NFL Week 17: Playoff scenarios and early odds for the key games

Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys
The Cowboys have a great shot to snatch the NFC East

Who will make the playoffs? As we enter the final week of the regular season there is so much still to be decided. Dave Gray runs through the latest Betfair odds for the key games

"The Colts look the most likely to miss out. Even if they win they could still be on the outside looking in. They will need help from elsewhere and all four of the teams they would need to lose are favoured to win their games."

All to play for in week 17

With just one week to go there are still so many playoff spots up for grabs. In the AFC the Chiefs have clinched the first seed and will have a bye in the Wildcard round. While over in the NFC the Packers, Seahawks and Saints can all walk away from Sunday with that lone bye.

As for the wildcards, the Buccaneers are the only team to have locked up a playoff spot. There are five 10-5 teams in the AFC and just four spots left. There is a very real scenario that an 11 win team could miss the playoffs for just the second time in 30 years.

Simple situation in AFC Wildcard race

The AFC Wildcard race is still wide open. The Titans and Colts are both still fighting out for the AFC South title. Following the Colts' collapse against the Steelers, Tennessee are in poll position, only needing to beat the Texans on Sunday to clinch the fourth seed. Lose and Colts will just need to beat the 1-14 Jaguars to snatch it away. The Titans are 1.331/3 favourites on the Betfair Exchange, and with the Texans playing for nothing, it is hard to see them losing this one.

As for the other teams, it is pretty simple. Win and they are in. The Browns and Dolphins could be fortunate. Their opponents both look likely to rest starters with their spots already locked up (the Steelers and Bills are playing for seeding but little else). While the Ravens get to play the Bengals who, although still fighting, are just not great without quarterback Joe Burrow.

The Colts look the most likely to miss out. Even if they win they could still be on the outside looking in. They will need help from elsewhere and all four of the teams they would need to lose are favoured to win their games. There could be some value in them to miss the playoffs at 13/8.

To Make The Playoffs - Latest Betfair Odds Baltimore 1.061/18 Cleveland 1.132/15 LA Rams 1.141/7 Miami 1.331/3 Chicago 1.42/5 Indianapolis 1.444/9

Packers can lock up a bye

The Packers have really emerged as the class of the NFC over the past few weeks and can wrap up home field advantage with a win over the Bears. Chicago - who still have playoff aspirations themselves - would have been hoping the Packers had already sealed the number one seed. But as it is, they have a lot to play for. Little wonder Exchange bettors make Green Bay the 1.434/9 favourites. Aaron Rodgers is now the strong favourite at 1/4 to be named Regular Season MVP and a big game here could seal that.

New Orleans Saints can snatch it away if Green Bay do lose. If they do not, then they could once again come up short in the playoffs. Drew Brees' arm looks so weak now and they really need to be playing at home in the Superdome to have a realistic shot at going all the way. Brees has struggled throughout his career when he plays outside. Having to go into Green Bay in January would make them very hard to back.
Aaron Rodgers.jpg

Rams could need some help

One of the match-ups of the week sees the Rams and Cardinals facing off with a wildcard spot on the line. Whoever wins will be in and it looks like being very close - the two teams cannot be split on the Exchange, both available to back at 1.9620/21.

LA can still get in with a Bears loss but for the Cardinals it is a must-win. The Rams are one point favourites but with Jared Goff set to miss out through injury, and John Wolford starting at quarterback. LA looked like they could win the NFC West just a couple of weeks ago but are now facing elimination. It could well come down to Green Bay beating Chicago for them to make the playoffs.

Cowboys can snatch the East from Washington

The NFC East has been a bit of a mess all season. They are going to be sending a team with a losing record to the playoffs but which team that is is still unclear. Washington lead the way right now, but with Alex Smith sidelined and Dwayne Haskins cut earlier this week, they could struggle against the Eagles who look a lot more dangerous with Jalen Hurts leading the team.

If they do slip up then the Cowboys and Giants will play each other for the division. Whoever wins would be in and the Cowboys are 1.75/7 favourites to do so. Right now the value looks to be with Dallas. With Washington on their fourth quarterback of the season, they could well lose. 21/10 is very tempting for the Cowboys to sneak in. They still have one of the most talented offences in the league and could cause some problems next month.

Lawrence heading to Jacksonville

As for the number one pick in next year's draft, the Jaguars have already locked that up. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a lock to go first overall. He is one of the best talents to come out in some time losing just once in his time at Clemson - the National Championship.

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