IT’S DEC. 27, AND HERE’S YOUR NFL PLAYOFFS PICTURE

By Julie Glass

The Dallas Cowboys whipped up on the Detroit Lions last night, so here’s a look at where the NFL playoff races stand:

NFC

1. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys (13-2) have already clinched their division and home-field advantage in the N.F.C. playoffs, so they have little to play for in Week 17 against the Eagles at the Linc. It should provide the team an opportunity to get Darren McFadden some work as a No. 2 running back and could theoretically lead to some snaps for the Cowboys’ former starting quarterback Tony Romo, to keep him sharp in case he is needed down the road or perhaps to showcase him for a potential trade in the off-season.

2. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons had not had a winning season since 2012, but they are on the verge of a first-round bye in the playoffs and home-field advantage against any team other than Dallas. It is a remarkable turnaround that can be completed with a win over New Orleans on Sunday. Even with a loss, Atlanta (10-5) could get the bye if Seattle loses next week.

3. Seattle Seahawks

Losing to Arizona in Week 16 was a mistake. That, combined with the Falcons winning and Detroit losing, dropped the Seahawks from the No. 2 seed to No. 3. A win in Week 17 should not be all that challenging against lowly San Francisco, and a playoff spot is already secured by way of the N.F.C. West title, but to get back to a first-round bye, Seattle (9-5-1) needs Atlanta to lose.

4. Detroit Lions

It is a remarkable fall for the Lions (9-6), a team that seemed to have an easy path to a division title a few weeks ago. Now a Week 17 matchup against Green Bay, a game that could have been a tune-up for the playoffs, is a must-win if Washington beats the Giants, as a Lions loss following a Redskins win would knock Detroit out of the playoffs.

5. New York Giants

The Giants (10-5) no longer have a shot at the division title or a first-round bye, but they go into Week 17 with the knowledge that no matter what happens, they are the No. 5 seed, which makes them one of just two N.F.C. teams that know their final playoff position.

6. Green Bay Packers

A win over Detroit would give the Packers (9-6) a division title, but if they lose and rgw Redskins win, they will not make the playoffs even as a wild card.

In the hunt: Washington (8-6-1) would secure a playoff spot with a win over the Giants. Tampa Bay’s road is far more unlikely, as it requires a win over Carolina, a Washington loss to the Giants and a Green Bay loss to Detroit; and even if all of that happens, the Buccaneers (8-7) will need help in the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker over Green Bay. They would most likely need Week 17 wins from Kansas City, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Dallas and Tennessee.

AFC

1. New England Patriots

A win over Miami or an Oakland loss to Denver would secure the top spot and home field advantage throughout the playoffs for the Patriots (13-2). The most interesting thing left may be how far LeGarrette Blount can stretch his franchise record for rushing touchdowns, which currently stands at 17.

2. Oakland Raiders

It was hard to celebrate an important win in Week 16 for the Raiders, since Derek Carr, the team’s quarterback and MVP candidate, broke his fibula and is out indefinitely for the remainder of the season. A win over Denver or a loss by Kansas City would secure a first-round bye, giving the Raiders (12-3) some extra time to get Matt McCloin as many reps as possible as the first-team quarterback. A loss, combined with a Chiefs victory, would drop the Raiders to the wild-card round.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

It will be hard for Pittsburgh (10-5) to be all that motivated since the Steelers have already secured a playoff spot and do not have a chance to get a first-round bye. Even with that, a loss to Cleveland, winners of just one game this season, seems highly unlikely.

4. Houston Texans

Locked in as perhaps the worst division winners in the NFL, the Texans (9-6) will use a Week 17 matchup against Tennessee (8-7) to figure out their quarterback situation after Tom Savage hardly seemed like an upgrade over Brock Osweiler last week.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

The worst case for the Chiefs (11-4) is a wild-card spot, but they could rise to division champions and a first-round bye if they beat San Diego and Oakland loses to Denver. Regardless of position, the Chiefs have to be considered one of the top playoff teams in either conference based on their recent play.

6. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins (10-5) are guaranteed a wild-card spot, but with New England probably putting in some effort to lock down the No. 1 seed, a win in Week 17 seems unlikely. Regardless, Matt Moore, the quarterback, and Jay Ajayi, their top running back, have done a good job of making Miami watchable in recent weeks.

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