AFC Playoff Picture: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers secure first-round byes


The Steelers won't know when they play until the National Football League schedule is released in the spring. Here's a look at all the playoff scenarios for Week 17 as announced by the National Football League on Monday.

The Patriots will be the No. 1 seed with a win over the Jets in Week 17 OR a Steelers loss to the 0-15 Browns.

The Steelers played the Patriots, Jaguars and Chiefs this past season.

If they should stumble on Monday, they can still clinch a bye in Week 17 with a win against the Browns or if the Jaguars lose to the Titans. The Chiefs are locked in as the No. 4 (and are a potential opponent in the divisional round for the Pats).

It's an elite wild-card race in the AFC.

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Both teams will clinch with a win.

Titans - In with a win or if the Bills and Chargers also lose.

Chargers: Los Angeles will clinch a wild-card berth with a win over the Raiders combined with a Titans loss/tie against the Jaguars and a Bills loss/tie against the Dolphins, or a win combined with a Titans loss/tie and Ravens loss/tie, or a tie combined with a Titans loss and a Bills loss/tie.

The Steelers will clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Texans on Monday. A loss would re-set the stakes for Week 17: an Eagles win or a Vikings loss would secure the No. 1 seed for Philadelphia. The Vikings will clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Bears, or a Panthers loss/tie against the Falcons, or a Saints win over the Buccaneers, or a Rams win over the 49ers. They could still clinch a first-round bye, as noted above, but won't fall below the third seed. Carolina will win the NFC South with a win over the Falcons and a Saints loss to the Buccaneers in Week 17.

Bills - In with a win and a Ravens loss OR with a win and losses by both the Chargers and Titans. Even if they lose, the Falcons can advance if the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals. It goes to Atlanta with a win or Seahawks loss while the Seahawks would take it with a win and a Falcons loss.