Here we are heading into the final weekend of the regular season for NFL 2014 and there are still two playoff spots left along with three divisional titles to be settled.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots have locked up home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs while Denver is the number-two seed. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are already in and play each other in the Steel City Sunday night to determine the winner of the AFC North. Indianapolis has clinched the AFC South and will be the number-four seed.
The San Diego Chargers can clinch the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC with a win at Kansas City. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens are still looming and can sneak in the sixth seed with a win (at home vs. Cleveland) coupled with the Chargers losing to the Chiefs. The Houston Texans and Chiefs both have to win and get help to get in the playoffs.
Over in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks are the top dog and will remain that way as long as they beat the St. Louis Rams in Seattle on Sunday. The Detroit Lions are currently the second seed and have to travel to play the Green Bay Packers to decide the NFC North division. The winner gets the second seed and a first round bye while the loser drops off to the fifth (or sixth) seed and travel to play in the wild card round next weekend.
The Atlanta Falcons will be hosting the Carolina Panthers to decide the NFC South (both teams have losing records) and the fourth seed. The Dallas Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and likely the third seed in the post-season while the Arizona Cardinals are stumbling toward the finish line and will most likely wind up as the fifth seed and play the winner of the NFC South in the wild card round.
Got all that?
Now for the capsule previews of the games with playoff implications and the Heftyinfo predictions for the final week of the 2014 regular season.
San Diego Chargers (9-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-7) - The Chargers win and they are in the playoffs. KC will be without starting QB Alex Smith, but they are still a formidable foe at home.
Cleveland Browns (7-8) at Baltimore Ravens (9-6) - The Ravens need this game and a Chargers loss at Kansas City to get into the post-season.
Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) at Atlanta Falcons (6-9) - Someone has to win the NFC South, right?
Detroit Lions (11-4) at Green Bay Packers (11-4) - The Lions beat the Packers in Motown back in September. But that was before Aaron Rodgers' famous quote ... R-E-L-A-X ... Relax!
Arizona Cardinals (11-4) at San Francisco 49ers (7-8) - Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's final game with 49ers will be a win.
St. Louis Rams (6-9) at Seattle Seahawks (11-4) - Seahawks in a rout!
Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) - This game should be closer than the last time these two teams faced each other just three weeks ago. Take the Steelers.
The Heftyinfo picks for Week Seventeen . . . (Home teams are listed in BOLD type and Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)
San Diego over Kansas City
Indianapolis over Tennessee
New England over Buffalo
Baltimore over Cleveland
Chicago over Minnesota
Dallas over Washington
Houston over Jacksonville
Miami over NY Jets
NY Giants over Philadelphia
New Orleans over Tampa Bay
Carolina over Atlanta
Green Bay over Detroit
Denver over Oakland
San Francisco over Arizona
SEATTLE over St. Louis
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
Last Week's Record: 10-6
SEASON RECORD: 163-76-1
Lock of the Week Record: 14-2