Predicting the 12-Team NFL Playoff Field and Seeding

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Predicting the 12-Team NFL Playoff Field and Seeding

NFL
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The season has reached Week 17. For most teams, there is just one final game left to be able to put the pads on and play before the long offseason begins. For others, Week 17 will be one final opportunity to prepare for a playoff run to the Super Bowl. And finally, there are a few teams where Week 17 will be all or nothing. For those teams, it will either be a disappointing finish or a jubilant beginning toward the ultimate goal.

Surprisingly, on the NFC side of the ledger there are no division winners clinched after 16 weeks. However, in the AFC all four divisions are wrapped up and just one spot remains open with four teams competing for that No. 6 seed.

Unfortunately for the Arizona Cardinals and their fans, the Cards could see an 11-win season end without a trip to the playoffs. It is surely quite the unfortunate luck of the draw as they would have already clinched either the NFC East or North division titles.

The NFC very nearly had three win-or-go-home games this week, but the San Francisco 49ers were able to avoid that. Instead, the NFC East and North division championships will be decided in head-to-head match-ups on the final Sunday.

Several teams will be jockeying for very important seeding this week and home-field advantage. This year more than any other could see a premium be put on having as many home games as possible before the Super Bowl. Here is one final prediction for the 12-team playoff field before it is actually sorted out with Week 17 action.

Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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NFC No. 1 Seattle Seahawks

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle bounces back this week with a victory to get to 13-3. They will earn a bye and home-field advantage.

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NFC No. 2 Carolina Panthers

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina survives a close game this week to get to 12-4. In surprise fashion, the Panthers will win the division and earn a first-round bye.

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NFC No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles are hot and flying high. They win one of the two winner-take-all games and win the NFC East to get to 10-6 and have a home playoff game.

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NFC No. 4 Chicago Bears

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears did not look good last week to put it kindly. However, Chicago bounces back this week to win the division and make the playoffs. Their 9-7 record will be enough to host a first-round playoff game.

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NFC No. 5 New Orleans Saints

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After losing last week, the Saints got shuffled out of a bye week and the division lead. However, they bounce back with a win and still are able to get into the playoffs at an 11-5 mark. They will, however, lose the home-field advantage and have to go on the road for a rematch in Chicago for the playoffs.

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NFC No. 6 San Francisco 49ers

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers could be the lone NFC playoff-bound team to lose in Week 17. But they have already clinched their spot so the Cardinals will be the odd team left out this year. San Francisco, with their 11-5 record will travel to Philly to face the Eagles in the first round.

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AFC No. 1 Denver Broncos

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Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Thumbs up to the Broncos as for the second straight year they earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC. With a 13-3 record they will have a first-round bye and a mile high home-field advantage. Will it be a different outcome than last year?

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AFC No. 2 New England Patriots

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Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots will have just enough firepower to earn a bye with a 12-4 record. A win this week gives them an off week in the first round of the playoffs.

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AFC No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals could be a dangerous team in the playoffs. With an 11-5 record and winning the division, they will get to host a playoff game after being on the road the last two seasons.

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AFC No. 4 Indianapolis Colts

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts will also get to host a first-round playoff game after going 11-5 this year. How will Indy fare in their second straight playoff appearance?

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AFC No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs are one of the many surprises this year. A loss in Week 17 could make the AFC first-round games a pair of rematches. With an 11-5 record, all five losses could be against playoff teams, and they will travel to Indy to try and avenge one of those defeats.

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AFC No. 6 San Diego Chargers

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Had to double and triple check this spot. Somehow the Chargers will get into the playoffs? At 9-7, the Chargers will be the lone 8-7 AFC team to win in Week 17. That finishing record will be enough to get them in the playoffs to face the Bengals for a second time this year.


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