The NFL playoff picture is starting to solidify.
After last week’s slate of games several teams clinched postseason berths, while some squads secured division titles and others kept their hopes alive with a much-needed victory.
That means that there’s even more potential for playoff-clinching wins this week and things are about to get dramatic as several teams battle it out for strength of victory and tiebreaker contention.
Let’s break it all down, complete with every possible mathematical tiebreaker, possible playoff seed and potential postseason scenario. This is going to be fun.
1. New England Patriots
Record: 12-3; Current seed in AFC: No. 1; Week 16 matchup: Lost 26-20 to New York Jets in OT; Playoff Picture: Yes, losing to the Jets on the road wasn’t ideal. But (and this is a big but), the Patriots are still very much in control. New England would clinch the No. 1 seed and home-field throughout the playoffs with a win next week or a Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos loss.
2. New York Jets
Record: 10-5; Current seed in AFC: No. 6; Week 16 matchup: Won 26-20 vs. New England Patriots in OT; Playoff Picture: The Jets grabbed back some serious postseason control thanks to their OT win and the Pittsburgh Steelers loss. New York can secure a Wild Card berth next week with a win over the Buffalo Bills or a Steelers loss.
3. Buffalo Bills
Record: 7-8; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Won 16-6 vs. Dallas Cowboys; Playoff Picture: The Bills postseason hopes ended with last week’s loss to the Washington Redskins and even Rex Ryan knows that changes are coming, including, maybe some to his own coaching position.
4. Miami Dolphins
Record: 5-10; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Lost 18-12 to Indianapolis Colts; Playoff Picture: The Dolphins are looking at a fairly dramatic offseason. It all starts with finding a new head coach and odds seem fairly low that Miami will retain interim Dan Campbell.
1. Denver Broncos
Record: 11-4; Current seed in AFC: No. 2; Week 16 matchup: Won 20-17 vs. Cincinnati Bengals in OT; Playoff Picture: The Broncos got dramatic on Monday night, but the OT victory over the Cincinnati Bengals secured a postseason berth. It also made things very interesting heading into Week 17. Denver can now clinch the West with a win next week, and a first-round bye with a Bengals loss to the Baltimore Ravens and a Kansas City Chiefs loss or tie. The Broncos can even clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC, really, with a New England Patriots loss to the Miami Dolphins.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Record: 10-5; Current seed in AFC: No. 5; Week 16 matchup: Won 17-13 vs. Cleveland Brons; Playoff Picture: The Chiefs clinched a Wild Card berth with a victory on Sunday afternoon and the Pittsburgh Steelers loss at the Baltimore Ravens. Kansas City is in the driver’s seat for the No. 5 seed because of a better conference record than the New York Jets. Don’t count ’em out of the West either. A win next week and a Denver Broncos loss could win the division.
3. Oakland Raiders
Record: 7-8; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Won 23-20 vs. San Diego Chargers; Playoff Picture: Well, Charles Woodson went out of Oakland with a win. The Raiders held on in OT with one of the craziest wins of the season on Christmas Eve. “I guess it had to end like that,” Woodson said. “It was a little much for me. I would have rather it had been a lopsided victory and we blew them out. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
4. San Diego Chargers
Record: 4-11; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Lost 23-20 to Oakland Raiders; Playoff Picture: It hasn’t been fun for the Chargers. San Diego dropped a 23-20 OT matchup to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night in a game that kind of describes the team’s entire season. Losses in close games.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Record: 11-3; Current seed in AFC: No. 3; Week 16 matchup: Lost 20-17 to Denver Broncos in OT; Playoff Picture: The Bengals got a much-needed victory last week and, by extension, clinched a playoff berth as well last week. The Monday night loss didn’t do much to change anything, but Cincinnati can still clinch a first-round playoff bye with a win against the Baltimore Ravens and a Denver Broncos loss in Week 17.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 9-6; Current seed in AFC: In the Hunt; Week 16 matchup: Lost 20-17 to Baltimore Ravens; Playoff Picture: The Steelers now need some help. After losing to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon, Pittsburgh needs a win at the Cleveland Browns next week and either a New York Jets loss or two more Denver Broncos losses. The Steelers would be eliminated with a loss at Cleveland or a New York victory.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Record: 5-10; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Won 20-17 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers; Playoff Picture: It’s been a tough year for the Baltimore Ravens. But there’s reason to be slightly optimistic. Despite his decision to retire at the end of this season, rumors are swirling that Steve Smith Sr. may attempt a 2016 comeback after injury cut his year short this fall. That’s, at least, some good news.
4. Cleveland Browns
Record: 3-12; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Lost 17-13 to Kansas City Chiefs; Playoff Picture: There are a lot of questions these Browns have to answer during the offseason. Cleveland has been re-tooling and reworking things for years now, but is that the right approach? Should the Browns work with what they’ve got or head back to the drawing board? Again?
1. Houston Texans
Record: 8-7; Current seed in AFC: No. 4; Week 16 matchup: Won 34-6 vs. Tennessee Titans; Playoff Picture: The Texans are still a game short of the South thanks to the Colts win on Sunday. Houston would clinch the division with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Week 17. Or the Indianapolis Colts can lose, the Cincinnati Bengals can win, the New York Jets can win, the New Orleans Saints can win, the Denver Broncos can lose or the Miami Dolphins can lose. So, Houston has some options.
2. Indianapolis Colts
Record: 7-8; Current seed in AFC: In the Hunt; Week 16 matchup: Won 18-12 vs. Miami Dolphins; Playoff Picture: The Colts aren’t out of it yet. They can clinch the South with a win against the Tennessee Titans and a Houston Texans loss next week. Plus some other stuff. That includes a Bengals loss, a Jets loss, a Saints loss, a Broncos win, a Dolphins win and a Chiefs loss. It’s going to be hard.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Record: 5-9; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Lost 38-27 to New Orleans Saints; Playoff Picture: The Jaguars were officially eliminated, after holding on for much longer than anyone really expected, thanks to the Houston Texans victory on Saturday.
4. Tennessee Titans
Record: 3-12; Current seed in AFC: Not In; Week 16 matchup: Lost 34-6 to Houston Texans; Playoff Picture: There are only two games left, but according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Marcus Mariota will miss both of them after suffering an MCL sprain to his right knee in Week 15.
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