6 seed in the AFC? Well, as we have laid out, if Tennessee wins, they are in the playoffs and likely playing the Jags, because they need no other help. And barring a three or four way tiebreaker with the Ravens, Chargers and Bills improving them to #5, the Titans are most likely in, as the sixth seed re-matching the Jaguars next weekend.
As for the Bills, they are in Miami and the Dolphins can eliminate them with a win. Still Buffalo also more help. They would need the Ravens to lose with their win to get in. The Bills also get in with a win and both a Titans and a Chargers (playing Oakland at home) loss. They have a tough situation. They are on the road trying to win and need other losses. The Dolphins would like nothing better than to pay Buffalo back for a Week 15 loss. We’ll see.
Again, if the Jaguars beat Tennessee, they are likely playing the Chargers, but maybe the Bills in Jacksonville next weekend.
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As for the Buccaneers, they host the Saints, who are already in the NFC Playoffs, but have not clinched the NFC South, yet. New Orleans does that with a win Sunday and they will host a playoff game next weekend. The Saints will also be scoreboard watching, because if the Panthers lose in Atlanta, it gives New Orleans the division and the wildcard home game.
Now, Tampa Bay can do the Panthers a huge favor by winning over the Saints. Then, a Panthers win in Atlanta not only potentially knocks the Falcons out of the playoffs, but Carolina will win the division, themselves and get the home game next weekend in Charlotte.
Interestingly, the Panthers and the Saints could be playing each other, or if Atlanta wins the game Sunday, they are in the playoffs, and they could be playing the Saints for a third time in five weeks in the NFC Wildcard game next weekend.
There are still NFC seeding tiebreakers to sort out with the Saints, the West champion Rams, or maybe the Panthers if they win the division. Again, it will play out late on Sunday all over the NFL.
There is no question it will be wild and you will next extra screens and maybe, eyeballs, to keep track of it all. And, all three Florida NFL teams are involved in the middle of it.
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