Well, here we are. The last full slate of games in the NFL regular season. There’s no Thursday Night Football and no Monday Night Football — just 16 Sunday games to wrap up 2019. While there aren’t a ton of Week 17 games that matter, there are still a few with plenty on the line.
Five of the six NFC playoff teams are already decided, with only the NFC East’s slot to be settled on Sunday. Other than that, there are four teams jockeying for seeding in the season’s final week, and by late Sunday night, we’ll know the full lineup of games for the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend.
So with that in mind, let’s see which games matter in Week 17 for the NFC.
Games That Matter to the NFC Playoff Picture: Week 17
Why It Matters: Green Bay clinched the NFC North this past Monday night with a win over Minnesota, but this game still matters a ton. Aaron Rodgers and company will now turn their attention toward earning one of the NFC’s top two seeds. With a win over the Lions, the worst the Packers can do is the No. 2 seed, which would assure them a first-round bye.
A loss to Detroit and a New Orleans victory would drop them to the No. 3 seed, which would have them hosting the Vikings in the Wild Card Round.
Why It Matters: The NFC South champion Saints must beat the Panthers on the road this Sunday if they want any chance at a first-round bye. But even with a victory, they’ll need some help.
They can get the top seed if they win and both the Packers and 49ers tie or lose. Or, if they tie the Panthers and both the Packers and 49ers lose, they get the No. 1 seed.
The No. 2 seed is theirs if they win and either the Packers OR 49ers lose.
If they lose or it ends up a tie between the three teams at 13-3, New Orleans is the No. 3 seed and will host Minnesota on Wild Card Weekend as a result.
Why It Matters: The Cowboys saw their playoff hopes take a significant hit with their loss to the Eagles in Week 16. Now, they need a Week 17 win and an Eagles loss to the Giants to win the NFC East and host a first-round playoff game.
Eagles (8-7) @ Giants (4-11) — Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
Why It Matters: If the Eagles win, they finish 9-7 and win the NFC East. That would give them the NFC’s No. 4 seed and a first-round playoff game at home. They can still clinch the division with a loss, but for that to happen, they’d also need the Cowboys to lose to the Redskins.
49ers (12-3) @ Seahawks (11-4) — Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
Why It Matters: If the 49ers win, they win the NFC West and finish as the NFC’s top seed. They would hold the tiebreaker over the Packers and Saints even if they both win their Week 17 games. That would mean that the road to the Super Bowl goes through San Francisco. But if they lose to the Seahawks, they’re the No. 5 seed and would travel to Philadelphia or Dallas next week for the first round of the playoffs.
For the Seahawks, they win the NFC West with a victory over the 49ers. And if they win, odds are that they would be the No. 3 seed. That would mean a home game against the Vikings next week. If things get super crazy, they could somehow find themselves in the top two.
A loss to San Francisco would make Seattle the No. 5 seed, setting up a road game next week against the NFC East winner.