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NFL Playoff Scenarios: Much On The Line For Steelers In Week 17

Here are the big AFC games to keep track of in the final week of the NFL season, with plenty on the line. First, obviously, the Steelers play the Browns in Cleveland at 1:00 (CBS). With a win, the Steelers clinch a first-round bye. Also, the Ravens host the Bengals at 1:00 (also on CBS). Baltimore is already in the playoffs, but can clinch a first-round bye with a win and a Steelers loss.

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The Jets will play the Bills at 1:00 (CBS) in a game that is of minor importance, in that it could help determine which playoff seed the Steelers get. If the Steelers lose to the Browns and the Jets win, the Jets would get the fifth seed and the Steelers would get the sixth.

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The Colts will face the Titans at 4:15 (CBS), and a win will clinch the AFC South. If the Chiefs fall to the Raiders (1:00, CBS), the Colts could rise as high as the third AFC seed (because they beat the Chiefs earlier this year). Otherwise, the Chiefs will get the third seed. If the Colts lose and the Jaguars win against the Texans (4:15, CBS), the Jaguars would take the fourth seed and the Chiefs would take the third seed.

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So, essentially, if the Steelers beat the Browns, they get the second seed and will have to wait to find out who their first playoff opponent will be. If the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, the Steelers would probably be the sixth seed (assuming the Jets beat the Bills, as seems likely) and would either play the Chiefs or Colts in the first round, and then, if they won, the Patriots.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.