As we enter Week 17 of the NFL season, there are currently just six teams that have clinched a playoff berth with eight more spots to fill.
With just two weeks left, there are 24 teams still in contention to make a run at the Super Bowl. That is the most over the last 15 years and tied for 3rd-most ever. In that count, there are seven teams that missed the postseason last year that are currently sitting in a playoff spot. Those teams are the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers. Currently, two teams are in first place in their division after not winning their division last year (Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Tampa Bay clinched their first division title since 2007. With a win in Week 17, the Bengals can clinch the AFC North title after finishing last in 2020. Again, the playoffs have never been so wide-open before.
Key Week 17 Matchups
There are several key matchups with playoff implications on the line this week. Wins for any of these teams could mean big things such as clinching home-field advantage, winning their division, or fighting to get a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.
Battle Between Division Leaders
The Kansas City Chiefs will travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in this week’s only matchup between divisional leaders. If the Chiefs pull out the win on the road and the Tennessee Titans lose, the Chiefs would clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. On the flip side, if the Bengals win a big game at home, they will win their division for the first time since 2015 after finishing last in 2020. The writing is on the wall for the Bengals, now it’s time to get it done.