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NFL Week 17 review: Ravens and 49ers secure top seeds

There is just one week left in the NFL regular season and the Week 17 games went a long way to clear up the 14-team field for this season's playoffs.

Five playoff places remain unclaimed heading into Week 18, with three still up for grabs in the AFC and two spots open in the NFC.

With seven teams now eliminated from contention in the AFC and five out of the running in the NFC, that leaves a total of 11 teams who will see their respective playoff fates decided in the last week of the season.

The number one playoff seeds in both conferences were decided with the Baltimore Ravens (13-3) cruising to a dominant win over the Miami Dolphins to secure a first-round bye in the AFC, while the San Francisco 49ers (12-4) will get a week off in the NFC playoffs after a comfortable 27-10 win over the Washington Commanders.

Let's take a look at the key results from NFL Week 17 and what they mean for the playoff picture.

Ravens beat Dolphins as AFC playoff picture takes shape

The Baltimore Ravens made a statement while securing the number one seed for the AFC playoffs with a one-sided 56-19 home win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

A Dolphins win would have left both teams at 12-4 and left the race for the top seed to go down to Week 18, but John Harbaugh's team settled the issue in decisive fashion.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 18 of his 21 pass attempts for 321 yards and five touchdowns, with tight end Isaiah Likely catching two of them. Gus Edwards and Melvin Gordon added rushing touchdowns.

The Ravens are now +320 second-favorites for the NFL Championship and  Jackson's performance was considered good enough in the eyes of many to just about clinch the regular-season MVP award as he is now -10000 to do so.

The Cleveland Browns (11-5) clinched their playoff spot with their 37-20 win over the New York Jets last Thursday and Sunday's results mean they are now locked into the fifth seed as the AFC's top-ranked wild-card team.

Last season's AFC champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, remain out of form offensively but managed to reach 10-6 with a 25-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals to clinch the AFC West division title.

The other three teams in that division can no longer even qualify for a wild-card place. That result also eliminated the Bengals from playoff contention and they head into Week 18 in last place in the AFC North.

The AFC South is still wide open, with three teams able to win it in the final week.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7) shut out the Carolina Panthers 26-0 to end a four-game losing streak despite not having starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence due to injury. That means that they will clinch the division title if they win on the road against the Tennessee Titans in Week 18. If they lose, whichever team wins the game between the Houston Texans (9-7) and Indianapolis Colts (9-7) will take the division title.

The Jaguars are -200 to win the AFC South, with the Colts at +375 and the Texans at +425.

The other teams still in contention for a wild-card place in the AFC are the Buffalo Bills (10-6) who just beat the New England Patriots, and the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7), who kept their season alive by beating the Seattle Seahawks 30-23 and finish off against the Ravens, who are in a position to rest their starters in their final game if they choose to do so.

The Bills have -800 odds to make the playoffs, with the Steelers at +130.

Five teams now confirmed for NFC playoffs

The San Francisco 49ers didn't have it totally easy against the already-eliminated Washington Commanders in Week 17 and the game was tied at 10-10 shortly before half-time, but the Niners (12-4) pulled away in the second half for a 27-10 win that was enough to earn them a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The Dallas Cowboys benefited from a controversial call at the end of their Saturday night game against the Detroit Lions to win 20-19 and reach 11-5 with an 8-0 record at home. Dallas is currently on track to take the second seed, with Detroit on pace for the third seed.

The Eagles' miserable finish to the season continued as they were upset 35-31 by the Arizona Cardinals despite having been double-digit favorites. That was their fourth defeat in their last five games after they started the season 10-1 and seem destined for a Wild Card berth rather than the division title.

The Los Angeles Rams become the fifth NFC team to clinch a playoff place, but their 26-25 success against the New York Giants was closer than they would have liked. Still, a third successive win gave them a 9-7 record and a shot to make some noise in the playoffs.

NFC South, final Wild Card go down to Week 18

The NFC South title is going down to the wire after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8) missed their chance to clinch the division when losing 23-13 at home to the New Orleans Saints (8-8).

The Buccaneers get another shot in Week 18 when they visit the 2-14 Carolina Panthers.

If they fail again, then the winner of the game between the Saints and the Atlanta Falcons (7-9) would take the division. The Falcons lost 37-17 to the improving Chicago Bears, but the Buccaneers' defeat means Atlanta still has a chance to make the playoffs.

The Bucs are -260 to win the division, with the Saints at +350 and the Falcons at +650 to take the NFC South.

In the race for the final Wild Card playoff berth, the final game of Week 17 brought a fairly routine 33-10 victory for the Green Bay Packers (8-8) over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. As a result, the Packers are now in prime position to take the final Wild Card spot in the NFC.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love impressed, throwing three touchdown passes including two to Jayden Reed, while he also ran in one score himself.

The Vikings took a risk by starting rookie Jaren Hall at quarterback, but benched him for the second half in favor of veteran Nick Mullens. The Packers control their own destiny and can clinch an NFC Wild Card spot by beating the Bears at home in Week 18.

The Packers have -180 odds to make the playoffs with the Seattle Seahawks (8-8) at +250.

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