Two teams in the AFC — Baltimore and Kansas City — have already clinched playoff berths.
In the NFC, one team clinched a playoff spot in Week 13 — that was when New Orleans won the NFC South division title.
Three other NFC teams could clinch this weekend.
Most notably here, the Seahawks have several scenarios in which they could clinch. They’d have to win at Carolina on Sunday and get a loss by either the Rams, the Vikings and/or the Packers. (The Seahawks could tie the Panthers and still clinch with a Rams loss.)
San Francisco could also clinch this Sunday — the 49ers just need to beat Atlanta at home — and the Packers could clinch with a win over the Bears at home coupled with a Rams loss.
OK, on to the Times’ Ten rankings:
1. Baltimore Ravens (11-2)
Lamar Jackson has been limited in practice this week because of a hamstring injury. Will it matter Thursday night? Here’s thinking Jackson could beat the Jets hopping around on one good leg.
2. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
George Kittle and the Niners bullied their way back to the top of the NFC with a highly entertaining victory in New Orleans.
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
Rough week for Saints defense got even worse with news of season-ending foot injury to edge rusher Marcus Davenport.
4. Seattle Seahawks (10-3)
Jadeveon Clowney, we know, was the difference-maker for the Seahawks’ defense in a Monday night victory at San Francisco last month, when he played a season-high 63 snaps. A core muscle injury limited him to just 41 snaps in the loss in Los Angeles on Sunday night, and it’s fair to wonder how effective he’ll be the rest of the season.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
The Chiefs ended the Patriots’ 21-game home winning streak and are now only one game back of New England for the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
6. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
Green Bay might be the most perplexing team in the league, but there they are (for now) as the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
7. New England Patriots (10-3)
First a home loss, then SpyGate 2.0: Could this week get any worse in New England? Put another way: Could it get any better for every other fanbase in the NFL?
8. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)
Best unknown star in the NFL? A case could be made for Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter, who had three sacks in a victory over Detroit on Sunday to give him 52.5 sacks in five seasons — making him, at 25 years old, the youngest player in league history to reach 50 sacks, per NFL.com.
9. Houston Texans (8-5)
Just when it appeared the Texans would make a run at a top seed in the AFC, they had a total dud at home against Denver, trailing 38-3 early in the third quarter.
10. Tennessee Titans (8-5)
Since Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota, the Titans have won six of seven, and four in a row, to forge a tie with the Texans atop the AFC South.