NFL Week 17 in review

The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC now goes through Green Bay.

The Packers clinched the top seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record with the easy win over Minnesota, which was playing without Kirk Cousins. He was sidelined by a positive Covid test.

It is the third year in a row the Packers have gone 13-3 although this year they have one game left that is meaningless for them because the NFL is now playing a 17-game schedule.

But having home playoff games is no guarantee of success for the Packers. They are only 7-6 in their last 13 home playoff games since 2002.

And they have lost the conference title game two years in a row, including last year’s home loss to Tampa Bay. Two years ago they lost the title game at San Francisco.

Five more NFC teams – Dallas, Tampa Bay, Rams, Cardinals and Eagles – have clinched playoff spots. Dallas was the only one of the five teams to lose as the Cowboys lost to Arizona, which broke a three-game losing streak.

The Rams at least have a wild card spot and can win the division by beating the 49ers or if the Cardinals lose to the Seahawks. If Rams lose and Cardinals win, the Cardinals will win the division. And Rams will be a wild card team.

The 49ers and Saints are vying for the last wild card spot. The 49ers get it if they beat the Rams. If they lose to the Rams, the Saints can grab the spot by beating the Falcons.

There was a change at the top of the AFC when Tennessee moved into the No. 1 seed by ending the Dolphins’ seven game winning streak while the Chiefs were upset by Cincinnati. Tennessee can now clinch the No 1 seed by beating Houston in its finale. The bye is especially important for the Titans because it gives Derrick Henry another week to heal.

The Bills, Patriots, Chiefs and Bengals have also clinched playoff spots and the Colts figure to get a wild card spot by beating the Jaguars.

That would leave the Chargers and Raiders – two old rivals with new homes in recent years – fighting for the last spot. If the Jaguars pull the upset of the year and beat the Colts, the Chargers and Raiders could both get in by playing to a tie. That is also unlikely.

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