With just the Dallas-Washington game left on the 2012 regular-season schedule, we have solidified the NFL playoff picture for 11 of 12 seeds.
In the AFC, here is how the seeds and playoff picture played out:
- Denver is the No. 1 seed and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Denver gets a bye wild-card weekend and will host the lowest remaining seed on divisional weekend. The Broncos host the winner of the Indianapolis-Baltimore game unless Cincinnati (No. 6) wins at Houston (No. 3), in which case Denver will host Cincinnati.
- New England is the No. 2 seed and will have a bye on wild-card weekend. New England and Houston both finished 12-4 on the season, but New England won the tiebreaker based on their head-to-head win over Houston. The Patriots will host Houston (No. 3) if they win at home against Cincinnati (No. 6), but will host the winner of Indianapolis-Baltimore if Cincinnati wins.
- Houston faltered mightily down the stretch, losing three of their last four games and dropped to the No. 3 seed. The Texans will host the No. 6 seed Cincinnati on wild-card weekend and will play at No. 2 seed New England on divisional weekend if they win against Cincinnati.
- Baltimore won the AFC North and is the No. 4 seed in the AFC. The Ravens will host Indianapolis (No. 5) on wild-card weekend and will play at Denver on divisional weekend if they win unless Cincinnati beats Houston, in which case Baltimore will play at New England.
- Indianapolis was already locked into the No. 5 seed last week and will play at Baltimore on wild card weekend. The Colts will play at Denver on divisional weekend if they win this weekend unless Cincinnati wins, which would send Indianapolis to New England.
- The No. 6 seed is Cincinnati, and the Bengals will play at Houston on wild-card weekend. If Cincinnati wins that game, the Bengals will play at Denver on divisional weekend.
In the NFC, it's all locked up except for the No. 4 seed that will go to the winner of the Dallas-Washington Sunday night game.
- Atlanta had already secured the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Falcons get a bye wild-card weekend and will host the lowest remaining seed on divisional weekend. That team will be the winner of the DAL/WAS-Seattle game unless Minnesota (No. 6) wins at Green Bay (No. 3), in which case Atlanta will host Minnesota.
- San Francisco recovered from the loss at Seattle to win the NFC West and the No. 2 seed in the NFC. This gets the 49ers a first-round bye, and they will host Green Bay if they win against Minnesota and will host the DAL/WAS-Seattle winner if the Packers lose.
- Green Bay won the NFC North previously and was denied a bye and the No. 2 seed due to their loss to the Vikings. As the No. 3 seed, Green Bay will host Minnesota on wild-card weekend in a week 17 rematch at a different site. If the Packers win, they will travel to San Francisco on divisional weekend.
- The Dallas-Washington winner will be the NFC East champion and the No. 4 seed in the NFC. If Washington wins, the Redskins win the division outright on overall record. If Dallas wins, that creates a three-way tie between Dallas, Washington and the NY Giants. They all split their head-to-head matchups and then, in the next tiebreaker step, the Giants drop out of the tie based on division record (3-3 vs. 4-2 for Dallas and Washington). That leaves us with Dallas vs. Washington and they split head-to-head, have same division record, then Dallas wins the tiebreaker on record against common opponents (8-4 to 7-5). Tonight's winner will host Seattle on wild card weekend and, if they win that game, will play at Atlanta in the second round unless Minnesota beats Green Bay, in which case Dallas-Washington winner would play at San Francisco on divisional weekend.
- Seattle won all eight home games and ended up as the No. 5 seed in the NFC. The Seahawks will play at Dallas-Washington winner on wild-card weekend. If they win that game, they will likely play at Atlanta on divisional weekend unless Green Bay loses this coming weekend. In that case, Seattle would be at San Francisco with a win.
- Minnesota closed out the season in fine fashion winning its final four games against Chicago, St. Louis, Houston and Green Bay and earned the No. 6 seed in the NFC. The Vikings will play a rematch game at Green Bay on wild-card weekend and, if they win that game, will play at Atlanta on divisional weekend.
It's been quite a ride this year with a lot of early clutter among NFC teams leading to interesting races through the final weekend. On the AFC side, we had most of the division championships decided early but some nice seeding drama for the top four seeds.
Please fire away with any questions/comments in the area below.