N.F.L. Playoff Picture: Mapping the Paths That Remain for Each Team

by 24USATVJan. 9, 2022, 3 a.m. 16
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Three of 14 N.F.L. postseason slots remain unclaimed heading into the final weekend of regular-season games.

In the A.F.C., five teams — the Steelers, Ravens, Colts, Chargers and Raiders — are vying for two playoff spots, and the No. 1 seed remains open, a contest mostly between the Titans and the Chiefs.

In the N.F.C., the Packers have clinched the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. The last N.F.C. spot in the playoffs will go to the Saints or the 49ers.

As the games unfold, the various scenarios could get quite confusing, even for the people trying to explain them to you live on television. So we created these charts that map the playoff paths that remain for each team. They list all the ways a team can make the playoffs — or be eliminated from them. The tree diagrams start with a given team and then list the potential outcomes of the games that might matter to them, in chronological order from left to right.

We’ll update them throughout the weekend, and they’ll all link back to our interactive playoff simulator, which lets you explore any scenario.

One note: The text does not account for ties. But we have included a button with each tree if you’d like to explore how ties affect each team’s playoff path.

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