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.
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 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 clinches division title:
1) DET win + GB loss or tie
2) DET tie + GB loss + MIN loss or tie
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.
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 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!):
- New England Patriots
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Houston Texans
- Oakland Raiders
- Denver Broncos
- Dallas Cowboys
- Seattle Seahawks
- Atlanta Falcons
- Detroit Lions
- New York Giants
- Washington Redskins
Enjoy Week 15 and best of luck to your favorite team!