By Danny Cox
The old saying at baseball games was that you couldn’t tell who was who without a score card. Well, that can now be said about the NFL and especially the playoffs every season because things can get downright confusing. That’s why it is time to break everything down with just one week to go in the 2012 NFL season.
The AFC has decided to make things easy for everyone as the six teams that have made it to the playoffs are already in. That means 10 teams are already mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, and no-one else can make it in. Still, there is the matter of playoff seeding that can come into play this weekend and teams do have at least something to play for.
Starting off, here is who is eliminated from playoff contention in the AFC:
- Miami Dolphins
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- San Diego Chargers
- New York Jets
- Cleveland Browns
- Tennessee Titans
- Buffalo Bills
- Oakland Raiders
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Kansas City Chiefs
The Houston Texans have already won the AFC South. The Denver Broncos have won the AFC West. The New England Patriots have won the AFC East. The Baltimore Ravens have won the AFC North. The Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals have taken the two Wild Card spots, and that is how things will stay.
Now, three teams are still in contention for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and that means they can’t just take it easy in the season finale. First-round byes are also up for grabs so let’s check out how these things could possibly go down.
Houston is currently sitting as the number one seed in the AFC and can clinch home-field advantage with a win. It’s just that simple. If they lose though, they can still get home-field advantage in the playoffs by both Denver and New England losing. The Texans can also grab a first-round bye if either Denver or New England loses.
Denver is sitting nicely as the AFC’s number two seed after week 16, but they also can take home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Broncos will need to win and have the Texans lose, in order for that to happen.
Sitting in as the number three seed in the AFC is New England, and they’ll need a little help in order to get exactly what they want this weekend. For home-field advantage, the Patriots need to win while having both Denver and Houston lose. For a first-round bye, the Patriots need to win and have Houston lose or New England needs to win and have Denver lose.
None of these scenarios are really out of the question, and that simply means there is a lot to play for in the final weekend of the regular season. The one other thing that can occur is Baltimore and New England flipping the third and fourth seeds. If Baltimore wins and New England loses, then the Ravens will jump into third.
Indianapolis and Cincinnati are locked in as the fifth and sixth seeds respectively.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.