The Wild Card Race is about to be settled as the NFL Season wraps up. The race features three teams in both conferences vying for one playoff spot. The Steelers, Patriots, and Dolphins will fight it out in the AFC while the NFC race will feature the Seahawks, Lions, and Packers. With only one week to go, every team involved will be fighting for their playoff lives. Here are all the scenarios and predicitions for the seventh seed in the 2023 playoffs.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have a simple path into the playoffs, all they have to do is beat the Bills. Not an easy task granted, but one that will guarantee a spot in the playoffs. They also can make it if the Dolphins and the Steelers lose their games on Sunday. The Patriots have the tiebreaker over both the Steelers and the Dolphins. Both the Patriots and the Dolphins have beaten the Steelers and the Pats have a better divisional record than the Dolphins.
The Dolphins are ultimately going to have to hope for a win against the Jets and a New England loss. Now it is worth noting that this isn’t impossible as the Bills are still fighting for a one-seed on the AFC side. The Dolphins have a great chance to make the playoffs if they can get the win vs the Jets. The only problem is that they are down to their third-string QB. The odds aren’t great for them but nonetheless are most likely win and in.
The Steelers are the biggest underdogs between these three teams in the wild-card race. I am extremely impressed with the Pittsburgh turnaround this year as they have snuck back into the race. They still have an opportunity to make the playoffs with losses from the Patriots and the Dolphins. Still not impossible as both teams are facing an uphill battle in order to win their games. The Steelers will face the Browns in a very winnable game, and this is the easiest game between the three teams.
The Steelers are the team that I think will make the final playoff spot. They have been playing well down the stretch and are the team with the best chances of winning. I think the Pats are going to come closer than the Dolphins, but the Bills are not going to let New England come out ahead. The Dolphins simply have too many issues in order to think about winning this game. If they can pull it off it would be a Miami Miracle. Therefore give me the Steelers to make a surprise first-round appearance.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have surged late in the season to make a final push into the playoff. Now all they have to do is beat the Lions and they are in the playoffs. The way they are playing right now, they have a clear path in front of them. The offense has picked up the pace and the Packers are a dangerous first-round opponent. If you are the two seed in the NFC, you are praying the Packers to find a way to lose on Sunday.
The Seahawks are going to need to win and a Detroit win in order to make the playoffs. Now Seattle has flirted with being a dangerous team all year, and this seems to be appropriate ground for them. They are .500 right now, and I would expect them to beat the Rams in the season finale. They barely beat them in game one vs the Rams, but I expect them to come out with a lot more fire in game two. Seattle is also playing at home, but I wouldn’t put it past Baker to play the villain in Seattle.
The Lions have been the best story of the season, somehow making a playoff run despite no one expecting them to. They also have the toughest task left: beating the Packers in Lambeau. If they can get that done, they have to hope for the Seahawks to lose in order to make the playoffs. The issue for the Lions is going to be stopping the Packers. They have a chance, don’t get me wrong, but those chances are slim.
I do not believe that the Lions will be able to upset the Packers on the road. They would have to outscore them to do so, and in a shootout, I’ll take Rodgers. If the Packers find a way to lose, I think the Lions will be the team to get into the playoffs, due to a Seahawks loss. Unfortunately for the Lions, they will already know before the game if they will have a chance to make it. I like the Packers to steal the seven seed here and potentially wreak havoc in the NFC.
Top Picture by Getty Images