It’s the last weekend in the NFL and there are still a lot of crazy outcomes we could have pertaining to the playoffs which begin the weekend of January 5th. It’s crunch time, put up or shut up time for those teams on the bubble, and Sunday’s outcomes could well determine which NFL coaches are staying, and which ones are heading home next week (permanently).
Here is the complete list of NFL playoffs possibilities. This includes who is IN, who is alive, and what needs to happen for each team to still be playing next weekend.
Our NFL playoffs call at this time is for a Ravens / Saints Super Bowl match-up, but anything can happen in the coming weeks.
In the AFC first :
Chiefs (11-4): The Chiefs are in the driver’s seat for winning the West and securing the # 1 seed in the AFC. They only need to beat the lowly Raiders to do this. If by chance they fail (which they won’t), they can still win the west if the Chargers lose to the mediocre Broncos (which they won’t). A loss to the Raiders would blow the division which they have led all year, as well as blowing the # 1 seed and double home field advantage.
Patriots (10-5): The Patriots have clinched the pathetic AFC east yet again. 16 straight years we have been waiting for a serious challenger, but year after year the Jets, the Bills and the Dolphins do little, and the Patriots coast in with another division title. The Patriots close against the bland Jets, and a win will give them a first round bye. They can still get the # 1 seed if they win, the Chargers lose, and the Chiefs lose (that won’t be happening, so the Patriots will be the # 2 seed).
Texans (10-5): They Texans have had a great year and are already in the playoffs. They clinch the AFC south by beating the surprisingly poor Jaguars. If they lose they will drop to the # 6 seed most likely, unless the Colts and Titans tie. They can get a 1st round bye if they win and the Patriots lose to the Jets. Incredibly the Texans can still get the # 1 seed if they win, the Patriots lose, and the Chiefs lose (don’t hold your breath on that one).
Ravens (9-6): The Ravens are on a roll, possessing the best defense in the NFL. Personally I think they are a threat to make the Super Bowl, the defense is that imposing. Memories of 2000 are stirring in the air. This could be the team to beat in the NFL for the next 5-6 years. Keeping Harbaugh as coach was a good move.
The Ravens can win the AFC North with a win over the surging Browns, who incredibly are looking for their 8th win. This is not a lock for the Ravens, should be a great battle here. The Ravens can still win the division by tying the Browns if the Steelers also tie the Bengals (both highly unlikely outcomes). The Ravens can still get in as a wild card if they tie the Browns and the Colts and Titans tie. Incredibly the Ravens can still get a 1st round bye if they beat the Browns and the Pats and Texans lose, and there is a non-tie in the Colts-Titans game. Very confusing !
Chargers (11-4): The Chargers will win the AFC West if they beat the Broncos (which they will), and the Chiefs do not beat the Raiders. A tie against the Broncos also wins the division if the Chiefs lose. If the Chargers win the division they secure the # 1 seed. They are in the playoffs as the wild card if they don’t win the division.
Titans (9-6): The Titans are in the playoffs if they can beat the Colts, no easy task as the Colts have played great the 2nd half of the season. If the Texans lose and the Titans win will give Tennessee the AFC South title. The Titans can still get a 1st round bye incredibly by beating the Colts, and having the Texans, Patriots and Ravens all lose.
Colts (9-6): The Colts are another very dangerous team playing their best. They are in the playoffs if they beat the Titans. If the Texans lose and the Colts win will give the Colts the AFC South championship. A Colts tie gets them into the playoffs if the Steelers lose or tie, or if the Ravens lose.
Steelers (8-6-1): The Steelers clinch the AFC North with a win over the Bengals and a Ravens loss to or tie with the Browns. The Steelers can also secure a wild card berth if they beat Cincinnati and the Colts and Titans game winds up in a tie.
If you are not confused yet (which I surely am), let’s take a look now at the stronger conference, the NFC.
Saints (13-2): This one is easy, the New Orleans Saints are the # 1 seed in the NFC. They are clearly the favorites to win the conference, and are the odds on favorite at this time to win their 2nd Super Bowl in 10 years.
Rams (12-3): The imposing, high-octane NFC West champions will secure a 1st round bye and the No. 2 seed with a win over the 49ers or a Bears loss to the Vikings. If the Rams lose and the Bears win, the Rams will fall to the No. 3 seed, since they lost to the Bears earlier. A Rams tie or a Bears tie will also give the Rams the No. 2 seed.
Bears (11-4): The highly dangerous NFC North champion Bears, possessing one of the top defenses in the league, can secure the # 2 seed if they beat the Vikings in Minnesota, and the Rams lose to the 49ers. Any other outcome leaves them as the # 3 seed with a home field game next weekend, quite possibly against the same Vikings they are playing on Sunday.
Cowboys (9-6): This one is easy also, as the NFC East champion Cowboys are locked in as the No. 4 seed. They also have a home game coming up next weekend.
Seahawks (9-6): The hard to figure but dangerous Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth no matter what happens on Sunday. If they beat or tie Arizona the Hawks are the # 5 seed. If the Seahawks lose and the Vikings beat Chicago, the Seahawks would be the No. 6 seed behind the Vikings.
Vikings (8-6-1): The Vikings will clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Bears, or with an Eagles loss to Washington. A tie in either game will also get them in. They are the # 5 seed if they beat the Bears and the Seahawks lose. The Vikings have run up 68 points in 2 games with their new offensive coordinator, and they remain a difficult team to figure out, loaded with talent on both ends of the ball, but possibly being under-coached by Mike Zimmer.
Eagles (8-7): The defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles will be the No. 6 seed only if they beat Washington and the Vikings lose to the Bears. This is clearly possible as the Eagles are on another Nick Foles run, and if by chance they sneak into the playoffs, all bets are off.
We hope everyone enjoys the upcoming NFL playoffs !