As we head into Week 17, the AFC Playoff Picture is starting to shape up nicely. There are only 2 teams that are locked into their respective seeds, as the rest is completely up for grabs. Let’s look ahead to the games this Sunday and see what the AFC Playoff Picture is going to be.


With both the Ravens and the Bills locked into the #1 and the #5 seed respectively, they can rest easy this Sunday. They have nothing to gain by playing their studs and everything to lose if they get hurt prior to the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens

Seed Posillibilites: #1

Week 17 Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

Incentives: None. The Ravens are locked into the top spot in the AFC.

The Ravens have already ruled out some of their starters and I suspect even more will be announced prior to Sunday.

New England Patriots

Seed Possibilities: #2, #3

Week 17 Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Incentives: The Patriots can secure the #2 seed with a victory on Sunday or a Chiefs loss (vs. LAC). With a loss, they fall to the #3 seed in the Playoff Picture. All that stands between them and a 1st-round bye-week is the Dolphins.

Wanting to secure some home-field advantage until a potential meeting with the Ravens should be the Pats top priority.

Kansas City Chiefs

Seed Possibilities: #2, #3, #4

Week 17 Opponent: Los Angeles Chargers

Incentives: In order to get the #2 seed, the Chiefs need a victory on Sunday AND the Patriots to lose (vs. MIA). If both them and the Patriots win, they will earn the #3 seed due to the Patriots holding a tiebreaker over the Chiefs. Worst case scenario, the Chiefs could fall to the #4 seed with a loss and a Texans victory (vs. TEN).

The Chiefs should be able to get a victory against a struggling Chargers squad and avoid a disappointing #4 seed. By playing at the same time as the Patriots, there won’t be any scoreboard watching… at least intentionally.

Houston Texans

Seed Possibilities: #3, #4

Week 17 Opponent: Tennessee Titans

Incentives: The #3 seed belongs to the Texans with a victory on Sunday and a Chiefs loss (vs. LAC). Regardless of a victory, the Texans will be locked into the #4 seed if the Chiefs win on Sunday.

Since the Texans game kicks off at 4:25 PM EST, they’ll know their fate (potentially) before the opening coin toss. We can guarantee the Texans players will be watching the Chiefs game on the jumbotron during warmups. Also, J.J. Watt is a freak athlete.

Buffalo Bills

Seed Possibilities: #5

Week 17 Opponent: New York Jets

Incentives: None. The Bills are locked into the #5 seed and can rest their starters this week if they so choose.

The Bills should start to prep for a Playoff meeting with the Patriots/Chiefs/Texans.

Tennessee Titans

Seed Possibilities: #6, Outside Looking In

Week 17 Opponent: Houston Texans

Incentives: A win and the Titans are in. A loss and a Steelers loss means the Titans are in, potentially. If the Raiders and Colts win on Sunday, paired with the aforementioned losses, the Titans would be eliminated from contention as the Raiders would get the #6 seed.

The Titans control their destiny but the Texans have a lot on the line in this game as well. Think of this game as a pseudo NFL Playoff game.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Seed Possibilities: Outside Looking In, #6

Week 17 Opponent: Baltimore Ravens

Incentives: A Steelers victory over the Ravens needs to be paired with a Texans victory over the Titans in order for the Steelers to make the NFL Playoffs.

Despite being riddled with injuries, the Steelers have an outside shot of the Playoffs thanks to the Ravens resting their starters.

Oakland Raiders

Seed Possibilities: Outside Looking In, #6

Week 17 Opponent: Denver Broncos

Incentives: Okay try to follow along with this one because it’s pretty wild. The Raiders need to win, first and foremost. They also need the Steelers to lose to the Ravens and the Titans to lose to the Texans. Lastly, the Raiders need the Colts to beat the Jaguars in order to make the NFL Playoffs.

So, to recap:

  • Raiders win
  • Steelers lose
  • Titans lose
  • Colts win

If ALL of these things happen then the Raiders would sneak into the #6 seed in the NFL Playoffs.


Who do you think makes the NFL Playoffs in the AFC? Will the Raiders make the Playoffs somehow? Let me know in the comments below! Also, check out the shop and other content by clicking here. Oh, and there’s also a giveaway going on.

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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