NFL playoff picture 2014: Steelers win AFC North, finalize postseason order
The Steelers got the No.3 seed in the AFC with a big win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday night.
After a wild afternoon, the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers marked the end of the NFL regular season, and the NFL playoff picture is finally set. The Steelers won big over Cincinnati to win the AFC North and get the third seed in the AFC. Pittsburgh is one of three teams from the division in the playoffs. The Bengals’ loss makes them the fifth seed, and the Ravens’ win over the Browns in early action on Sunday (along with a Chargers loss) gave them the final Wildcard spot.
In the NFC, the Panthers won big over the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South and get to the playoffs. In addition, the NFC North and West champions were determined, with the Packers and Seahawks winning their divisions with huge wins over the Lions and Rams, respectively.
Seattle’s win means the road to the Super Bowl once again goes through the Emerald City. The Seahawks secured the top seed in the NFC and home-field throughout the playoffs. The Packers are returning to the playoffs after missing out last year, with the second seed.
Below is the final AFC and NFC seeding order.
1. New England Patriots 12-4)
2. Denver Broncos (12-4)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
4. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
5. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1)
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
The Broncos held onto a second-seed with a win over the Raiders, but the Bengals dropped down to the fifth seed following their SNF loss to Pittsburgh. They’ll face the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the playoffs next week. The Ravens won over the Browns to seal an AFC-wild card berth.
1. Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
2. Green Bay Packers (12-4)
3. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
4. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)
5. Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
6. Detroit Lions (11-5)
Despite a loss to the 49ers and the departing Jim Harbaugh, the Arizona Cardinals held onto the fifth seed because of wins by both the Packers and Seahawks. They’ll face the Carolina Panthers, who won their final four games to win the NFL’s worst division and get into the postseason.
Had the Rams beaten the Seahawks, the Packers could have moved up to the one-seed with their win over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau. But they’ll still get a first-round bye.