With games spread out all over the place during the weekend, you can tell that we are coming towards the end of the NFL season. I can’t remember an NFL Sunday where so many playoff scenarios were settled, with various results seeing teams either qualify for the postseason, or be eliminated from the playoffs. With Week 15 almost in the books, let’s look at who are keeping their playoff hopes alive, and who’s fell by the wayside: 1. A game with big playoff implications was as close as predicted before hand. Eventually, it was the Steelers that ran out winners by a score of 34-27. The game was close late, with the game tied at 27-all with just under four minute remaining. A Brock Osweiler interception and a resulting Antonio Brown touchdown put the Steelers ahead for the go ahead score, and the Broncos couldn’t respond. Osweiler had a strong first half, throwing for two touchdowns and running one in himself as the Broncos took 27-13 half time lead. The Steelers responded with 24 unanswered points as for the second game running, the Broncos offense stalled for the entire second half. Even a late Brandon Marshall interception on an ill-advised Ben Roethlisberger throw at the two minute mark couldn’t spark a Broncos score. That result means that the New England Patriots clinch a first round bye in the playoffs, while the Steelers keep their slim hopes of winning the AFC North alive, the same day the Bengals wrapped up a playoff spot with their win over the San Francisco 49ers. If that wasn’t enough, the Steelers leapfrogged the New York Jets to be the number six seed, thanks to the common opponents tie-breaker rule. 2. In a contender for game of the weekend, the Carolina Panthers’ undefeated streak prevailed amidst serious duress from the New York Giants. After amassing a 35-7 lead, the Panthers saw the Giants score 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to reduce the deficit to 35-all, before a late Graham Gano sealed a close fought victory for Carolina. That win confirmed a spot in the playoffs for the Green Bay Packers, and also prevented the Giants from staying in first place in the NFC East. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham was held without a catch at half time for the first time in his career, while he was pursued by cornerback Josh Norman. Their battle threatened to turn explosive at times, with both players becoming physical with each other more than once in dead ball situations. However, despite Beckham’s tying touchdown grab, it would be Norman who would get the last laugh with the victory for the Panthers. 3. Having just learned of their confirmation in the playoffs, the Packers would have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas against the Oakland Raiders in terrible conditions. However, when a division is still up for grabs, that’s not how it works in the NFL. They grabbed two early interceptions of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to spring them into an early lead and eventually ran out 30-20 winners. Carr sprang back well from his two mistakes early to throw for two touchdowns of his own, but in the end it wasn’t enough for Oakland, as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. 2015 will be remembered as the year that two struggling franchises, the Raiders and the Jaguars, seemed to turn the corner, but still didn’t quite have enough to make the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers and co. will be back in, and will be in an even stronger position if they can wrap up the NFC North. 4. The Texans will look down on the rest of the AFC South with a smile on Monday morning. Houston won for the first time in Indianapolis as they bested the Colts 16-10. It looked like the game was going to be decided by two early turnovers that were given up by the Texans, and it got even worse when quarterback T.J Yates left game with a knee injury, being replaced by former Browns and Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden. Yates only started the game due to the concussion symptoms of Brian Hoyer, and the Texans were left with punter Shane Lechler to back up Weeden. Neither shone, but Weeden did enough to guide the Texans to three field goals and a touchdown to Jaelen Strong to seal the win. The Texans are now 7-7 but still need to win both remaining games to be sure of secure the AFC South. The Colts fall to 6-8, have lost three straight games, and need help to make the postseason. 5. Arizona new that if they beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, they would wrap up the NFC West for the first time since 2009. A 40-17 victory did just that, as the Cardinals won their eighth successive game. It say much about this team that quarterback Carson Palmer can dislocate a finger, leave the game to get it taped up, return and throw a touchdown pass to John Brown like it was nothing to make the game 30-10. The next series saw Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford throw a pick-six to start the fourth quarter, sealing the game for the Cardinals. David Johnson had a big game from the running back position in the absence of Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson, rumbling and stumbling his way to a late second quarter touchdown run, plowing through Eagles defenders like they were made of styrofoam. The Eagles loss gave the Washington Redskins sole possession of first place in the NFC East, but the Eagles do have them and the New York Giants left to play. That division isn’t over yet. An interesting side note was the use of running back DeMarco Murray. He was held without a rush until midway through the third quarter. Something isn’t right there. 6. The Jaguars‘ faint playoff hopes are over, after they lost to the Atlanta Falcons 23-17. For the Falcons, it was their first win since October 25th, having lost six straight games, sending them to 7-7 after a 5-0 and 6-1 start. Even more remarkably, it was Julio Jones’, who leads the NFL in reception yards, first score in seven games. In the absence of T.J Yeldon, Blake Bortles led the Jaguars in rushing yards, with Denard Robinson failing to pick up much of the slack. It was Bortles’ red-zone interception that hurt the Jaguars most, almost throwing a pick-six, but ultimately costing the Jaguars seven points. It’s been an exciting year for Jacksonville fans, but they are primed to spend another offseason plotting on how to return to the playoffs. 7. Kirk Cousins added more water to the opinion that the Redskins should offer him a good contract in the offseason, thanks to a four touchdown decimation of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. It’s clear that Cousins has been the best option to lead a Jay Gruden offense, and with a full season to display it, Cousins has flourished. On Sunday, they scored a touchdown on their first three possessions, opening up a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, which proved too much for the Bills to overcome. Cousins also ran for a score to add icing on the cake to a wonderful virtuoso performance. With the win, the Redskins kept themselves at the top of the NFC East, while the Bills are guaranteed to miss the playoffs for the sixteenth straight season, the longest active drought in the NFL. 8. Eight straight wins for Kansas City, as the Chiefs brushed off the feeble Baltimore Ravens 34-14. The games was closer in reality than on paper, but it was turnovers from Baltimore that costed them dearly, with the Chiefs able to convert every one into points. Running back Javorius Allen fumbled for the second straight game, which was scooped up by the Chiefs safety Tyvon Branch for a 73 yard score. Later in the game, Ravens quarterback Jimmy Clausen threw a pick-six to Marcus Peters to seal the Ravens fate. There was a bright spot with the Ravens closing out the first half with a nice Hail Mary throw to wide receiver Kamar Aiken for a score, with him having the best receiving day of his career. However, the Ravens are simply hurting in too many key positions to stay competitive in games, with the Chiefs remaining the hottest team in football right now. 9. The playoffs will once again feature the Seattle Seahawks. They confirmed their spot in the postseason with a 30-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns, while cementing their status as the team that nobody will want to face in January. Russell Wilson threw three more touchdown passes as one was left to wonder if Mike Pettine’s “Wilson is not an elite level QB” declaration earlier in the week was bulletin board material. Doug Baldwin came up big once again with his quarterback, hauling in two of the three touchdown passes. The Browns were disappointing, though Gary Barnidge tied Ozzie Newsome’s touchdowns in a season for a tight-end record. Isaiah Crowell, who had over 100-yards rushing last week, was held to a disappointing 23 yards on just nine carries, as the Browns running game never really got going. With the Chargers victory over the Dolphins, it is now between the Titans and Browns for the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. 10. Teddy Bridgewater guided the Minnesota Vikings to a 38-17 victory over NFC North foes the Chicago Bears, to keep them right in the thick of the playoff spots. Bridgewater entered the game on Sunday having thrown just nine touchdowns all season, but threw for four on Sunday against a poor Bears secondary. A worrying sight for Vikings fans would have been running back Adrian Peterson hobbling off in the second half. However, he later returned to compile 63 yards on 18 carries. The NFC North is not settled yet, and may not be over until the Vikings clash with Packers on Week 17.