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Scanning the NFL Playoff Picture Entering Week 16

Here is where the mathematicians make their money talking about football.

There are plenty of scenarios and situations where certain teams can make or miss the playoffs. Several teams have clinched while others look to punch their ticket this week or stay alive in the race.

Let’s take a look at where the standings lie…


1. Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
They still haven’t clinched the division but they can do that with a win or a Giants loss and would also clinch the No. 1 seed. It’s best to take care of business against Detroit on Monday night so Dallas is not facing a situation where they are 12-3 and New York is 11-4 going into the final week.

2. Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1)
The NFC West is theirs. The can finish as high as No. 2 or as low as No. 4. I’m sure the Seahawks would love to get the bye week and get healthy and still maintain home field to return to the NFC Championship.

3. Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
The Falcons are still in good position and are favored to keep themselves in first place in the NFC South over Tampa Bay. However, the one game lead is not exactly safe. The Falcons can clinch the division with a win plus with a Bucs loss. Atlanta actually clinches a playoff berth with a win coupled with the strength of victory tiebreaker over Detroit, which includes a lot of teams or simply a Packers loss in a different scenario.

4. Detroit Lions (9-5)
The loss to the Giants hurts. The Lions now only lead Green Bay by one game and the division crown could come down to week 17 in Detroit. However, the Lions can at least clinch a playoff berth this week with a victory at Dallas on Monday night. With the way Green Bay is playing, it seems unlikely the Lions will win the NFC North this weekend unless they win and the Packers lose at home to Minnesota.

5. New York Giants (10-4)
Coming off a defensively dominating victory the Giants only need a win on Thursday night at Philadelphia to clinch a playoff berth at stay alive for the division until at least Monday. Big Blue will likely stay in the wild card spot but is guaranteed at minimum the 5th seed with a win.

6. Green Bay Packers (8-6)
The Packers are right in the thick of things for a wild card berth or division title. Can actually clinch a playoff berth with a win and losses by Tampa Bay, Washington and Atlanta coupled with the strength of victory tiebreaker over Tampa Bay.

In the Hunt:

Tampa Bay Bucs (8-6)
-The Bucs can’t win the division this week but can actually clinch a spot in the postseason with the following: a win along with Green Bay, Detroit and Washington losing. Unlikely that all 3 bite the dust plus Tampa Bay still needs to beat New Orleans in the Super-Dome.

Washington Redskins (7-6-1)
-Loss on Monday night hurts. They need to win out and for A LOT to happen.

Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
-A lot needs to happen but it’s pretty simple. The Vikings cannot win the North but can sneak in via wild card by winning out (At Green Bay and Vs. Chicago) along with Tampa Bay losing out and Washington losing one more game.

New Orleans Saints (6-8)
-Saints need to win out and much more. Don’t expect this team in the playoffs in what could be one of the final years of the Sean Payton/Drew Brees pairing.

Carolina Panthers (6-8)
-The Panthers need to win out as well and need so many things to happen it’s impossible to comprehend. It’s safe to say Carolina is not making the playoffs considering they need the Redskins need to actually tie one of their remaining games to help the Panthers.


1. New England Patriots (12-2)
The Patriots are close. They can clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and a loss from the Raiders. No new news here.

2. Oakland Raiders (11-3)
Because Kansas City swept them, Oakland will need a win and a Chiefs loss in order to clinch the division AND a first round bye. As long as the Raiders do not finished tied with the Chiefs, they will win the division and likely get the first round bye.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
Win and they’re in. It is that simple for the Steelers who will win the AFC North with a victory at home over the Ravens.

4. Houston Texans (8-6)
The Texans are in a tough spot. They are struggling offensively and will now go to backup quarterback Tom Savage to get Houston to the playoffs. A win and a Titans loss will clinch the AFC South.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
As long as Kansas City wins this week, they will clinch a playoff berth. I think we can expect to see an Andy Reid led team back in the postseason.

6. Miami Dolphins (9-5)
Believe it or not, I will be completely proven wrong about the Dolphins as they can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Denver loss to Kansas City. Yes, that is with Matt Moore…the backup quarterback.

In the Hunt:

Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
-The Ravens need this game against Pittsburgh to have a chance to win the division, otherwise they’ll likely be playing golf down south come January.

Tennessee Titans (8-6)
-The Titans could snag the wild card on some mathematical possibility but they will easily make the playoffs by winning out. They control their own destiny which would end in a division title winning game over Houston in Week 17.

Denver Broncos (8-6)
-Denver has a tough end to the schedule and will need to win out and get some help from the teams above them losing.

Indianapolis Colts (7-7)
-It is division or bust for the Indy Andrew Luck’s.

Buffalo Bills (7-7)
-Uhhh no.

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Nick is an NFL Analyst at as well as the Philadelphia Soul Beat Writer.
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