NFL Week 16 – Playoff Picture

Justin Charles, Staff Writer

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The NFL is coming to the end of the regular season, so let’s take a look at teams that we’ll likely see in the post-season along with some teams that still have hope to make it.

We’ll start with the teams that have been eliminated.

AFC – Broncos, Bengals, Bills, Jaguars, Jets, Raiders.

NFC – Packers, Falcons, Buccaneers, Giants, Lions, 49ers, Cardinals.

Now for the teams whose seasons may or will continue.

X = Clinched Playoff Berth, Y = Division Winner, Z = First-Round Bye, * = Home-Field Advantage.

AFC:

Chiefs(X): The Chiefs have clinched a playoff appearance, but their loss to the Chargers on Thursday night tightens up the race for the AFC West title, as both teams now stand at 11-3. The Chiefs still have an edge based on their 4-1 Divisional record. If the Chiefs win out, they will have the first seed in the AFC.

Texans: The Texans currently hold the 2nd seed in the AFC at 9-4. The Texans can clinch a division title with one more win. Winning out plus a Chiefs and Chargers loss will get the Texans the 1st seed. Winning out will guarantee at least the 2nd seed.

Patriots: A Patriots win in either of their next two games will clinch them a playoff appearance. Winning out plus a Texans loss would give the Patriots a 1st round bye, and two losses for the Chiefs plus two losses for the Chargers could even result in them getting 1st seed, though that is extremely unlikely.

Steelers: The Steelers (8-5-1) can not clinch a playoff berth this week, but a win would put them in an extremely good position to close out and win the AFC North. Two other AFC North teams still technically have a chance to take the division title. A Steelers win plus a Ravens loss this week would clinch a playoff appearance for them.

Chargers(X): The Chargers clinched a playoff appearance with their divisional win over the Chiefs on Thursday night, and if they beat the Ravens and Broncos, the Chargers have a shot at both the AFC West title and the first seed in the AFC, so long as the Chiefs lose one more game.

Ravens: The Ravens currently hold the last AFC wild-card spot at 8-6. They still have a chance at the AFC North title, but they would need the Steelers to lose one more game in order for that to happen. A loss this week would also make it unlikely that they will earn a playoff berth, as there are two teams behind them with the same record.

In the Hunt:

Colts: The Colts are on the outside looking in at 8-6. The only way that the Colts are guaranteed to be in is for them to win their next two, and the Ravens to lose to the Chargers.

Titans: The Titans are in the same position as the Colts at 8-6. They also need to win their next two and hope for a Ravens loss to have a guaranteed playoff appearance.

Dolphins: The Dolphins are on the edge at 7-7. They would need a lot of help to make it in, including a Colts, Titans, and Ravens loss in Week 16, plus a Browns and Colts loss in Week 17. Of course, a loss will result in their automatic elimination.

Browns: The Browns are not officially eliminated at 6-7-1, but they would need a miracle to make it in. A tie between the Colts and Titans is necessary for them to even have a chance.

NFC:

Saints(Y): At 12-2, the Saints only need one more win to take home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Rams(Y): At 11-3, the Rams winning out will guarantee them a 1st-round bye. The only way they can have the 1st seed is for the Saints to lose their next two.

Bears(Y): The Bears have clinched the NFC North at 10-4 and still have a shot at a 1st-round bye.

Cowboys: The Cowboys (8-6) only need to win one of their next two games to win the NFC East; however, if they lose their next two, the Cowboys stand a chance of being eliminated.

Seahawks: The Seahawks (8-6) are in control and are guaranteed to have a playoff berth if they win both of their last two games. If the Seahawks lose even one of their next two games, they are in danger of being knocked out.

Vikings: The Vikings currently hold the last wild card spot in the NFC at 7-6-1. If they win out, they are guaranteed to make it into the playoffs, but one more loss puts them in danger of being eliminated.

In the Hunt:

Eagles: At 7-7, the Eagles can make it into the playoffs by winning their next two, and the Vikings losing one of their next two, or the Vikings winning their next two and the Seahawks losing the next two games.

Redskins: At 7-7, the Redskins can make it in by winning out, and the Vikings or Seahawks losing one of their last two games.

Panthers: The Panthers at 6-8 would need a lot of help to make it in, including two Vikings losses and a loss for both the Eagles and the Redskins.