The end of Week 17 in the NFL closed out the remaining playoff spots, and the first round byes and the first round pairing is now set. Here is the overall picture and how each team earned their playoff berth.
AFC playoff picture
Top Seed – New England clinched the home field advantage throughout the playoffs by beating the Jets 26 – 6.
2nd Seed – The Steelers earned a first round bye in handing Cleveland their 16th consecutive loss of the season, 28 – 24.
When the Patriots overcame the Steelers in Week 15 to win, the tiebreaker advantage (head to head record) went to New England, so should the two meet in the AFC Championship game it will be played in New England.
3rd Seed – Jacksonville grabbed the 3rd spot having already won the AFC South division in Week 15 by trouncing the Texans 45 – 3 and the Titans losing 25 – 23 to the 49ers.
4th Seed – Kansas City won the AFC West two weeks ago with a 30-13 defeat of rival San Diego and the Raiders losing to the Cowboys in Week 15.
5th Seed – The Tennessee Titans earned one of the two remaining AFC playoff spots by rolling over rival Jacksonville in Week 17, 15 – 10. All they had to do to secure a playoff spot was to win because they had the better conference record between Buffalo, Baltimore, and the Chargers.
6th Seed – The Buffalo Bills make their first playoff appearance since 1999. They needed some help from Cincinnati who faced the Ravens. If the Ravens win, they were in. But the Bengals thumped Baltimore in the last minute, winning 31 – 27. Combined with Buffalo’s 22 – 16 victory over Miami, they move in based on the tiebreaker of common opponent.
NFC playoff picture
Top Seed – The Philadelphia Eagles secured the top seed and the NFC East when defeating the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Day, 19 – 10.
2nd Seed – Minnesota was challenging for the Top Seed but locked up the second spot and a first round bye by winning its last 3 games. They lost on the head-to-head tiebreaker for the Top Seed by losing to the Panthers in Week 14.
3rd Seed – The Los Angeles Rams locked up the 3rd Seed by drubbing rival Seattle two weeks ago to win the NFC West.
4th Seed – With its Week 16 win over the Falcons, New Orleans locked up the NFC South over Carolina with a better conference record.
5th Seed – Carolina lost the division on tiebreakers with New Orleans, and though they had a tiebreaker advantage over the Rams, the fact that the Rams won their division pushed the Panthers into the 5 Seed.
6th Seed – The Atlanta Falcons edged into the playoffs with a 22 – 10 Week 17 victory over Carolina. Their playoff situation was the simplest of all the wild card teams – win and they’re in, having a one game advantage over the Detroit Lions.
If you’re looking for Super Bowl experience, there’s plenty of that, too. The playoffs will feature a total of four quarterbacks — Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees — who have won at least one Super Bowl. Combined with Newton and Ryan, that means nearly half the teams in the playoffs will have a starting quarterback with Super Bowl experience.
Take a look at the NFL postseason schedule which you are looking for.
AFC Divisional: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC Divisional: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings
Saturday, Jan. 6
Saturday, January 6
AFC: (5) Tennessee (9-7) at (4) Kansas City (10-6), 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
NFC: (6) Atlanta (10-6) at (3) Los Angeles Rams (11-5), 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)
Sunday, January 7
AFC: (6) Buffalo (9-7) at (3) Jacksonville (10-6), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC: (5) Carolina (11-5) at (4) New Orleans (11-5), 4:40 p.m. ET (FOX)
Saturday, January 13
NFC: Falcons/Panthers/Saints at (1) Philadelphia (13-3), 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
AFC: Bills/Titans/Chiefs at (1) New England (13-3), 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)
Sunday, January 14
AFC: Titans/Chiefs/Jaguars at (2) Pittsburgh (13-3), 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC: Panthers/Saints/Rams at (2) Minnesota (13-3), 4:40 p.m. ET (FOX)
AFC Championship, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC Championship, 6:40 p.m. ET (FOX)
Super Bowl 2018 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion at U.S. Bank Stadium, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC)