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All on the Line in Final Weekend of Regular Season

It's the final push for NFL teams as the regular season ends on Sunday, December 29. All 16 games are division contests. And with one week to go, there are still 18 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII, the most since 2008 (18).

Entering Week 17, 13 of the 16 games may have playoff implications.

In the AFC, all four division winners have been determined: Denver (AFC West, first-round bye), New England (AFC East), Cincinnati (AFC North) and Indianapolis (AFC South). Kansas City (11-4) has locked up one of the two Wild Card berths leaving four teams left to battle for the final remaining playoff spot: Miami (8-7), Baltimore (8-7), San Diego (8-7) and Pittsburgh (7-8).

Denver (12-3) can secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or a New England loss. The Patriots (11-4), who can earn the No. 1 seed with a win and a Denver loss, can clinch a first-round bye with a win or losses by both Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The Bengals (10-5) can secure a bye with a win and a New England loss while the Colts (10-5) will need a win combined with losses by both New England and Cincinnati to earn the bye.

For the final Wild Card spot, none of the four remaining teams have a simple win-and-in scenario to get into the playoffs.

Each of the four teams will need help to qualify for the postseason.

In the NFC, none of the four division winners have been determined.

Three teams have clinched at least a playoff spot: Seattle, Carolina and San Francisco.

Two divisions -- NFC East (Philadelphia at Dallas) and NFC North (Green Bay at Chicago) -- will be determined by "win-and-you're-in" games. New Orleans is still in play for both the division title and a Wild Card spot while Arizona remains in the hunt for a playoff berth.

Seattle (12-3) can clinch the NFC West, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win or a San Francisco loss. The 49ers (11-4) can claim the division title and a first-round bye with a win and a Seattle loss. If Carolina also loses in that scenario, the San Francisco 49ers earn the No. 1 seed. The Panthers (11-4) can secure the NFC South and a first-round bye with a win or a New Orleans loss. A Carolina win paired with a Seattle loss and a San Francisco win will give the Panthers the No. 1 seed in the NFC. New Orleans (10-5) can win the NFC South and earn a first-round bye with a win and a Carolina loss. The Saints can also secure a playoff berth with a win or an Arizona loss. The Cardinals (10-5) will enter the postseason if they win and New Orleans loses.

The NFC North division title will be on the line in Week 17 when the Chicago Bears (8-7) host the Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) on Sunday afternoon (FOX, 4:25 PM ET). The winner clinches the division and the loser is eliminated. On Sunday night (NBC, 8:30 PM ET), the Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) visit the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) with the NFC East division crown at stake. The winner claims the division while the loser is eliminated.

Here's this week's key games with playoff implications:

Carolina Panthers (11-4) at Atlanta Falcons (4-11)

(Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)

The Panthers clinched a playoff berth with last week's 17-13 come-from-behind victory over the division rival New Orleans Saints.

Entering Week 17, Carolina is in control for the division crown. The Panthers can claim the NFC South and a first-round bye with a win or a loss by the Saints.

Carolina can also secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win combined with a Seattle loss and a San Francisco win.

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-5)

(Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)

The Bengals have won the AFC North and are already in the postseason.

The Ravens are looking for a chance to defend their Super Bowl championship by earning a Wild Card spot.

Baltimore is in with a win and a loss by either San Diego or Miami. The Ravens can also clinch a playoff berth with losses by Miami, San Diego and Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati is playing for a chance to earn a first-round bye, which it will get with a win combined with a New England loss.

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

(Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)

The Colts have won the AFC South and can still earn a first-round bye with a win and losses by both New England and Cincinnati.

New York Jets (7-8) at Miami Dolphins (8-7)

(Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)

The Dolphins are fighting for the AFC's final playoff spot.

Miami can qualify for the postseason with a win and a Baltimore loss or with a win and a San Diego win.

Cleveland Browns (4-11) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

(Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)

The Steelers, who defeated the Green Bay Packers 38-31 last week, can clinch a playoff berth with a win combined with losses by Miami, Baltimore and San Diego.

San Francisco 49Ers (11-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

(Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)

The 49ers, who clinched a playoff berth with last week's win over Atlanta, can win the NFC West with a win and a Seattle loss. If Carolina also loses in that scenario, San Francisco will earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

The Cardinals stayed alive in the postseason chase with last week's 17-10 victory at Seattle. Arizona, which has won seven of its past eight games, can secure a Wild Card berth with a win and a New Orleans loss.

Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) at Chicago Bears (8-7)

(Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)

Win and you're in.

The NFC North is at stake when the Packers visit the Bears.

The winner will take home the division crown and advance to the postseason. The loser will be eliminated.

[ Check Out Healing Aaron Rodgers to Play for Packers in Bears Showdown ]

Buffalo Bills (6-9) at New England Patriots (11-4)

(Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

The Patriots clinched the AFC East last week and can secure a first-round bye with a win or losses by both Cincinnati and Indianapolis. With a New England win and a Denver loss, the Patriots will earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) at New Orleans Saints (10-5)

(Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)

The Saints earn a playoff berth with a win or an Arizona loss.

With a win and a Carolina loss, New Orleans will win the NFC South and secure a first-round bye.

Denver Broncos (12-3) at Oakland Raiders (4-11)

(Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

Denver has already clinched the AFC West and a first-round bye.

With a win or a New England loss, the Broncos will lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC and secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) at San Diego Chargers (8-7)

(Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

The Chiefs have secured a Wild Card spot and are locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC.

The Chargers, who have won three in a row, will join Kansas City in the postseason with a win combined with losses by both Miami and Baltimore.

St. Louis Rams (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (12-3)

(Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)

Seattle has the NFC's best record at 12-3 and can clinch the NFC West, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win or a San Francisco loss.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-7)

(Sunday, NBC, 8:30 PM ET)

The final game of the 2013 regular season is a "win-and-you're-in" game.

The Eagles visit the Cowboys with the NFC East division title on the line. The winner advances to the postseason while the loser's season comes to an end.

"The playoffs just start a week early for both teams," says Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly. "If you win, you get an opportunity to keep playing. If you lose, you're going home. This is really just the first week of the playoffs."

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Article: Copyright © 2013, iHaveNet.com

"All on the Line in Final Weekend of Regular Season "

 

 

 

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