Browns end drought, field locks


The Browns clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 2002 highlighted the early slate of games on the final Sunday of the regular season.


Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks with Week 17’s Sunday afternoon games complete. (Note: the postseason field expands to 14 teams this season.)


z-1. Green Bay Packers (13-3), NFC North champions: They beat up rival Bears in Chicago to wrap up home-field advantage and a first-round bye.

Wild-card weekend opponent: N/A

y-2. New Orleans Saints (12-4), NFC South champions: They settle in as the No. 2 seed by virtue of Sunday’s win and a better record in conference games (10-2) than Seattle (9-3).

Wild-card weekend opponent: vs. Bears

y-3. Seattle Seahawks (12-4), NFC West champions: Beat the 49ers on Sunday but couldn’t improve their seeding.

Wild-card weekend opponent: vs. Rams

4. Washington Football Team (6-9), NFC East leaders: They have win-and-in scenario in regular-season finale at Philadelphia. However Giants (6-10), who swept WFT this season and eliminated Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, claim crown if Eagles knock off Washington.

Wild-card weekend opponent: NFC East winner will host Buccaneers

x-5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5), wild card No. 1: They’d already advanced to postseason for first time since 2007 … and have now locked into fifth seed, meaning matchup with NFC East champion.

Wild-card weekend opponent: at NFC East champion

x-6. Los Angeles Rams (10-6), wild card No. 2: Former AAF star John Wolford closes the deal, leading L.A. past Arizona and into the postseason field.

Wild-card weekend opponent: at Seahawks

x-7. Chicago Bears (8-8), wild card No. 3: They were smoked at home by arch rival Packers on Sunday, but Arizona’s loss allows Da Bears to remarkably back in to the field during a season in which they lost six straight games.

Wild-card weekend opponent: at Saints


z-1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2), AFC West champions: They were locked in as conference’s top seed after Week 16.

Wild-card weekend opponent: N/A

y-2. Buffalo Bills (13-3), AFC East champions: Didn’t have much at stake Sunday but crushed division rival Dolphins anyway, locking Buffalo into No. 2 seed – meaning Bills wouldn’t face K.C. until AFC title game.

Wild-card weekend opponent: vs. Colts

y-3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4), AFC North champions: Played well in Cleveland even with QB Ben Roethlisberger resting back in Pittsburgh. Rematch next weekend in Steel City.

Wild-card weekend opponent: vs. Browns

y-4. Tennessee Titans (11-5), AFC South leaders: They survived in Houston to wrap up division title. Miami’s loss clinched a berth for Tennessee earlier in the day.

Wild-card weekend opponent: vs. Ravens

x-5. Baltimore Ravens (11-5), wild card No. 1: Ran over, around and through Bengals for fifth consecutive win while securing third straight playoff appearance. Will travel to Nashville next weekend for playoff rematch from a year ago.

Wild-card weekend opponent: at Titans

x-6. Cleveland Browns (11-5), wild card No. 2: Cleveland’s league-high 18-year playoff drought finally ends in dramatic fashion with defeat of arch rival Steelers in Week 17. Browns go to Pittsburgh for rubber match next.

Wild-card weekend opponent: at Steelers

x-7. Indianapolis Colts (11-5), wild card No. 3: Beating the Jaguars put them into field after Dolphins’ loss opened the door.

Wild-card weekend opponent: at Bills

x — clinched berth

y — clinched division

z — clinched home-field advantage 


Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis


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