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NFL Playoff Picture: Updated post-TNF elimination & clinching scenarios!

We entered Week 14 with 31 teams still alive for the playoffs, yet with


We entered Week 14 with 31 teams still alive for the playoffs, yet with eleven teams facing elimination from postseason contention. That changed after a big Thursday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals. The Vikings held the #5 seed in the NFC, which they still do; a win or tie would have put some teams on the brink of elimination, depending on how Sunday’s games went. Now, two teams have gotten reprieves and cannot be eliminated from the wild card race this weekend, while three teams now control their fate, at least for another week, where they didn’t before. Additionally, the Cardinals’ victory means that they have secured themselves at least a wild card spot, so that leaves just ten of the twelve playoff spots let to fill! So, without further ado, here’s the new elimination & clinching scenarios for the rest of Week 14, as well as the current playoff seedings in each conference:  

WILD CARD ELIMINATION SCENARIOS

AFC

Already eliminated:

  • Cleveland Browns
  • Tennessee Titans

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have a tough task to make the playoffs, with a very specific scenario with a huge number of moving parts. They would not only need to win all their remaining games, but two other teams to lose all their remaining games, one other team to lose all but their final game of the season, and another team to win exactly three of their final four games, all in order to set up a four-way tie between the Chargers, Bills, Steelers and Jaguars. The Chargers could then win on a strength-of-victory tiebreaker, depending on how the rest of the season plays out. For that reason, they will be eliminated if any of the following happen:

  • Chargers tie or loss, OR
  • Steelers tie or win, OR
  • Jets tie or win, OR
  • Bills tie or win, OR
  • Jaguars loss, OR
  • Texans win + Colts win

 

Baltimore Ravens

Would be eliminated with:

  • Ravens loss + two of: Chiefs tie or win OR Jets tie or win OR Steelers tie or win; OR
  • Ravens tie + two of: Chiefs win OR Jets win OR Steelers win

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Would be eliminated with:

  • Jets win + Chiefs win, OR
  • Jaguars tie + Steelers win + Chiefs tie or win, OR
  • Jaguars tie + Steelers win + Jets tie or win, OR
  • Jaguars loss + Jets tie or win, OR
  • Jaguars loss + Steelers tie or win

 

Miami Dolphins

Would be eliminated with:

  • Dolphins loss + Chiefs win + Jets win

 

Oakland Raiders

Would be eliminated with:

  • Raiders loss + Jets loss or tie + Chiefs win + Steelers win

  Cannot be eliminated from a Wild Card spot this weekend:

  • Houston Texans
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • New York Jets
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • New England Patriots
  • Denver Broncos
  • Cincinnati Bengals

NFC

San Francisco 49ers

Would be eliminated with:

  • 49ers loss, OR
  • 49ers tie + Seahawks win or tiee

If the Vikings had won or tied last night, then the 49ers would have been eliminated with a Seahawks win, even if the 49ers had won their game on Sunday. Now, a win on Sunday against the Browns will keep them alive for another week.  

Dallas Cowboys

Would be eliminated with:

  • Cowboys loss, OR
  • Cowboys tie + Seahawks win or tiee

If the Vikings had won or tied last night, then the Cowboys would have been eliminated with a Seahawks win, even if the Cowboys had won their game on Sunday. Now, a win on Sunday against the Packers will keep them alive for a wild card spot for another week. The Cowboys can still win the NFC East.  

New Orleans Saints

Would be eliminated with:

  • Saints loss, OR
  • Saints tie + Seahawks win or tiee

If the Vikings had won or tied last night, then the Saints would have been eliminated with a Seahawks win, even if the Saints had won their game on Sunday. Now, a win on Sunday against the Bucs will keep them alive for another week.  

Detroit Lions

Would be eliminated with:

  • Lions loss, OR
  • Lions tie + Seahawks win or tie, OR
  • Seahawks win

 

St. Louis Rams

Would be eliminated with:

  • Rams loss + Seahawks tie or win, OR
  • Rams tie + Seahawks win

  Cannot be eliminated this week:

  • New York Giants
  • Chicago Bears (Would have faced elimination if Vikings had won or tied last night)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (Would have faced elimination if Vikings had won or tied last night)
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Washington Redskins
  • Green Bay Packers

Already secured a playoff place:

  • Arizona Cardinals (at least a wild card spot)
  • Carolina Panthers (clinched NFC South)

 

DIVISION ELIMINATION SCENARIOS

AFC

Already eliminated:

  • Cleveland Browns
  • San Diego Chargers
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Oakland Raiders
  • Buffalo Bills

Tennessee Titans

Would be eliminated with:

  • Titans tie or loss, OR
  • Colts win, OR
  • Texans win

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Would be eliminated with:

  • Jaguars loss

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Would be eliminated with:

  • Steelers tie or loss

 

New York Jets

Would be eliminated with:

  • Jets loss + Patriots win or tie, OR
  • Jets tie + Patriots win

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Would be eliminated with:

  • Chiefs loss + Broncos win or tie, OR
  • Chiefs tie + Broncos win

  Cannot be eliminated this week:

  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • New England Patriots
  • Denver Broncos
  • Cincinnati Bengals

 

NFC

Already eliminated:

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Detroit Lions
  • St. Louis Rams
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Chicago Bears

Would be eliminated with:

  • Bear tie or loss, OR
  • Packers win or tie

 

Seattle Seahawks

Would be eliminated with:

  • Seahawks tie or loss

  Cannot be eliminated this week:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • New York Giants
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Washington Redskins
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Arizona Cardinals

Already clinched their division:

  • Carolina Panthers

 

CLINCHING SCENARIOS

AFC

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals would clinch the AFC North with:

  • Bengals win or tie

The Bengals would clinch a playoff spot with:

  • Jets loss, OR
  • Chiefs loss

 

New England Patriots

The Patriots would clinch the AFC East with:

  • Patriots win + two of the following: Bills win, Steelers win, Dolphins loss, Browns loss, OR
  • Patriots win + Jets loss or tie, OR
  • Patriots tie + Jets tie + two of the following: Bills win, Steelers win, Dolphins loss, Browns loss, OR
  • Jets loss + two of the following: Bills win, Steelers win, Dolphins loss, Browns loss

The Patriots would clinch a playoff spot with:

  • Patriots win, OR
  • Steelers loss, OR
  • Jets loss, OR
  • Patriots tie + Chiefs loss, OR
  • Steelers tie + Steelers loss, OR
  • Patriots tie + Jets tie

 

Denver Broncos

The Broncos would clinch the AFC West with:

  • Broncos win + Chiefs loss or tie, OR
  • Broncos tie + Chiefs loss

The Broncos would clinch a playoff spot with:

  • Broncos win + Jets loss or tie, OR
  • Broncos win + Steelers loss or tie, OR
  • Broncos tie + Jets loss, OR
  • Broncos tie + Steelers loss

 

NFC

Already clinched:

  • Carolina Panthers, NFC South

 

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers would clinch a first-round bye with:

  • Panthers win or tie, OR
  • Vikings loss or tie + Packers loss or tie

 

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals would clinch the NFC West with:

  • Seahawks loss or tie

 

PLAYOFF PICTURE

AFC

In the picture

#1 – Cincinnati Bengals (.833) #2 – Denver Broncos (.833) #3 – New England Patriots (.833) The Bengals have a better record within the conference (.889) than the Patriots (.875) or the Broncos (.750). The Broncos own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Patriots. #4 – Indianapolis Colts (.500) The Colts own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Texans, who are tied for the same record #5 – Kansas City Chiefs (.583) #6 – New York Jets (.583)

In the hunt

#7 – Pittsburgh Steelers (.583) The Chiefs have a better record within the conference (.750) than the Jets (.556) or the Steelers (.500). The Jets have a better record within the conference than the Steelers. #8 – Buffalo Bills (.500) #9 – Houston Texans (.500) The Bills own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Texans. #10 – Oakland Raiders (.417) #11 – Miami Dolphins (.417) The Raiders have a better record within the conference (.556) than the Dolphins (.333). #12 – Jacksonville Jaguars (.333) #13 – Baltimore Ravens (.333) The Jaguars own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Ravens #14 – San Diego Chargers (.250) #15 – Tennessee Titans (.250) The Chargers have a better record within the conference (.250) than the Titans (.125) #16 – Cleveland Browns (.167)  

NFC

In the picture

#1 – Carolina Panthers (1.000) CLINCHED – NFC South #2 – Arizona Cardinals (.846) CLINCHED – playoff spot #3 – Green Bay Packers (.667) #4 – Washington Redskins (.417) There is a three-way tie between Washington, the Eagles and the Giants. The Giants have a worse record in the division (.400) than Washington (.500) or the Eagles (.500), eliminating them from the tie. Washington own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles. #5 – Minnesota Vikings (.615) #6 – Seattle Seahawks (.583)

In the hunt

#7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.500) #8 – Atlanta Falcons (.500) The Bucs own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Falcons #9 – Philadelphia Eagles (.417) #10 – New York Giants (.417) #11 – Chicago Bears (.417) As there are two teams from the same division, one of them must be eliminated from the three-way tie first. The Eagles own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Giants. The Eagles have a better record within the conference (.333) than the Bears (.250). The Giants have a better record within the conference (.444) than the Bears. #12 – St Louis Rams (.333) #13 – Detroit Lions (.333) #14 – New Orleans Saints (.333) #15 – San Francisco 49ers (.333) #16 – Dallas Cowboys (.333) As there are two teams from the same division, one of them must be eliminated from the initial five-way tie. The Rams own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the 49ers. The Rams have a better Strength of Victory (.499) than the Lions (.480), Saints (.438) and Cowboys (.417). The Lions have a better record within the conference (.375) than the Saints (.333), Cowboys (.300) and 49ers (.300). The Saints have a better record within the conference than the Cowboys or 49ers. The 49ers have a better Strength of Victory (.467) than the Cowboys.  

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Gur Samuel

Hi! I'm Gur and I'm RealSport's Editor-in-Chief. I'm also currently the site's tennis editor, and contribute to our NFL, wrestling and Formula 1 coverage as well. I'm also an NFL analyst for CNN International and contributor to SB Nation, and have contributed to, or been interviewed by, various print, broadcast and online media, including the BBC, Mail Online, ABC, NBC, CBS, the Boston Globe, and Yahoo! Sports.

NFL Playoff Picture: Updated post-TNF elimination & clinching scenarios!

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