Downey's Dozen: Predicting The NFL Playoffs After 16 Weeks

The NFL season is nearly over. We're down to the last week of the regular season and the playoff picture is nearly complete. Only a few spots are left, although there's plenty of intrigue around seeding. With that in mind, here are my projections for the NFL Playoffs after 16 weeks.


1. New England Patriots
The Patriots have already locked up the AFC East and a first round bye. Another win, tie or a Denver loss or tie will clinch the No. 1 seed for the Patriots. 

2. Denver Broncos 
Denver can finish with the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 or No. 5 seed. If Denver wins and New England falls, the Broncos take the top spot. If New England wins, it's the No. 2 seed for the Broncos. A Cincinnati win and Denver loss puts the Broncos in the No. 3 seed, if Kansas City losses. A Chiefs' win a Broncos loss means KC gets the AFC West and Denver gets a wild card spot. 

3. Cincinnati Bengals 
The Bengals have looked great so far this season, but the loss of Andy Dalton hurts. A.J. McCarron suffered a sprained left wrist, but could play Sunday. The Bengals won't finish below the No. 3 spot, but need a win and a Denver loss to take the No. 2 seed. 

4. Houston Texans
The Texans had to turn to Brandon Weeden at QB and still found a way to beat the Colts. The Texans are now in control of the AFC South at 8-7. A win will guarantee them the division. The Colts aren't out of the race at 7-8, but need a crazy parlay to make the playoffs. The Colts need to win, the Texans to lose and the Ravens, Falcons, Bills, Broncos, Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders all win. I'm saying there's a chance. 

5. Kansas City Chiefs
The 10-5 Chiefs have won nine straight and have locked up a playoff spot. A Chiefs' win and Broncos' loss would give Kansas City the AFC West title. 

6. New York Jets
The Steelers were in great position, but lost to the depleted Ravens. The Jets are now in control of the final wild card spot, just needing a win or a tie. The Steelers need to beat the Browns and hope the Bills knock off New York. 


1. Carolina Panthers
The 14-1 Panthers have already locked up the NFC South and a first round bye. A win or a Cardinals loss will give them the No. 1 seed in the NFC. 

2. Arizona Cardinals 
The Cardinals picked up where they left off last season before Carson Palmer was injured. They locked up the NFC West and a first round bye. A Panthers loss and Cardinals win will give Arizona the top seed. 

3. Green Bay Packers
The Packers have a playoff spot, but their seed is very much up in the air. Their home game against the Vikings this week will determine the winner of the NFC North and the No. 3 seed. The loser will end up with a wild card berth.  

4. Washington Redskins
Congrats Washington! You're going to the playoffs as the No. 4 seed no matter what. 

5. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks getting hot at the perfect time. They've already clinched a playoff spot, although the Cardinals' success means the Seahawks will only be a wild card team. The Seahawks will get the No. 5 seed if Seattle and Green Bay win this week. Otherwise, Seattle is getting the No. 6 spot. 

6. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings clinched a playoff spot, and could win the NFC North in Week 17 against the Packers. If they lose, they'll likely end up with the No. 6 seed.

Disagree with what I have and want to call me an idiot? Or agree with me and want to publicly sing my praises? Hit me up on Twitter.

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