Week 16 NFL Playoff Scenarios

The National Football League's 2010 season is winding down and as the season winds down, games take on added urgency. The teams meant to stick around for the postseason will begin their playoff run today. Teams like the Indianapolis Colts, while controlling their own destiny, could still be one loss away from missing the playoffs entirely. As of this week, the Patriots and Steelers are the only teams in the AFC to clinch a playoff spot.

While muddled in terms of seeding, the rest of the playoffs could literally fall into place this weekend.

Here's the playoff scenarios broken down by the NFL

The New England Patriots can clinch the AFC East AND Homefield Advantage with:

  1. A win over the Buffalo Bills OR
  2. A New York Jets loss to the Chicago Bears

The Pittsburgh Steelers can clinch the AFC North and a first-round bye with:

  1. A win over the Carolina Panthers AND
  2. A Baltimore Ravens loss to the Cleveland Browns

The Kansas City Chiefs can clinch the AFC West with:

  1. A win over the Tennessee Titans and a San Diego loss or tie OR
  2. A Kansas City tie and a San Diego loss

The Baltimore Ravens can clinch a playoff spot with:

  1. A win over the Cleveland Browns OR
  2. Kansas City loss + Jacksonville loss or tie OR
  3. Kansas City loss + Indianapolis loss or tie OR
  4. San Diego loss or tie + Jacksonville loss or tie OR
  5. San Diego loss or tie + Indianapolis loss or tie

The New York Jets can clinch a playoff spot with:

  1. A win over the Chicago Bears OR
  2. A Jacksonville loss or tie OR
  3. Indianapolis loss or tie

So basically, if the Patriots and Steelers win, they'll have the top two seeds and the first round byes. If the Chiefs win and San Diego loses, the Chiefs win the AFC West. And if both the Ravens and Jets win, they both clinch a playoff spot, which will most likely be the two wild card spots. The only playoff spot that can't be determined this weekend is the AFC South Championship between the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.

As for the NFC.

Atlanta Falcons can clinch NFC South and homefield advantage with:

  1. A win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football

The Philadelphia Eagles can clinch the NFC East with:

  1. A win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football OR
  2. A tie and a New York Giants loss or tie to the Green Bay Packers OR
  3. A New York Giants loss to the Green Bay Packers

The Philadelphia Eagles can clinch a playoff spot with:

  1. An Eagles tie with Minnesota OR
  2. Tampa Bay loss or tie

The Chicago Bears can clinch a first-round bye with:

  1. A win over the New York Jets AND
  2. A Philadelphia Eagles loss to the Minnesota Vikings AND
  3. A New York Giants loss to the Green Bay Packers

The New Orleans Saints can clinch a playoff spot with:

  1. A win over the Atlanta Falcons OR
  2. Tampa Bay loss

The New York Giants can clinch a playoff spot with:

  1. A win over the Green Bay Packers
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