Everything you need to know about Week 17 playoff scenarios
The NFL concludes its 101st regular season on Sunday and for the 11th consecutive year, all games on the season-ending docket are division contests. Playoff ramifications are aplenty.
In 2020, the NFL expanded the playoffs by two teams, adding one Wild Card berth to each conference. The change has only added to the excitement.
Seven playoff berths are still to be claimed. That's the most available playoff berths entering the season's final weekend in 31 years, since there also were seven in 1989.
A total of 18 teams – more than half of the league – remain in contention for Super Bowl LV in Tampa. The NFL hasn't had more than 18 teams in contention entering the final week since there were 20 in 2006.
The Giants remain alive in the chase for the NFC East crown. The winner of Sunday's Giants-Cowboys matchup at MetLife Stadium will have a chance at the division title depending on the outcome of Sunday night's game between Philadelphia and Washington at Lincoln Financial Field. If Washington wins, they take the division. But if Philadelphia comes out on top, then the winner of the Giants-Cowboys game will represent the NFC East as the No. 4 seed in the playoffs and get a home game during the Wild Card Round. If the Giants were to win the division, it would be the team's first playoff berth since 2016 and first division crown since 2011.
In the NFC, six teams are fighting for three playoff berths, while three other teams will battle for the No. 1 seed and the conference's only first-round bye.
What's at stake in the NFC:
* When the Arizona Cardinals (8-7) travel to meet the Los Angeles Rams (9-6) on Sunday, the winning team will be rewarded with a Wild Card berth. The Cardinals must win to get into the playoffs, but if the Rams lose, they would still clinch a postseason berth with a loss by the Bears.
* The Chicago Bears (8-7) can return to the playoffs with a home win over Green Bay (12-3) on Sunday. If the Bears lose, they would still clinch a postseason berth with a loss by the Cardinals.
* The Washington Football Team (6-9) needs a win at Philadelphia (4-10-1) on Sunday Night Football to clinch its first playoff berth and division title since 2015. If Washington loses, the winner of the Giants-Cowboys matchup secures the division crown.
Three teams in the NFC – the Green Bay Packers (12-3), New Orleans Saints (11-4) and Seattle Seahawks (11-4) – can nail down the No. 1 seed as the conference's only first-round bye this weekend. Green Bay has the inside track at the coveted position, needing only a win at Chicago (8-7) on Sunday.
In the AFC, five teams are vying for the conference's final four playoff berths.
What's at stake in the AFC:
* The Baltimore Ravens (10-5) with a win at Cincinnati (4-10-1) on Sunday will nail down their third consecutive trip to the playoffs. If the Ravens lose, they would still clinch a postseason berth with a loss by the Browns or Colts.
* The Cleveland Browns (10-5) with a home victory over Pittsburgh (12-3) on Sunday will have their first playoff berth since 2002. If the Browns lose, they would still clinch a postseason berth with either a loss by the Colts or the following combination: Titans lose and Ravens, Colts, and Dolphins win.
* The Miami Dolphins (10-5) with a win at Buffalo (12-3) on Sunday will clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2016. If the Dolphins lose, they would still clinch a postseason berth with a loss by the Ravens, Browns or Colts.
* The Tennessee Titans (10-5) with a win at Houston (4-11) on Sunday will cement their first division title since 2008. If the Titans lose, they would still clinch a postseason berth with a loss by the Ravens, Colts or Dolphins.
Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts (10-5), who host Jacksonville (1-14) on Sunday, can still win their division with a win and a Titans loss or tie, which would lock up their first AFC South title since 2014. They also can make the playoffs as a Wild Card team with a win and a loss or tie by either Baltimore, Cleveland or Miami.
Playoff berths locked in:
Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs (14-1) clinched the AFC's lone first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the second time in the past three seasons (2018). With a win against the Los Angeles Chargers (6-9) on Sunday, the Chiefs will tie the 2011 Packers (15-1, .938) for the best regular-season record by a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history.
The Buffalo Bills (12-3) clinched the AFC East division title for the first time since 1995.
The Green Bay Packers (12-3) clinched the NFC North division title for the second-consecutive season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) last week overcame a 17-point deficit to win and clinch the AFC North division title for the first time since 2017. Pittsburgh won the AFC North after missing the postseason in 2019. In each of the past 43 seasons (1977-2020, excluding 1982, when divisional play did not occur), at least one team has won its division the season after missing the playoffs. T
The New Orleans Saints (11-4) clinched the NFC South division title for the fourth-consecutive season.
The Seattle Seahawks (11-4) clinched the NFC West division title for the first time since 2016.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5) clinched their first playoff berth since 2007.
View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
Takeaways from assistant coaches ahead of Week 17 vs. Cowboys
The Giants' assistant coaches met with reporters this week via Zoom. Here are some takeaways from Tuesday's media availabilities.
Quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski
* Daniel Jones has improved in numerous areas since Schuplinski got to the Giants, including ball security, coverage reads, coverage recognition, getting the ball out on time, and a better general understanding of the offense. Jones keeps progressing as the season goes on.
Running backs coach Burton Burns
* Every game is its own entity. While you would love to start off a game with a balanced offense, sometimes games dictate the offense's direction. The running backs have to be prepared for anything - they have to be good in pass protection and the passing game in addition to their opportunities to run the ball.
Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert
* Sterling Shepard has been the team's most efficient receiver. He has the highest catch percentage of any player on the team and has been the most consistent guy in the room. Shepard is a complete receiver. He's able to block in the run game, catch in the passing game and make yards after the catch. He has a unique ability to get in and out of his breaks very quickly, making it difficult for defenders to stay on him.
Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo
* The line needs to sustain run blocks longer, needs to be better on double teams, and needs to continue to develop an impenetrable pocket. While they see this in practice, it hasn't always carried over to game days. The top priority to improve is keeping the quarterback safe.
Defensive line coach Sean Spencer
* Leonard Williams has played at an All-Pro caliber. He's changing the narrative about himself, proving he can finish and reach his potential. Williams, Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson are a fun group to coach. They have a chance to be a special group of defensive linemen. They do a great job against the run and pass, and Spencer loves coaching them.
Inside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer
* Veteran Kyler Fackrell's potential return would be a big boost to the room from a maturity standpoint. His participation would allow some of the team's younger linebackers who have stepped into larger roles on defense due to injuries (such as Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin) to re-focus on being core special team players who also have specific defensive packages. Fackrell also brings some pass rush ability.
Defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson
* Dallas' three wide receivers (Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup) are a problem… they're all really good players who need to be accounted for. Add in Ezekiel Elliott and Andy Dalton and this Cowboys' offense presents a big challenge for the secondary and the defense as a whole. The Cowboys are starting to gain confidence, so the Giants know "we're going to get their best shot."
Joe Judge Report: Inside the classroom with Coach
Check out the video below to watch a new episode of the Joe Judge Report, where the head coach uses the telestrator to break down film from the Giants' Week 16 loss in Baltimore.