2013 NFL Playoffs: AFC clinching scenarios and wild card

"Tell this mad-man Kirkendall to get off the computer. He's making no sense anymore!!" - Andy Lyons

Taking a look at seeding scenarios for the Bengals, Patriots and Colts in week 17. We also examine possible scenarios for the No. 6 seed, which is important because that would be Cincinnati's opponent if they finish third.

With the Cincinnati Bengals securing the AFC North championship, by way of the Ravens losing to the Patriots, we look at a majority of the final postseason scenarios for week 17.

Most scenarios have the Bengals claiming the third seed. Cincinnati can secure the No. 2 seed with a win over the Ravens and a New England Patriots loss to the Buffalo Bills. However, the Bengals can also drop to the No. 4 seed if the Bengals lose and the Indianapolis Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Those are all described in the cheat sheet at the bottom of the post.

A few quick notes on the number six seed (note: we didn't include games that ended with a tie and we're fairly certain there's crazier scenarios than what we came up with).

  • If the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Diego Chargers, the Ravens claim the sixth seed.
  • However, even if the Ravens beat the Bengals, they're out of the playoffs if the Miami Dolphins beat the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Miami is in due to the tiebreaker based on best winning percentage in conference games.
  • If the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets, the Dolphins are the No. 6 seed.
  • If the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens AND the New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins AND the San Diego Chargers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers are the No. 6 seed.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a shot with a win over the Cleveland Browns, but only if the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Miami Dolphins all lose. It would create a four-way tie and the tiebreaker per the ESPN playoff machine: Wins tie break over NY Jets and San Diego based on best win percentage in conference games. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Miami (NY Jets wins tie break over Miami based on best win percentage in division games). Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Baltimore (Pittsburgh wins tie break over Baltimore based on best win percentage in division games).

Here's the Bengals cheat sheet:

WINNER 
Ravens/Bengals
WINNER
Bills/Patriots
WINNER
Jaguars/Colts
BENGALS IN AFC BENGALS IN AFCN
Bengals secure the No. 3 seed. Clinched the division in week 16.
Bengals secure the No. 3 seed. Clinched the division in week 16.
Bengals secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Clinched the division in week 16.
Bengals secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. Clinched the division in week 16.
Bengals fall to the No. 4 seed. Clinched the division in week 16.
Bengals secure the No. 3 seed. Clinched the division in week 16.
Bengals fall to the No. 4 seed and the Colts secure the No. 2. Clinched the division in week 16.
Bengals secure the No. 3 seed. Clinched the division in week 16.
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