NFL 5 Things to Know: Patriots, Panthers Can Clinch Playoffs Top Seeds, Packers-Vikings for Division, Broncos Go For AFC West, Jets In With Bills Win

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Dec 30, 2015 02:53 PM EST
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers makes a pass during the first half of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 27, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. "

The NFL is heading into the Week 17 schedule with a number of important games to be played, as the AFC and NFC playoff picture is not totally set yet in the final week of the season.

The Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots are in position to get home field advantage through the playoffs, while the Packers and Vikings are set to play on Sunday night for the NFC North. The matchup between the division rivals is big for the NFC playoffs, as that matchup will determine which teams match up in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Here are 5 things to know for Week 17:

The Patriots and Panthers can clinch the top seeds
The Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots are in position to clinch the top seeds in the NFC and AFC with wins on Sunday. The wins would give the teams home field advantage through the playoffs. The Cardinals and Broncos are currently the number two seeds and have the chance to get in position if the teams slip up. The Cardinals have already clinched a first round bye in the NFC.

The Packers and Vikings are playing for the NFC North
The NFC North division remains up in the air heading into Week 17 and the winner of the Packers-Vikings game no Sunday will win the division. The matchup also will set the NFC playoffs picture, as the Seahawks and Redskins will not know who they will play until the division is decided. The Packers have the chance to get the division and stay in the three seed with a win and that could set up another matchup with the Vikings in the playoffs.

The Broncos can win the AFC West over the Chiefs, or end up a wild card
The Broncos have the chance to win the AFC West with a victory on Sunday, but if they lose, the Chiefs could sneak in and take the title. The Chiefs have won nine games in a row and are one game behind the Broncos in the standings. Denver will take the division with a win and they can get a first round bye with a win.

The Jets clinch with a win over the Bills
The Jets path to the playoffs is very simple after the team won last week and the Steelers lost: win over the Bills and they are in. The Jets likely would find it sweet to get into the playoffs by beating Rex Ryan and Buffalo and they will clinch the wild card spot if they get a win. The Steelers need to have the Jets lose and to win on Sunday for a chance at getting in the playoffs.

The MVP could come down to the final week
The MVP award is a close battle this season and with players like Cam Newton, Carson Palmer and Tom Brady all putting up strong numbers, the award could come down to the performance of the players in the final week. Newton is considered to be the favorite, but with the Panthers no longer undefeated, the door could be open for Brady or Palmer to get it.

Check here for the Week 17 schedule and standings.

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