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Week 15 NFL Playoff Picture: Breaking down the scenarios

Week 15 NFL Playoff Picture: Breaking down the scenarios

The 2016 NFL Season has just three weeks remaining before only 12 teams remain in the hunt for Super Bowl LI.

With Week 14 now officially in the books, we can look ahead to Week 15 playoff berth, division title, bye and homefield advantage scenarios.  We will also look at scenarios in future weeks for those teams that can't clinch any playoff spot this week.

RELATED: RAVENS MIGHT CHECK-DOWN THEIR WAY OUT OF PLAYOFFS

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE:

In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys are officially in and the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears are officially out.

 CLINCHED:   Dallas Cowboys -- playoff berth.

 ELIMINATED: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago.

 
DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas clinches division title and a first-round bye:

1) DAL win + NYG loss or tie

2) DAL tie + NYG loss

Dallas clinches homefield advantage throughout NFC playoffs:

1) DAL win + NYG/DET tie

 
DETROIT LIONS

Detroit clinches division title:

1) DET win + GB loss or tie

2) DET tie + GB loss + MIN loss or tie

 
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Seattle clinches division title:

1) SEA win or tie

2) ARI loss or tie
 

NEW YORK GIANTS

NY Giants clinch a playoff berth:

1) NYG win + WAS loss + MIN loss or tie + GB loss or tie

 

AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

The AFC playoff picture is much less solidified. Any of a number of teams can still procure first round byes.

  CLINCHED:   None

  ELIMINATED: Cleveland, Jacksonville, NY Jets.

 
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches division title:

1) MIA loss or tie

New England clinches division title and a first-round bye:

1) NE win or tie

2) MIA loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

3) MIA loss or tie + KC win

 
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Kansas City clinches a playoff berth:

1) KC win

2) KC tie + MIA loss

3) KC tie + DEN loss or tie

4) DEN loss + BAL loss or tie

5) DEN loss + PIT loss or tie

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Oakland clinches a playoff berth:

1) OAK win

2) OAK tie + MIA loss

3) OAK tie + DEN loss

4) OAK tie + MIA tie + DEN tie

5) OAK tie + MIA tie + KC win

6) MIA loss + PIT loss or tie + DEN loss   

7) MIA loss + PIT loss or tie + KC win or tie

8) MIA loss + BAL loss or tie + DEN loss     

 

TIEBREAKER NOTES AND ANECDOTES:

  • The NY GIANTS win on Sunday night kept both ATLANTA and TAMPA BAY from playoff berth clinching scenarios in Week 15.  Both teams needed WINS plus losses by WASHINGTON, MINNESOTA, GREEN BAY and losses by the NY GIANTS against DALLAS and DETROIT.
  • Assuming no more ties occur, the WASHINGTON REDSKINS will clinch a playoff berth if they win their final three games and any of the following occur:
    • NY GIANTS lose at least once against Detroit and Philadelphia over next two weeks
    • ATLANTA loses once
    • TAMPA BAY loses once
  • For DALLAS to clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs this week, they need a WIN at home on NBC Sunday Night against Tampa Bay AND they need the NY GIANTS-DETROIT game to end in a tie.  This is because they need a WIN + NY Giants loss or tie as a key part of their scenario to win the NFC East AND they would need a DETROIT loss or tie to get tiebreaker advantage over the Lions for #1 seed....and since the GIANTS and LIONS play each other, the COWBOYS need that game to end in a tie.
  • SEATTLE plays a fairly weak schedule the rest of the way (the rest of their division) that has a combined record of 10.5-28.5, which is one key reason I predict the SEAHAWKS will end up as the #2 seed with a Bye in the NFC Playoffs.
  • KANSAS CITY is very strong at home and has their next two games at Arrowhead Stadium against TENNESSEE and DENVER.  If the Chiefs win both games and OAKLAND loses at least one game over the next two weeks (@SD, IND), KC will be the AFC West Champion and will have a first round bye in the playoffs. 
  • PITTSBURGH can clinch the AFC North title and likely the #3 seed in the AFC if they win their next two games at CINCINNATI and hosting BALTIMORE on Christmas Day.
  • On the other hand, BALTIMORE controls its playoff fate for the AFC North Division title as well and can actually clinch the division in two weeks if they win against the EAGLES and at PITTSBURGH (sweep Pennsylvania) and the STEELERS lose at the BENGALS this week.

 

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS FOLLOWING WEEK 14 (same as last week!):

AFC                

  1. New England Patriots        
  2. Kansas City Chiefs        
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers        
  4. Houston Texans            
  5. Oakland Raiders            
  6. Denver Broncos            

NFC

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Detroit Lions
  5. New York Giants
  6. Washington Redskins

Enjoy Week 15 and best of luck to your favorite team!

 

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What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

The Ravens have a problem in the secondary; no one can stay healthy. 

Baltimore suffered season-ending injuries to Iman Marshall and Tavon Young at cornerback and Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott at safety. Cornerback Jimmy Smith hasn’t played since Week 1 with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and Maurice Canady currently has a hamstring injury, coach John Harbaugh said. 

So on Monday, the Ravens traded for cornerback Marcus Peters from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick. 

Peters, 26, is in his fifth year as a pro and is in the final year of his rookie deal that is paying him just over $9 million against the cap this season. 

A true ballhawk, Peters has an NFL-best 24 interceptions since he entered the league in 2015 as a first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Peters was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and was a Second Team All-Pro that season. He was a First Team All-Pro a year later. 

With a host of injuries at cornerback and in the secondary the Ravens will likely use Peters right away opposite Marlon Humphrey, who has been one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks this season. Peters excels at turning the ball over, something safety Earl Thomas did in Seattle and a statistic in which the Ravens coaches have expressed a desire to improve.

The Ravens rank 13th in yards allowed per game, 30th in yards per play against and 25th in pass defense. Peters figures to help out in those departments.

Smith is expected to return sooner rather than later in the secondary, meaning the Ravens will have to find a way to get Humphrey, Peters, Smith and Brandon Carr on the field in a positive way.

And while Peters’ contract is up at the end of the season, the final 10 games could be a tryout to see how he fits into the team’s short-term and long-term plans. Should he impress, it’s not inconceivable the Ravens could re-sign him and make he, Humphrey and Young the team’s top three cornerbacks headed into the 2020 season.

If they don’t, they’ll be awarded a compensatory pick in 2021. As for what round, that will depend on how much Peters signs for. 

Either way, the move is an aggressive one to shore up a notable area of concern for the Ravens this season. It adds a cornerback who has had incredible success in his young career and adds a piece in the secondary to pair opposite Humphrey. 

The price wasn’t hefty, either. The Ravens moved on from Kenny Young, a linebacker who had fallen out of their plans, and a 2020 draft pick, one of many they possess next year. 

It’s a true low-risk, high-reward situation for a team that still thinks it can contend this season.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: 

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6 moments that show how awesome newest Raven Marcus Peters is

6 moments that show how awesome newest Raven Marcus Peters is

Marcus Peters is a Raven now. Baltimore made it official Tuesday when they sent linebacker Kenny Smith and a draft pick to the Rams for the two-time All-Pro.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Peters has plenty of career highlights. It's hard to narrow it down, but here are some of his best.

He's got a game-sealing pick-six on Monday Night Football against the Raiders. He was fined for his "celebration" as he entered the end zone, but at least he was having a good time.

His entrance into the end zone was not nearly as smooth on this pick-six. His path to the goal line was much more difficult and he had to leave the game after this big hit.

Back when he was still with the Kansas City Chiefs, he showed a knack for finding the ball, stripping it from Jamaal Charles, scooping it up and returning it for a touchdown to open the scoring on Monday Night Football against the Broncos.

He also spent a whole game mic'd up, which was genuinely entertaining.

Peters similarly just ripped the ball right out of Kelvin Benjamin's hands, though he didn't return this one for a touchdown.

Most importantly, he's got a competitive attitude.

The Ravens needed reinforcements in their secondary, and Peters and his highlight-reel plays are on the way to help.

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