Week 15 NFL Playoff Picture: Six Teams Can Clinch Playoff Spots

John Morgan
December 15, 2016 at 7:00 am ET

Heading into Week 15 only the Dallas Cowboys have clinched a playoff spot. After this weekend that is bound to change. Six other teams, including the New England Patriots, can punch a ticket to the post-season this weekend.

In the AFC the Jets, Jaguars and Browns have been eliminated. San Diego and Cincinnati are all but done. And after last week’s losses the Colts and Bills are comatose and on life support. The Patriots, Chiefs and Raiders are going to be playing in January. That leaves the Steelers, Ravens, Broncos and Dolphins vying for two post-season positions while Houston and Tennessee battle for the AFC South title.

Over in the NFC Dallas has clinched a playoff spot while on the other end the Niners, Rams and Bears are looking ahead to the draft. Four other teams – the Eagles, Panthers, Saints and Cardinals – are all but mathematically eliminated. With Seattle virtually assured of winning the NFC West that leaves seven teams going for four playoff slots.

I know ties happen – as Donovan McNabb and Jay Gruden now realize – but for the sake of clarity (and sanity) I’ll avoid bringing those possibilities up.

 

AFC East

11-2 New England Patriots
Currently AFC #1 seed.
3-game division lead with three games remaining.
Remaining Opponents 20-19: at 8-5 Broncos; vs 4-9 Jets; at 8-5 Dolphins.
– Can clinch division title with either a win or a Miami loss.
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win.
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a Miami loss, plus either (b) a Pittsburgh loss.
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a Miami loss, plus (b) a Kansas City win.
– 99% chance of winning the AFC East.
– 99.9% chance of making the playoffs.

8-5 Miami Dolphins
Currently AFC #7 seed.
Remaining Opponents 21-18: at 4-9 Jets; at 6-7 Bills; vs 11-2 Patriots.
– Eliminated from division title with either a loss or a New England win.
– Eliminated from #5 slot with both (a) a loss, plus (b) a Kansas City win.
– 40% chance of making the playoffs.

6-7 Buffalo Bills
Currently AFC #11 seed.
Remaining Opponents : vs 0-13 Browns; vs 8-5 Dolphins; at 4-9 Jets.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) loss to Browns plus Miami wins; or (b) loss to Browns plus Baltimore wins; or (c) Broncos win.
– 2% chance of making the playoffs.

 

AFC West

10-3 Kansas City Chiefs
Currently AFC #2 seed.
Remaining Opponents 20-19: vs 7-6 Titans; vs 8-5 Broncos; at 5-8 Chargers.
– Clinch a playoff spot with a win.
– Clinch a playoff spot with (a) a Broncos loss, plus either (b) a Baltimore or Pittsburgh loss.
– Clinch at least the #5 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Miami loss.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a New England win.
– 74% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 99% chance of making the playoffs.

10-3 Oakland Raiders
Currently AFC #5 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 5-8 Chargers; vs 6-7 Colts; at 8-5 Broncos.
– Clinch a playoff spot with a win.
– Clinch a playoff spot with (a) a Miami loss, plus (b) either a Pittsburgh or Baltimore loss, plus (c) either a Denver or Kansas City loss.
– Clinch at least the #5 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Denver loss.
– 25% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 99% chance of making the playoffs.

8-5 Denver Broncos
Currently AFC #6 seed.
Remaining Opponents 31-8: vs 11-2 Patriots; at 10-3 Chiefs; at 10-3 Raiders.
– Eliminated from division title with either (a) a loss to Patriots, or (b) a Kansas City win.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with both (a) a loss to Patriots, plus (b) an Oakland win.
– 1% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 38% chance of making the playoffs.

5-8 San Diego Chargers
Currently AFC #13 seed.
Remaining Opponents 20-19: vs 10-3 Raiders; at 0-13 Browns; vs 10-3 Chiefs.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with either (a) a Miami win, or (b) a Denver win, or (c) wins by both Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
– cannot win the AFC West.
– less than 1% chance of making the playoffs.

 

AFC North

8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers
Currently AFC #3 seed.
Remaining Opponents 12-26-1: at 5-7-1 Bengals; vs 7-6 Ravens; vs 0-13 Browns.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either (a) a loss, or (b) a New England win.
– Eliminated from first round bye with (a) a loss, plus (b) either a Kansas City, Oakland or Denver win.
– 80% chance of winning AFC North.
– 87% chance of making the playoffs.

7-6 Baltimore Ravens
Currently AFC #8 seed.
Remaining Opponents 18-20-1: vs 5-8 Eagles; at 8-5 Steelers; at 5-7-1 Bengals.
– Eliminated from first round bye with a loss.
– Eliminated from first round bye with a win by either Kansas City, Oakland or Denver.
– 20% chance of winning AFC North.
– 30% chance of making the playoffs.

5-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals
Currently AFC #12 seed.
Remaining Opponents 18-20-1: vs 8-5 Steelers; at 7-6 Texans; vs 7-6 Ravens.
– Eliminated from division title with a Baltimore win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss to Pittsburgh.
– Eliminated from playoffs with both (a) a Baltimore win, plus either (b) a Miami or Denver win.
– less than 1% chance of winning AFC North or making the playoffs.

 

AFC South

7-6 Houston Texans
Currently AFC #4 seed.
Remaining Opponents 14-24-1: at vs 2-11 Jaguars; vs 5-7-1 Bengals; at 7-6 Titans.
– Eliminated from first round bye with a loss.
– Eliminated from number three seed with either a Kansas City, Oakland or Denver win.
– 78% chance of winning AFC South.
– 79% chance of making the playoffs.

7-6 Tennessee Titans
Currently AFC #9 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 10-3 Chiefs; at 2-11 Jaguars; vs 7-6 Texans.
– Eliminated from first round bye with either (a) a loss, or (b) an Oakland win, or (c) a Denver win.
– Eliminated from number three seed with both (a) a loss, and (b) a Pittsburgh win.
– 21% chance of winning AFC South.
– 23% chance of making the playoffs.

6-7 Indianapolis Colts
Currently AFC #10 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 7-6 Vikings; at 10-3 Raiders; vs 2-11 Jaguars.
– Eliminated from division title with a loss, plus either a Houston or Tennessee win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Miami win, plus (c) either a Houston or Tennessee win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Houston win, plus (c) either a Baltimore or Denver win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Tennessee win, plus (c) either a Baltimore or Denver win.
– 1% chance of winning AFC South.
– 2% chance of making the playoffs.

 

NFC East

11-1 Dallas Cowboys
Currently NFC #1 seed.
Remaining Opponents 22-17: vs 8-5 Buccaneers; vs 9-4 Lions; at 5-8 Eagles.
– Clinch division and first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) Giants lose to Detroit.
– Clinch at least the #5 seed with either a win, or an Atlanta loss.
– 95% chance of winning the NFC East.
– Cowboys clinched a playoff spot in Week 13.

9-4 New York Giants
Currently NFC #5 seed.
Remaining Opponents : vs 9-4 Lions; at 5-8 Eagles; at 7-5-1 Redskins.
– Clinch playoff spot with (a) win vs Detroit, plus (b) losses by Green Bay, Minnesota and Washington.
– Eliminated from first round bye with loss to Detroit.
– Eliminated from division title with both a loss, plus Dallas win.
– 5% chance of winning NFC East.
– 79% chance of making playoffs.

7-5-1 Washington Redskins
Currently NFC #7 seed.
Remaining Opponents 17-22: vs 5-8 Panthers; at 3-10 Bears; vs 9-4 Giants.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with both a loss, plus a Detroit loss to Giants.
– Can not win NFC East.
– 49% chance of making playoffs as wild card.

5-8 Philadelphia Eagles
Currently NFC #13 seed.
Remaining Opponents : at 7-6 Ravens; vs 9-4 Giants; vs 11-2 Cowboys.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a win by either Washington, Atlanta, Green Bay or Minnesota.
– Can not win NFC East.
– less than 1% chance of making playoffs as #6 seed.

 

NFC North

9-4 Detroit Lions
Currently NFC #2 seed.
Remaining Opponents 27-12: at 9-4 Giants; at 11-2 Cowboys; vs 7-6 Packers.
– Clinch NFC North with both a win, plus a Green Bay loss.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with both a loss, plus a Dallas win.
– 73% chance of winning NFC North.
– 80% chance of making playoffs.

7-6 Minnesota Vikings
Currently NFC #8 seed.
Remaining Opponents 16-22: vs 6-7 Colts; at 7-6 Packers; vs 3-10 Bears.
– Eliminated from division title with a loss or a Detroit win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) Tampa Bay and Atlanta wins, plus (c) either a Washington or New York win.
– 5% chance of winning NFC North.
– 12% chance of making playoffs.

7-6 Green Bay Packers
Currently NFC #9 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 3-10 Bears; vs 7-6 Packers; at 9-4 Lions.
– Eliminated from division title with a loss or a Detroit win.
– Eliminated from first round bye with both a loss, plus a win by either Seattle, Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from #3 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Seattle win, plus (c) a win by either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) both Detroit and Washington wins.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) Detroit, Atlanta and Tampa Bay all win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) Detroit, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Washington all win.
– 22% chance of winning NFC North.
– 26% chance of making playoffs.

 

NFC West

8-4-1 Seattle Seahawks
Currently NFC #3 seed.
Remaining Opponents 10-28-1: vs 4-9 Rams; vs 5-7-1 Cardinals; at 1-12 49ers.
– Clinch NFC West with either a win, or an Arizona loss.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either a loss, or a Dallas win.
– 99% chance of winning NFC West.

5-7-1 Arizona Cardinals
Currently NFC #10 seed.
Remaining Opponents 17-21-1: vs 5-8 Saints; at 8-4-1 Seahawks; at 4-9 Rams.
– Eliminated from division title with either a loss or a Seattle win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by Seattle, Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
– 1% chance of making the playoffs.

 

NFC South

8-5 Atlanta Falcons
Currently NFC #4 seed.
Remaining Opponents 11-28: vs 1-12 49ers; at 5-8 Panthers; vs 5-8 Saints.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either a loss, or a Dallas win.
– 75% chance of winning NFC South.
– 91% chance of making playoffs.

8-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Currently NFC #6 seed.
Remaining Opponents 21-18: at 11-2 Cowboys; at 5-8 Saints; vs 5-8 Panthers.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a loss to Dallas.
– 25% chance of winning NFC South.
– 58% chance of making playoffs.

5-8 New Orleans Saints
Currently NFC #11 seed.
Remaining Opponents 21-17-1: at 5-7-1 Cardinals; vs 8-5 Buccaneers; at 8-5 Falcons.
– Eliminated from division title with win by either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by either (a) Atlanta and Tampa Bay, or (b) Atlanta and Washington, or (c) Tampa Bay and Washington.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by (a) Minnesota, plus (b) Green Bay, plus (c) either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– less than 1% chance of making playoffs.

5-8 Carolina Panthers
Currently NFC #12 seed.
Remaining Opponents 23-15-1: at 7-5-1 Redskins; vs 8-5 Falcons; at 8-5 Buccaneers
– Eliminated from division title with win by either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by both Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by (a) Minnesota, plus (b) Green Bay, plus (c) either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– less than 1% chance of making playoffs.

 



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