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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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Ravens held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

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Ravens held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

The Ravens organization held a team-wide moment of silence on Thursday to in honor of George Floyd, whose funeral took place on Thursday as well.

According to a statement released by the team on Twitter, the moment of silence took place at 3:45 p.m. ET and lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The timeframe was the same length as how long Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck, restricting him of air and ultimately causing him to die.

The gesture by the team was in accordance with the NAACP and other organizations that deemed Floyd's funeral on Thursday as a "National Day of Mourning." 

Ravens fullback Pat Ricard shared a message head coach John Harbaugh had written to the team informing them of the moment of silence. Taking place through Zoom, Harbaugh hoped that players and their families would join in to honor Floyd.

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Shannon Sharpe says Drew Brees should retire after anthem comments

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Shannon Sharpe says Drew Brees should retire after anthem comments

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees drew criticism on Wednesday after saying he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country" when asked his thoughts about players kneeling during the national anthem. 

Several DMV athletes like Ed Reed and Mark Ingram shared their thoughts on Twitter. Many of Brees' teammates, such as Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Emmanuel Sanders, along with many others, all voiced their dismay and disappointment of Brees' comments.

Former Baltimore Ravens tight end and co-host of FS1's Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe, spoke about why he disagreed with the quarterback's comments, saying that Brees should hang up the cleats as a result.

"I don't know what Drew is gonna do, but he probably should just go ahead and retire now," Sharpe said. "It will never be the same.

"Take it from a guy who's been a leader in the locker room for a number of years," Sharpe continued. "At every step, I've been the leader in the locker room. What he said, they will never look at him the same. It wasn't what he said, it's how he said it. It was the fire. I will NEVER respect the man."

Brees issued a long apology on Instagram on Thursday. He wrote that he recognizes that he can be "part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement" and vowed to "fight for what's right."

But for Sharpe, Brees' apology doesn't make up for the quarterback's initial comments.

"Brees still just doesn't seem to get it. He issued an apology, but it's meaningless," Sharpe said. "The guys know that he spoke his heart the very first time around."

The Hall of Fame tight end also took issue with Brees making kneeling for the national anthem about disrespecting the flag, when that was never the purpose behind ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee.

"Even after Colin Kaepernick told you what he was doing. Even after all of this, nobody mentioned the flag. He brought it up on his own," Sharpe said. "Drew, I don't know what you were thinking. I don't know what you hope to accomplish, but whatever you hope to accomplish, it failed miserably.

"Black people have been fighting for this country, even though they did not get the rights that the flag said," Sharpe continued. "The flag is supposed to mean something, it's supposed to mean everything. All people. Freedom. Liberties. But if a black man doesn't have the same freedom and liberty as the white, what good is the flag?"

Sharpe also expressed his disappointment that someone like Brees, who has spent the majority of his life playing football with a black men, to not understand the justice they are currently fighting for.

"What's made the black fight so hard is people like Drew Brees," Sharpe said. "If you can't get a guy that grew up with blacks in the locker room, from Peewee to high school to college to the NFL, to understand the black man's plight, who will? What about guys that are not around blacks on a daily basis?"

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