SPORTS
12/26/2012 07:30 pm ET Updated Mar 01, 2013

NFL Playoffs 2012-2013: Redskins, Cowboys, Vikings Among Teams Looking For Playoff Spot In Week 17

This is it: Week 17. For the five teams still vying for the two unclaimed spots in the NFC bracket, the clock is about to strike midnight. Three of those teams will turn back into pumpkins -- or Philadelphia Eagles -- while the rest will get a fresh start in the second season.

The Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings each control their own destiny. If they win then they are in. The Cowboys' situation is clearest. If they defeat the rival Redskins, then they advance. If they lose then they are eliminated. Jerry Jones doesn't need to watch the scoreboard, just Tony Romo. The Redskins and Vikings, on the other hand, enter Week 17 with some margin for error and could potentially clinch a playoff spot without a win. Needing a win and some assistance, the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears have a more complicated path to the postseason.

"Obviously, the scenarios are very possible," Giants quarterback Eli Manning told The Associated Press. "It's not like a bunch of huge upsets have to happen. These are three divisional games being played and in the division, you never know what might occur."

SCROLL DOWN FOR COMPLETE PLAYOFF SCENARIO BREAKDOWN

Opposing Manning and the Giants will be Michael Vick and the Eagles. Although Vick insisted that this return to action is not an audition for a future employer after an ineffective, injury-riddled campaign, No. 7 will have something to prove when he takes the field against the defending Super Bowl champions. Will he dash the Giants' repeat hopes?

In the AFC, the drama is about seeding, with the field of six teams set after Week 16. The Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are all angling for a first-round bye as well as home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Adding intrigue to the final week of the 2012 schedule, Adrian Peterson is chasing both a playoff berth as well as Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing yards record. If he can amass 208 yards on the ground against the Green Bay Packers, then he'll have the all-time mark (and quite likely another game next week). In a game that will be of interest to Peterson's Vikings, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson makes a bid to top 2,000 receiving yards against the Chicago Bears. Johnson surpassed Jerry Rice's single-season receiving yards record in Week 16 and aims for the next staggering milestone.

Who will survive to play next week? Who will earn a bye? Which milestone will be achieved?

Here are the various playoff scenarios for the AFC and NFC teams, via The Associated Press.

AFC

CLINCHED: Houston, AFC South; Denver, AFC West; New England, AFC East; Baltimore, AFC North; Indianapolis, No. 5 playoff spot; Cincinnati, No. 6 playoff spot.

HOUSTON (at Indianapolis)

Clinches first-round bye with:

— Win or tie, or

— New England loss or tie, or

— Denver loss

Clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

— Win, or

— Tie AND Denver loss or tie, or

— New England loss or tie AND Denver loss

DENVER (vs. Kansas City)

Clinches first-round bye with:

— Win or tie, or

— New England loss or tie

Clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

— Win AND Houston loss or tie, or

— Tie AND Houston loss

NEW ENGLAND (vs. Miami)

Clinches first-round bye with:

— Win AND Denver or Houston loss

Clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

— Win AND Denver and Houston loss

NFC

CLINCHED: Atlanta, NFC South and home-field advantage; Green Bay, NFC North; San Francisco, playoff spot; Seattle, playoff spot

GREEN BAY (at Minnesota)

Clinches first-round bye with:

— Win, or

— Tie AND San Francisco loss or tie, or

— San Francisco loss AND Seattle loss or tie

SAN FRANCISCO (vs. Arizona)

Clinches NFC West with:

— Win or tie, or

— Seattle loss or tie

Clinches first-round bye with:

— Win AND Green Bay loss or tie, or

— Tie AND Green Bay loss

SEATTLE (vs. St. Louis)

Clinches NFC West with:

— Win AND San Francisco loss

Clinches first-round bye with:

— Win AND San Francisco loss AND Green Bay loss

WASHINGTON (vs. Dallas)

Clinches NFC East with:

— Win or tie

Clinches playoff spot with:

— Chicago loss AND Minnesota loss

DALLAS (at Washington)

Clinches NFC East with:

— Win

NEW YORK GIANTS (vs. Philadelphia)

Clinches playoff spot with:

— Win AND Dallas loss or tie AND Chicago loss AND Minnesota loss

MINNESOTA (vs. Green Bay)

Clinches playoff spot with:

— Win, or

— Tie AND Chicago loss or tie, or

— Dallas loss or tie AND N.Y. Giants loss or tie AND Chicago loss

CHICAGO (at Detroit)

Clinches playoff spot with:

— Win AND Minnesota loss or tie, or

— Tie AND Minnesota loss