NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 Playoff Picture: Playoff & division title implications for all 16 games

Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates as he runs in for a touchdown during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL season is 16 weeks old, and with that comes increased attention to the postseason. 

The shape of the 2021 NFL playoff bracket hinges heavily on what we see during the Week 17 slate, so we at PFF want to use our simulation to go through the different scenarios and how they affect your favorite NFL team. All betting odds are courtesy of our friends at Pinnacle.

TB @ NYJ | LV @ IND | LAR @ BAL | JAX @ NE | KC @ CINATL @ BUF |
MIA @ TEN | NYG @ CHI | PHI @ WFT | ARZ @ DAL
DEN @ LAC | HOU @ SF | CAR @ NO | DET @ SEA | MIN @ GB | CLE @ PIT


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-13) @ New York Jets

Current one seed odds: TB 2%
With TB win: TB 2%
With NYJ win: TB < 1%

The skinny: The Bucs are pretty banged up and in a weird spot in that all they can really do is improve their lot within the second to fourth playoff spots in the NFC. That being said, we have the Bucs with a 12% chance of winning the Super Bowl come February, which is worth a little bit of a sprinkle on the betting markets at +750 (per DraftKings).

The Over/Under for this game is currently 45.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Las Vegas Raiders @ Indianapolis Colts (OFF THE BOARD)

Current playoff odds: LV 29%, IND 94%
With LV win: LV 60%, IND 84%
With IND win: LV 12%, IND 100%

Current division title odds: IND 6%
With LV win: IND 0%
With IND win: IND 9%

The skinny: The Colts can earn their second straight playoff appearance if they can take care of business against the Raiders in Week 17. That task became a lot harder with news that an unvaccinated Carson Wentz will be sitting out after testing positive for COVID-19. The Raiders, who already benefited from the Browns’ COVID issues in Week 15, will be in the driver’s seat for one of the remaining playoff spots in the AFC if they can win in Indy this week, setting Derek Carr up to start his first-ever playoff game.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 44.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Los Angeles Rams @ Baltimore Ravens (OFF THE BOARD)

Current playoff odds: BAL 25%
With LA win: BAL 6%
With BAL win: BAL 52%

Current division title odds: LA 77%, BAL 8%
With LA win: BAL 0%, LA 91%
With BAL win: BAL 18%, LA 53%

The skinny: The Ravens have a tough road, with two losses to the Bengals behind them and a date with a solid Rams team ahead. If Lamar Jackson plays, it should shape up to a decent matchup, as the Rams have struggled against the run at times. Los Angeles is now in the driver’s seat for a division title, despite playing relatively poorly in Minnesota against the Vikings, but the side has two tough tests against a Ravens team that blew them out in 2019 and a 49ers team that hasn’t lost to them since 2019.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 46.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


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Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots (-15.5)

Current playoff odds: NE 90%
With JAX win: NE 57%
With NE win: NE 97%

Current division title odds: NE 19%
With JAX win: NE 6%
With NE win: NE 21%

The skinny: The Patriots (0.8%) actually have higher odds of earning the one seed than the Bills (0.2%) due to their tiebreaker with the Titans. However, the Patriots still need to win this game this week to make the playoffs. They also require a loss by either the Dolphins or Raiders in order to clinch a playoff spot before a big matchup against the Dolphins in Miami next week. 

The Over/Under for this game is currently 41.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals (+5.5)

Current playoff odds: CIN 80%
With CIN win: CIN 100%
With KC win: CIN 67%

Current division title odds: CIN 73%
With CIN win: CIN 100%
With KC win: CIN 54%

Current one seed odds: KC 68%
With CIN win: KC 38%
With KC win: KC 88%

The skinny: Paul Brown Stadium will be the site of a pretty high-leverage game for the second week in a row, as the Bengals would clinch their first AFC North title and first playoff appearance since 2015 with a win as 5.5-point underdogs. The Chiefs, already winners of the AFC West for the sixth straight year, could clinch their fourth straight bye week under Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. They can also claim their third one seed in four tries with a win and a Miami loss, which is about 30% likely this week given the current market numbers.

If you have a Chiefs over 12.5 wins ticket you’re rooting for either a loss this week or the aforementioned clinching scenario, as Reid will be more likely to rest his starters than go for his ninth straight over to the season win total.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 49.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Atlanta FalconsBuffalo Bills (-14.5)

Current playoff odds: ATL 4%, BUF 97%
With ATL win: BUF 91%
With BUF win: BUF > 99%

Current division title odds: BUF 80%
With ATL win: ATL 0%, BUF 49%
With BUF win: ATL 16%, BUF 94%

The skinny: The Bills (at 0.2%) are still technically alive for the AFC one seed, but it is in the same sort of way the Falcons are alive for the playoffs with their -122 point differential.

The bettors who backed Atlanta to go over 7.5 wins have two opportunities for glory this season but will likely have to wait for their home matchup against the Saints, as the markets currently have Buffalo around -1000 to win this matchup in western New York. The Bills can clinch a playoff spot in Week 17 with a win and help from either the Ravens or the Raiders and Chargers.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 44.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Miami Dolphins @ Tennessee Titans (OFF THE BOARD)

Current playoff odds: MIA 26%, TEN > 99%
With MIA win: MIA 55%, TEN 97%
With TEN win: MIA 8%, TEN 100%

Current division title odds: TEN 95%
With MIA win: TEN 86%
With TEN win: TEN 100%

Current one seed odds: TEN 28%
With MIA win: TEN 44%
With TEN win: TEN 3%

The skinny: The Titans are still very much alive for the one seed in the AFC by virtue of the fact that they were the last team to beat Kansas City back in October. The Dolphins, who were given a 0.96% chance to make the playoffs going into Week 9, are on a seven-game win streak but are still a mathematical long shot to make the playoffs. With a win Sunday in Tennessee, those odds significantly improve.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 41. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

PFF’s Fantasy Football Rankings include ranks from our experts, projections and our Strength of Schedule metric.

New York Giants @ Chicago Bears (-6)

There are no playoff implications for this game. Just vibes.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 37.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team (+4)

Current playoff odds: PHI 60%, WAS 7%
With PHI win: WAS 0%, PHI 83%
With WAS win: WAS 16%, PHI 31%

The skinny: Despite everything, the Football Team is still alive. However, their division rival — the team that laid down in Week 17 last year so they could make the playoffs — are front-runners to earn the seventh seed in what has to be one of the more ironic turnarounds in the year 2021. Washington was without many of its starters in Philly in Week 15 but should not be taken lightly in this one. The large collection of seven-win teams in the NFC is rooting for them.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 46. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)

Current division title odds: ARZ 23%
With ARZ win: ARZ 46%
With DAL win: ARZ 10%

Current one seed odds: DAL 13%
With ARZ win: DAL < 1%
With DAL win: DAL 22%

The skinny: The Cardinals are in a freefall, having lost three straight and their grip on the NFC West division. The Cowboys are exactly the opposite, having won the last few convincingly and showing Sunday night what they are capable of when they are at full strength and executing. Both teams have an outside chance at their goal (the Cowboys the one seed; the Cardinals the NFC West) through winning out and getting help. It starts Sunday. 

The Over/Under for this game is currently 51.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)

Current playoff odds: DEN < 1%, LAC 32%
With DEN win: DEN < 1%, LAC 10%
With LAC win: DEN 0%, LAC 47%

The skinny: The Broncos, by virtue of a sweep to the Raiders, might have cost Vic Fangio the chance to coach this team with an elite quarterback. Now, despite this, the funnier thing that happened in the AFC West Sunday was the Chargers, fresh off of outplaying the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football the week prior, losing to the Houston Texans and dropping their playoff hopes to a one-in-three proposition. With a win Sunday at home against Denver, the Chargers avoid a sweep at the hands of the Broncos and increase their odds of making the playoffs to roughly 50/50. 

The Over/Under for this game is currently 45. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers (OFF THE BOARD)

Current playoff odds: SF 86%
With HOU win: SF 57%
With SF win: SF 94%

The skinny: Those of us who clamored for Trey Lance are going to get our way this week, as the 49ers are set to start Lance in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, who will miss the game nursing an injured thumb. The 49ers, with a win against Houston and a New Orleans loss to the Panthers, can clinch a playoff spot in Week 17. In either event, they are sitting pretty going in.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 44. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (OFF THE BOARD)

Current playoff odds: NO 29%
With CAR win: NO 9%
With NO win: NO 37%

The skinny: The Saints were in the driver’s seat for a playoff berth before we all had to read from the Ian Book Monday, and now they need a ton of help to make it. One of the biggest helpers during these holiday times is a date with the Panthers, who are an absolute nightmare from top to bottom. 

The Over/Under for this game is currently 38. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks (-7)

There are no playoff implications for this game. Just vibes.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 42.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool you can use to help set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage or the individual defenders.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers (-6.5)

Current playoff odds: MIN 14%
With MIN win: MIN 3%
With GB win: MIN 46%

Current one seed odds: GB 84%
With MIN win: GB 54%
With GB win: GB 95%

The skinny: Green Bay has already clinched its third consecutive division title under Matt LaFleur, while the Vikings are likely to miss the playoffs for the third time in four years during the Kirk Cousins era (even though the Vikings have won the last two matchups between the clubs).

If the Cardinals beat Dallas on Sunday, the Packers have an opportunity Sunday night to clinch the one seed before Week 18 even begins, which would be a welcomed circumstance for a banged-up Green Bay team. 

The Over/Under for this game is currently 47.5. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (+3)

Current playoff odds: CLE 14%, PIT 13%
With CLE win: CLE 26%, PIT 0%
With BAL win: CLE 0%, PIT 30%

Current division title odds: CLE 14%, PIT 6%
With CLE win: CLE 25%, PIT 0%
With BAL win: CLE 0%, PIT 13%

The skinny: In the “how the hell are these two teams alive” bowl, the AFC North might very well be in the balance here, as the Browns take on Pittsburgh in a rematch of the crazy AFC wild-card game last year in which the Browns won their first playoff game since the Bill Belichick era.

Indeed, if the Ravens and Bengals lose Sunday — and they are both home underdogs in their games — then Cleveland is playing for a chance to not only sweep the Bengals at home in Week 18 but also for their first AFC North title ever. If the Steelers win, they turn right around and become Browns fans the following week, as a win against the Ravens and a Bengals loss to Cleveland (somehow) puts them in the dance. Buckle up.

The Over/Under for this game is currently 41. PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.


 

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