2014 NFL playoff picture: Ravens clinch last wild card spot in AFC
The final wild card spot in the AFC was claimed on Sunday, as the Baltimore Ravens took down the Cleveland Browns and the San Diego Chargers fell to the Kansas City Chiefs.
With no games on Thursday or Monday, Week 17 features a full slate of Sunday games, including 10 games in the early morning. There’s only a couple playoff spots up for grabs this late in the year, but seeding across both conferences is still largely up for grabs. The New England Patriots have nothing to play for, but everyone else in the postseason or with hopes of being in it, there’s plenty to play for on Sunday.
Five of the 10 morning games carried playoff implications, with three of those games being centered around the final seed in the AFC. That is the lone wild card spot remaining, and it was down to the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. All four of those teams were in action in the early games.
The Ravens needed a couple things to go right on Sunday, and they got it. First, they needed to beat the Cleveland Browns, which they managed to do. Second, they needed the Chargers to lose to the Chiefs, which they did. That gave Baltimore the No. 6 seed in the AFC, eliminating San Diego, Kansas City and Houston. With all the spots now claimed in the AFC, half of the field comes from the AFC North.
Here is the playoff picture as it stands right now:
1. New England Patriots (12-3)
2. Denver Broncos (11-4)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1)
4. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5)
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
While the No. 6 seed was decided, there’s still plenty to go in the afternoon games. The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers will play with the AFC North on the line, while the Denver Broncos will try and secure the No. 2 seed with a win over the Oakland Raiders. Cincinnati can take that seed if they win and Denver manages to lose that game. New England is locked in as the top seed, while the Colts would need a tie between the Bengals and Steelers to move into the third seed, so they’re essentially locked in to No. 4.
The loser of the game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will take the fifth seed. That game will be the last of the regular season, as it’s the featured Sunday Night Football matchup.
1. Seattle Seahawks (11-4)
2. Detroit Lions (11-4)
3. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)
4. Carolina Panthers (6-8-1)
5. Green Bay Packers (11-4)
6. Arizona Cardinals (11-4)
Still alive: Atlanta Falcons (6-9)
In the early games, only the Cowboys were playing for anything in the morning games. Dallas is currently the No. 3 seed and can take the No. 2 spot if the Seattle Seahawks lose to the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals lose to the San Francisco 49ers. They also have an outside shot of getting the No. 1 seed if the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers play to a tie in that situation.
That’s pretty unlikely, however. Seattle can take the No. 1 seed with a win, while Arizona gets it if they win, the Seahawks lose and the Lions win. Detrois can get it if both the Seahawks and Cardinals lose while they win. Green Bay can get it if they win and the Seahawks lose. All of that will take place in the afternoon. The NFC South is also up for grabs, with the winner between the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons earning the No .4 seed.