NFL Playoff Picture: Who Will Book Ticket in Week 17?

Stephen FenechCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2012

Dec 23, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) in the huddle against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.  The Redskins defeated the Eagles, 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Week 17 of the NFL season is upon us, the playoff picture is quite clear, with just a few teams still looking to book their postseason tickets. 

The AFC playoff picture has been solidified, with all six postseason berths already accounted for.

The NFC is a bit trickier, with two playoff spots still up for grabs. The NFC East and final wild card spot are yet to be decided and will come down to a handful of crucial Week 17 matchups.


NFC East 

The Redskins win the division if they beat the Cowboys in Week 17, although the same could be said for Dallas. The Cowboys' only chance at making the playoffs is through winning the division, as they cannot claim the last wild card slot. 

In their first matchup of the season, which took place on Thanksgiving, the Redskins traveled to Cowboys Stadium and pulled out a 38-31 victory. The game wasn't as close as the score indicates, as the Cowboys kicked a late field goal to make it a one-score game. 

Washington has won six straight games entering Week 17, while the Cowboys had their three-game winning streak snapped last week in overtime against the New Orleans Saints

The Redskins took control of the first matchup in the second quarter, when Robert Griffin III led them to a 28-point explosion.

Washington is 4-3 at home this season, although it has not lost at home since Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers

This game and the division will be won by the hotter offense, and I'd rather have RGIII as a rookie than Tony Romo.

Projected Winner: Washington Redskins 


The Sixth Seed

The Minnesota Vikings are currently in sixth place and would clinch a playoff spot with a victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Out of all teams vying for the last wild-card slot, the Vikings have the toughest matchup, as they welcome Aaron Rodgers and the Packers high-octane offense to town. 

The Chicago Bears have the same record as the Vikings at 9-6, although they need Minnesota to lose and to win in order to qualify due to the Vikings' superior divisional record. 

Fortunately for Chicago, it travels to play the lowly Detroit Lions, a team that it dispatched in Week 7.

The New York Giants have an opportunity to qualify for the final wild-card berth, but need a lot of help in order to do so. In essence, the G-Men need to beat the Philadelphia Eagles and hope for losses from the Cowboys, Bears and Vikings in order to get the sixth seed 

At the end of the day, I see the Packers beating the Vikings and the Bears defeating the Lions, which would send Chicago to the playoffs. 

With Christian Ponder under center, the Vikes will need a legendary performance from Adrian Peterson in order to be competitive against the Packers, provided they play their starters. 

Projected Winner: Chicago Bears

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