Instead of the standard rankings this week with a small recap of each team, instead I will review what each team has to play for heading into the decisive Week 17.
1. Baltimore Ravens (13-2; Won 31-15 vs CLE) (-)
The Ravens have the top seed in the AFC locked up and have already confirmed that many key players will be sitting out this week’s game against the Steelers. They can keep their arch-rivals out of the playoffs with a win, though.
2. New Orleans Saints (12-3; Won 38-28 vs TEN) (-)
The Saints could end the week as the top seed in the NFC North. If the 49ers lose, then either a Saints win or a Packers loss would mean the playoffs will run through New Orleans. If the 49ers end up taking the top seed, then a Saints win or Packers loss will clinch them a first-round bye.
3. San Francisco 49ers (12-3; Won 34-31 vs LAR) (+2)
It is all on the line for the 49ers this week. A win means that the NFC playoffs will run through San Francisco as they will clinch the top seed. A loss will see them lose the division to the Seahawks, and they will most likely have to travel to Philadelphia for a Wild Card round playoff game.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4; Won 26-3 vs CHI) (-1)
5. Green Bay Packers (12-3; Won 23-10 vs MIN) (+1)
The Green Bay Packers—who if you may recall from the comments on my NFL preview are a garbage team who will not win anything this year, finish last in the division, and I deserve to be fired for even considering them a good team and naming them favorites in the division and among the league’s best teams—have won the NFC North, and will take the top seed in the NFC with a win and a 49ers loss. A win clinches a first-round bye, no matter what happens in other games.
6. New England Patriots (12-3; Won 24-17 vs BUF) (+1)
New England locked up the AFC East this week, but still need a win against the Dolphins or a loss by the Chiefs to clinch a first-round bye.
7. Seattle Seahawks (11-4; Lost 27-13 vs ARI) (-3)
The Seahawks could end up with the top seed in the NFC this week if they beat the 49ers—winning the division in the process—and with losses to both the Packers and Saints. In this scenario, if the Packers lose but the Saints win, they will end up in the second seed. They will sit in the third seed if all three teams win. A loss to the 49ers will relegate them to the fifth seed and they would most likely head to Philadelphia for Wild Card weekend.
8. Buffalo Bills (10-5; Lost 24-17 vs NE) (+1)
The Bills are locked into the fifth seed in the AFC. They may rest some key players as their result truly does not matter. Buffalo may meet either Houston or Kansas City in the Wild Card round.
9. Houston Texans (10-5; Won 23-20 vs TB) (+1)
The Texans have already locked up the AFC South, but can hop from the fourth seed to the third in the AFC with a win against the Titans and a Chiefs loss.
10. Minnesota Vikings (10-5; Lost 23-10 vs GB) (-2)
Minnesota’s loss to the Packers takes them out of the race for the NFC North. They are locked into the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs and will probably rest starters against the Bears this week.
11. Tennessee Titans (8-7; Lost 38-28 vs NO) (+1)
12. Los Angeles Rams (8-7; Lost 34-31 vs SF) (+1)
The Rams were eliminated from the playoffs this week, but can still clinch a winning season with a Week 17 win.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7; Won 17-9 vs DAL) (+4)
Philadelphia’s win over the Cowboys this week put them on the brink of clinching the NFC East and will only need to beat the Giants in a winnable game to lock up the division and host a Wild Card game.
14. Dallas Cowboys (7-8; Lost 17-9 vs NYG) (-3)
The Cowboys loss this week puts their playoff hopes on life support. They will need a win and an Eagles loss to win the NFC East and make the playoffs.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7; Lost 16-10 vs NYJ) (-)
Pittsburgh suffered a tragic loss this week that could kill their playoff hopes. While they should beat a Ravens team that will bench their starters in Week 17, they will also need a Titans loss in order to qualify for the AFC playoffs.
16. Chicago Bears (7-8; Lost 26-3 vs KC) (-2)
Chicago’s season is all but over, but a win this week will avoid a losing season. It also may be Mitch Trubisky’s last chance to convince the team not to make a move at quarterback this offseason.
17. Indianapolis Colts (7-8; Won 38-6 vs CAR) (+1)
Indianapolis has already been eliminated from the playoffs, but they could play spoiler for the Titans if they beat the Jaguars and a bunch of other results go the right way. A win this week also gets them to .500 this year and avoids a losing season.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8; Lost 23-20 vs HOU) (-2)
The Bucs have already been eliminated from the playoffs and are far enough away from the top five in the draft that this week’s result actually does not matter. A win will make sure they avoid a losing season, though.
19. Atlanta Falcons (6-9; Won 24-12 vs JAX) (-)
The Falcons have nothing left to play for, but can avoid finishing dead last in the AFC South with a win over the Bucs this week.
20. Oakland Raiders (7-8; Won 24-17 vs LAC) (+3)
The Raiders can still sneak in the playoffs with a win over the Broncos and losses by the Steelers, Titans and Jaguars. It is a long shot, but it is still very doable.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10; Lost 24-12 vs ATL) (-1)
The Jaguars season is dead, but they can get rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew some valuable playing time this week.
22. Cleveland Browns (6-9; Lost 31-15 vs BAL) (-)
Cleveland was eliminated from the playoffs with last week's loss. A win this week against the Bengals this week will help avoid an embarrassing end to an embarrassing season.
23. Arizona Cardinals (5-9-1; Won 27-13 vs SEA) (+1)
Arizona will most likely just try to escape Week 17 healthy, as they lost Kyler Murray to injury last week.
24. Carolina Panthers (5-10; Lost 38-6 vs IND) (-3)
Carolina’s season is over, but they could get rookie quarterback Will Grier some valuable playing time this week and see what they have with him for the future.
25. New York Jets (6-9; Won 16-10 vs PIT) (+2)
The Jets really have nothing to play for this week, neither do the Bills. Expect a snoozer.
26. Denver Broncos (6-9; Won 27-17 vs DET) (-1)
While the game this week cannot change too much, it does get some more valuable playing time for potential franchise quarterback Drew Lock.
27. Los Angeles Chargers (5-10; Lost 24-17 vs OAK) (-1)
This week could potentially be the final game of veteran quarterback Philip Rivers’ career, and a win over the Chiefs this week could be a perfect way for him to cap off a long career.
28. Miami Dolphins (4-11; Won 38-35 vs CIN) (+2)
Miami’s season has been dead from Week 1, but another loss this week could help their draft positioning in 2020.
29. Detroit Lions (3-11-1; Lost 27-17 vs DEN) (-1)
Detroit can steal the second overall pick if they lose to the Packers and Washington wins against the Cowboys.
30. New York Giants (4-11; Won 41-35 vs WAS) (-1)
New York’s win against Washington this year makes them long shots in the race for second overall pick, but a loss to the Eagles this week is necessary for them to even have a chance to land Chase Young.
31. Washington (3-12; Lost 41-35 vs NYG) (-)
Washington is currently in pole position in the race for Chase Young, and a loss this week to the Cowboys will clinch them the second pick.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-14; Lost 38-35 vs MIA) (-)
Cincinnati’s valiant comeback effort last week came up short as they fell in overtime and clinched the top seed in the draft. Quarterback Andy Dalton will get his curtain call this week in his potential final start for the Bengals.