Only 16 weeks were required to decide all six playoff teams in the NFC.
The Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks have all clinched postseason berths ahead of Week 17. While the early completion of the playoff field has removed most of the drama from the final week, not everything has been decided.
Here’s how Week 17 will help finalize the current postseason picture in the NFC:
1. Carolina Panthers (14-1)
The Panthers will clinch the No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or a Arizona loss to Seattle. Carolina has already locked in a first-round bye.
2. Arizona Cardinals (13-2)
The Cardinals can jump the Panthers and secure the No. 1 seed with a win over the Seahawks and a Panthers loss to the Buccaneers. Arizona would win the tiebreaker over Carolina based on conference record. Either way, the Cardinals will have a first-round bye.
3. Green Bay Packers (10-5)
The Packers can win the NFC North and lock down the No. 3 seed with a win over the Vikings. A tie with Minnesota will also give Green Bay both rewards. Think the Packers and Vikings could never tie? Well, the two rivals actually finished in a 26-26 tie at Lambeau Field back in 2013.
4. Washington Redskins (8-7)
The Redskins are locked into the No. 4 seed. As NFC East champions, Washington will host the No. 5 seed.
5. Minnesota Vikings (10-5)
The Vikings can win the NFC North and swap with the Packers for the No. 3 seed with a win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Winning the division and securing the third seed would guarantee Minnesota hosts the Seahawks in the Wild Card Round.
6. Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
Seattle can jump to the No. 5 seed with a win over the Cardinals and a Packers win over the Vikings. If Minnesota wins, the Seahawks are guaranteed to play the Vikings.
Potential NFC Wild Card Matchups
If Packers and Cardinals win: Seattle at Green Bay, Minnesota at Washington
If Packers and Seahawks win: Minnesota at Green Bay, Seattle at Washington
If Vikings and Cardinals win: Seattle at Minnesota, Green Bay at Washington
If Vikings and Seahawks win: Seattle at Minnesota, Green Bay at Washington