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Week 14 Playoff Scenarios: Cowboys and Patriots can earn playoff byes

Week 14 Playoff Scenarios: Cowboys and Patriots can earn playoff byes

Just when you thought it was going to stay tight in various NFL divisions, 2016 Week 13 came along.

We saw the Dallas Cowboys gain a firm three-game lead in the NFC East, the Detroit Lions jump out to a two-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, the Seattle Seahawks maintain its three-game lead in the NFC West and the New England Patriots vault to a three-game lead in the AFC East.

Other division races remain either tied (NFC South, AFC North and AFC South) or within one game at the top (AFC West).

That separation in various divisions has us looking at three division title clinching scenarios this week. The Cowboys and Patriots can clinch first-round playoff byes, with Dallas also having a shot at claiming homefield advantage throughout the playoffs as the #1 seed.

Before we get to those scenarios and one involving the Oakland Raiders gaining a playoff berth, let's recap Week 13.  

With the Cowboys' win over the Vikings last Thursday and the Redskins' loss at the Cardinals, Dallas clinched a playoff berth.

Week 13 is the earliest the Cowboys have clinched a playoff spot since 2007 when they clinched playoffs in Week 13, division title in Week 14, a playoff bye in Week 15 and homefield advantage Week 16. That was also the year the 10-6 New York Giants beat the 13-3 Cowboys on the road in the Divisional Round 21-17. 

Two teams were also eliminated from playoff contention during Week. The Jacksonville Jaguars' loss to the Denver Broncos elimianted the Jags from the playoffs. The same applies to the New York Jets following their loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football. 

Jacksonville has failed to make the playoffs since 2007 and the NY Jets haven't seen Postseason since 2010. That leaves 28 teams in Super Bowl contention with four weeks to play which is 5th best in last 9 years, but 3 off last year's record number of 31 teams in contention.

QUIZ TIME: Which NFL team hasn't made the playoffs in ANY YEAR since the League realigned in 2002? Answer Below (and it might surprise you).


   Dallas clinches division title:
    1) DAL win
   Dallas clinches a first-round bye:
    1) DAL win + DET loss or tie
    2) DAL win + SEA loss
   Dallas clinches homefield advantage throughout NFC playoffs:
    1) DAL win + DET loss or tie + SEA loss

   Seattle clinches division title:
    1) SEA win + ARI loss or tie
    2) SEA tie + ARI loss

   New England clinches division title:
    1) NE win + MIA loss or tie
    2) NE tie + MIA loss
   New England clinches a first-round bye:
    1) NE win + MIA loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

   Oakland clinches a playoff berth:
    1) OAK win + MIA loss or tie
    2) OAK win + DEN loss
    3) OAK tie + MIA loss + BAL loss or tie
    4) OAK tie + MIA loss + PIT loss or tie  


The Raiders' situation is interesting since they have two-team tiebreaker advantage over both the Patriots and Miami Dolphins (whichever one doesn't win the division when looking at playoff berth clinching scenarios).

You then have to look to see if either the Dolphins or Patriotrs can use the Kansas City Chiefs or Denver Broncos to jump over the Raiders in this exercise.

Miami loses tiebreaker to Denver based on common opponents and can't use Kansas City since there is no scenario where the three-way KC-OAK-DEN tie ends with the Broncos finishing first, Chiefs second and Raiders third. Kansas City would win the AFC West in that tiebreaker in this scenario no matter what happens in future games after this Thursday. 

However, the Dolphins can use the Chiefs if the Broncos ties this week instead of loses and the Broncos win the division at 11-4-1 and Cheifs and Raiders tie at 11-5. New England can beat Kansas City and jump Oakland in that same Denver division winner scenario. Thus. .. the need for a Denver loss with Oakland win as one clinching option this week.

- If the Cowboys were to clinch the #1 seed this week, not only will it be interesting to see what they do with playing time for Tony Romo and the rookies, but it will also mean that Dallas won't have "must-win" motivation when they face the Buccaneers in Week 15 and the Lions' Week 16... two teams firmly in the playoff hunt.

- If the Patriots clinch the AFC East title this week, it will be their eighth consecutive division title  and 13 titles in the last 14 years. Amazing.

- If the Cowboys were to clinch the #1 seed in week 14, it will be the earliest any NFL team has accomplished that since the 2009 Indianapolis Colts (who also did the same thing in 2005). No NFC team has clinched the #1 seed with three weeks to play since the 1985 Chicago Bears. Super Bowl Shuffle anyone? 

We also have five teams that can be eliminated from playoff contention this week with two teams in the AFC (that would add to Cleveland, Jacksonville and NY Jets already gone) and three teams in the NFC (potentially adding to San Francisco that exited week 12).


Cincinnati will be eliminated from playoff contention:

1) CIN loss
2) CIN tie + DEN win or tie + PIT win
3) CIN tie + DEN win or tie + BAL win
4) CIN tie + DEN win or tie + PIT tie + BAL tie
5) PIT win + DEN win + BAL win


San Diego will be eliminated from playoff contention:
1) SD loss + DEN win or tie
2) SD tie + DEN win

Chicago will be eliminated from playoff contention:
1) CHI loss or tie
2) WAS win
3) ATL win or tie + TB win or tie
4) ATL win or tie + ARI win
5) MIN win or tie + GB win
6) MIN win + GB tie
7) NO win + ARI win + CAR win
8) NO win + ARI win + CAR tie + WAS tie

Carolina will be eliminated from playoff contention:
1) CAR loss + WAS win
2) CAR loss + ATL win or tie
3) CAR loss + MIN win or tie + GB win
4) CAR loss + MIN win + GB tie
5) CAR loss + CHI win + WAS tie + MIN win
6) CAR loss + CHI win + WAS tie + GB win
7) CAR loss + CHI win + WAS tie + MIN tie + GB tie
8) CAR tie + TB win + ATL win

Los Angeles will be eliminated from playoff contention:
1) LA loss

The need for the Washington tie elements in the Carolina elimination scenario revolve around giving Washington a second tie and having the Redskins finish 6-8-2 (equal to 7-9) at worst and tying the Panthers at 7-9. 

When you couple that with a Chicago win and the Bears playing Washington, Green Bay and Minnesota to finish the year, it creates a scenario where Washington losing out would give the Bears another win in addition to Carolina needing the Bears to beat Minnesota and Green Bay and Carolina can't use the potential head-to-head win against the Redskins to their advantage for the #6 seed.

QUIZ ANSWER: The Buffalo Bills have not made the playoffs since realignment in 2002 (only NFL team) and haven't made the playoffs since 1999 which be remembered as the year Buffalo lost to Tennessee in the Wild Card Playoffs 22-16 in what is known as the "Music City Miracle". Can you say Frank Wycheck?



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


  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Seattle Seahawks (jumps ATL for #2)
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Detroit Lions
  5. New York Giants
  6. Washington Redskins (need to go 3-1 vs. TB 2-2)

Enjoy Week 14 and best of luck to your favorite team!

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Redskins' Chase Young among NFL players featured in video requesting league condemn racism

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Redskins' Chase Young among NFL players featured in video requesting league condemn racism

Following the murder of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, many around the world have made their voices heard about the racial injustices in America. That includes athletes of all sports, along with their respective teams and leagues.

However, some statements came across as disingenuous due to the vague language and misunderstanding of what the protests are truly about. The NFL released a statement Saturday expressing condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but it didn't touch on the racism that black Americans are constantly faced with.

Frustrated with that notion, several players teamed up to release a video voicing what they want to hear from the NFL on the matter.

Posted on Giants running back Saquon Barkley's Twitter, the message featured some of the biggest names in the sport. Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr. and others all shared the common messaging of wanting the NFL to explicitly address the racism and problems the country currently faces. Redskins rookie Chase Young was also part of the statement.

The video begins with the players wondering what it will take for the league to seriously commit itself to change in the future, feeling the current statements were inadequate. 

"What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" the players said.

"What if I was George Floyd?" the players asked.

Those questions were followed up with the realization that their standings as professional athletes don't separate them from those who have been victims of police brutality. 

"I am George Floyd, I am Breonna Taylor, I am Ahmaud Arbery, I am Eric Garner, I am Laquan McDonald, I am Tamir Rice, I am Trayvon Martin, I am Walter Scott, I am Michael Brown Jr., I am Samuel Dubose, I am Frank Smart, I am Phillip White, I am Jordan Baker," they said. 

Then, the players submitted their call to action for the NFL. They will continue to peacefully protest, and demand the league shows support and solidarity right alongside them. No more cookie-cutter statements, but an admittance of past mistakes and accountability for the future.

"On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: 'We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,'" they said. '"We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.'"

A powerful and moving message, the stars of the NFL made one thing clear: It's time for the league to make real change. They will no longer accept the bare minimum, and instead, demand support and action.  

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Cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman fatally shot in Richmond

Cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman fatally shot in Richmond

The cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman was fatally shot and found dead in a hotel hallway early Tuesday morning, the Richmond police announced on Wednesday.

Jermaine Stroman, 30, was found by officers in a third-floor hallway of the Quality Inn and Rodeway Inn and was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Richmond Police Department has yet to find any information on the suspect, which led the Redskins cornerback to send out this tweet to raise awareness about the situation:

"My cousin, Jermaine Rayshard Stroman, was killed last night in Richmond, VA," Greg Stroman wrote on Wednesday. "Anyone that has information in regards to his murder, please contact the proper authorities at 804-780-1000."

Jermaine Stroman's death was unrelated to the nationwide protests, according to the Washington Post. Protests have been going on for several days and in all 50 states following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd on May 25.

The cornerback was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Redskins in 2018. The former Virginia Tech Hokie played in 15 games as a rookie, finishing with 38 tackles and one interception. Stroman was waived with the designation of injured in September of 2019 after suffering a groin injury in the team's season opener. He cleared waivers and spent the rest of the 2019 season on the Redskins' Injured Reserve list.

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