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NFL Playoff Picture 2017: Predicting the NFC playoff bracket heading into Week 17

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NFL Playoff Picture 2017: Predicting the NFC playoff bracket heading into Week 17

Week 16 brought some answers to the NFC playoff picture.

Both the Cowboys' and Lions' playoff hopes were brought to a screeching halt Sunday after they both suffered losses.

While the No. 1 seed is locked in and the No. 2 seed will most likely remain the Vikings' after their Week 17 matchup against the Bears, we could see some shifting from the third seed all the way to the sixth and final seed.

The NFL has flexed several 1:00 p.m. ET games to the 4:25 p.m. ET slot including Panthers-Falcons and Saints-Buccaneers. All playoff contending games will now be played at 4:25 p.m. ET with no Sunday night matchup.

Ahead of Week 17, let's take a look at all the possibilities

RELATED: AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE HEADING INTO WEEK 17

NFC PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION: 

#1 Philadelphia Eagles (13-2) vs. lowest winning seed from NFC Wild Card round

#2 Minnesota Vikings (12-3) vs. highest winning seed from NFC Wild Card round

#3 Los Angeles Rams (11-4) vs. #6 Atlanta Falcons (9-6)

#4 New Orleans Saints (11-4) vs. #5 Carolina Panthers (11-4)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (#1 seed) 

Record/Division Record: 13-2/5-0
Remaining Games: vs. Cowboys (8-7)
Playoff Scenarios: The biggest issue for the Eagles right now is making it to the Super Bowl with Nick Foles under center.

They have already clinched the NFC East and home-field advantage throughout. Don't be surprised if head coach Doug Pederson benches many of his starters in a practically meaningless game. 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (#2 seed)

Record/Division Record: 12-3/ 4-1
Remaining Games: vsBears (5-10)
Playoff Scenarios: The Vikings clinched the NFC North division and are now looking for a first-round bye. To do that they need a 

-Win or tie OR

-Panthers loss or tie OR

-Saints win OR

-Chargers win

LOS ANGELES RAMS (#3 seed)

Record/Division Record: 11-4/4-1
Remaining Games: vs. 49ers (5-10)
Playoff Scenarios: The Rams have clinched the NFC West and just like the Eagles, this is a pretty meaningless game. They've secured the 3rd or 4th seed no matter the outcome on Sunday.

Once we get into the postseason it will be very interesting to see what the youngest coach ever in the NFL has drawn up.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (#4 seed)

Record/Division Record:11-4/4-1
Remaining Games: @Buccaneers (4-11)
Playoff Scenarios: One thing the Saints have that their fellow NFC teams ranked above them do not have is a veteran quarterback. A quarterback that has six playoffs and a Super Bowl under his belt.

They've clinched a playoff berth and now are playing for the NFC South, which can happen a few ways.

-Win OR

-Panthers loss OR

-Tie + Panthers tie

CAROLINA PANTHERS (#5 seed)

Record/Division Record:11-4/3-2
Remaining Games: @Falcons (9-6)
Playoff Scenarios: Cam Newton and the Panthers clinched a playoff berth in Week 16 and are now headed to the ATL to face Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

Oddly enough, they could go as high as the No. 2 seed with a win and losses from the Saints, Vikings and Rams. We wouldn't count on that happening.

The real battle this week will be clinching the NFC South; something they will have to steal from the Saints who are facing the 4-11 Buccaneers.

-Win + Saints loss or tie OR

-Tie + Saints loss

Clinch first-round bye:

Win + Saints loss or tie + Vikings loss + Chargers loss or tie

ATLANTA FALCONS (#6 seed)

Record/Division Record:9-6/3-2
Remaining Games: vs. Panthers (11-4)
Playoff Scenarios: This will be a very interesting game.

Why? The Falcons are fighting to keep their No. 6 spot. A win against the Panthers is the easiest way in with the Seahawks on their tails. To see January football they'll need a 

-Win OR

-Seahawks loss OR

-Tie + Seahawks tie

RELATED: FIVE REDSKINS WHO MUST STEP UP IN 2018

STILL IN THE HUNT:

7. Seattle Seahawks

Record/Division Record:9-6/3-2
Remaining Games: vs. Cardinals (7-8)
Playoff Scenarios: The Seahawks are the only team in the NFC still in the hunt, and with an up-and-down season, they could oddly enough still take the No. 6 seed.

Seahawks fans will also want to become Panthers fans on Sunday.

Clinch a playoff berth:

-Win + Falcons loss or tie OR

-Tie + Falcons loss 

ELIMINATED:

San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

RELATED: NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0

I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.