New York City (AP)– The NFL goes into the final week of the season with the Baltimore Ravens knowing exactly what lies ahead of them in the postseason.
Coach John Harbaugh can rest Lamar Jackson and any other Ravens (13 -2), who have actually currently clinched the AFC North together with home-field benefit throughout the AFC playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings (10 -5) also are locked in as the NFC’s 6th seed, while Buffalo (10 -5) is set as the AFC’s very first wild-card spot in the No. 5 seed.
However New England and Kansas City are fighting for the AFC’s other first-round bye. Houston wishes to enhance its seeding from 4th to 3rd, however only one AFC playoff berth remains up for grabs.
In the NFC, it’s a fight to the finish with both home-field advantage throughout and both first-round byes yet to be decided.
The Green Bay Packers, New Orleans, San Francisco 49 ers and Seattle Seahawks all have a possibility at a bye and home-field advantage under numerous playoff scenarios launched Tuesday by the NFL.
Green Bay (12 -3) and San Francisco (12 -3) need just win Sunday to clinch first-round byes with the 49 ers able to clinch home-field advantage throughout by winning in Seattle on Sunday night. Green Bay requires to beat Detroit combined with a 49 ers’ loss to make sure the Packers do not leave Lambeau Field till the Super Bowl.
New Orleans can rest in the first round if either Green Bay or San Francisco loses. The Saints (12 -3) need both the Packers and 49 ers to lose for home-field benefit throughout the NFC playoffs.
Seattle (11 -4) clinches the NFC West by beating San Francisco but also will require a Green Bay loss for a first-round bye. The Seahawks will require a success and losses by both Green Bay and New Orleans to stay in Seattle up until the Super Bowl.
Then there’s the NFC East with Philadelphia able to win the department with a triumph over the Giants and even at 8-8 if Dallas loses to Washington. The Cowboys (7-8) should beat the Redskins with an Eagles’ loss to win the East.
In the AFC, Kansas City (11 -4) must beat the Chargers with the Patriots losing to Miami to clinch a first-round bye.
The Titans (8-7) have the simplest path to the AFC’s last playoff spot requiring just to beat the Texans in Houston. A loss by Tennessee opens chances for both Pittsburgh and Oakland.
Pittsburgh (8-7) should win at Baltimore with the Titans losing to get the AFC’s second wild-card berth.
Oakland (7-8) has the slimmest of opportunities after having five results fall the Raiders’ way last week. Now the Raiders need to win at Denver with losses by Pittsburgh and Tennessee and a win by Indianapolis.
That would develop a four-way tie in between Oakland, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Indianapolis chosen by the strength of success tiebreaker between the Raiders and Steelers, which Oakland would win if any of New England, Chicago, Detroit or the Chargers win their video games earlier in the day.