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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).

HERE ARE YOUR 2016 WEEK 14 OFFICIAL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS: 

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

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
   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 RAIDERS
   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  

MORE NFL: SHOULD THE REDSKINS' OL TAKE SOME OF BLAME FOR RECENT LOSS?

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.

TIEBREAKER NOTES AND ANECDOTES:
- 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 BENGALS

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

 CHICAGO BEARS
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 PANTHERS
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 RAMS
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?

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS FOLLOWING WEEK 12:

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 (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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Trent Williams rumor emerges from Cleveland but Redskins sources say nothing imminent

Trent Williams rumor emerges from Cleveland but Redskins sources say nothing imminent

A report emerged that Washington left tackle Trent Williams could land on the Browns roster in the coming days, but sources close to the Redskins front office told NBC Sports Washington that no move was imminent, though a trade with Cleveland was not ruled out.

Williams has not reported to the Redskins this year, holding out for both contract issues and personal issues. At least three teams contacted the Redskins about a possible Williams trade during training camp, sources told NBC Sports Washington, but the team did not engage in trade talks then.

Many with the Washington organization believed Williams would show up once regular season games started. He didn’t and based on his Instagram feed doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to coming back to the Redskins.

At 1-5, it makes total sense for Washington to move on from Williams. The team should get as much as they possibly can rather than continue with the sideshow of his holdout.

Redskins President Bruce Allen has said repeatedly he doesn’t plan on trading Williams, but things can always change. After a coaching change last week, perhaps the organization has changed its stance, too.

The deadline to complete trades in the NFL comes at 4 p.m. on October 29th. Sometime between now and then it seems possible Williams might be on a new team.

There was chatter, however, that other teams were scared off about Williams wanting a new contract. His current deal has two years remaining at more than $12 million per season, though barely any of that cash is guaranteed.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

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Fantasy Football TE Rankings 2019: Week 7

Fantasy Football TE Rankings 2019: Week 7

Week 6 is in the books and rosters are beginning to take shape. Here are the top tight ends for Week 7.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback Rankings: Week 7
Running Back Rankings: Week 7
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 7
Tight End Rankings: Week 7

TIER 1: Best of the best

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs  
Opponent: at Broncos
2019 Stats: 32 Receptions, 497 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 87.7 PTS, 2019 TE3
Previous Ranking: 1   

2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers  
Opponent: at Redskins
2019 Stats: 31 Receptions, 338 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 72.6 PTS, 2019 TE8
Previous Ranking: 8

TIER 2: High-end TE1's3.  

3. Evan Engram, New York Giants  
Opponent: vs. Cardinals
2019 Stats: 33 Receptions, 373 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 82.8 PTS, 2019 TE4 
Previous Ranking: 3    

4. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons  
Opponent: vs. Rams
2019 Stats: 42 Receptions, 480 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD, 110 PTS, 2019 TE1
Previous Ranking: 6  

5. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles  
Opponent: at Cowboys 
2019 Stats: 33 Receptions, 373 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 82.8 PTS, 2019 TE5
Previous Ranking: 2  

6. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders
Opponent: at Packers 
2019 Stats: 37 Receptions, 359 Receiving YDS, 73.6 PTS, 2019 TE7
Previous Ranking: Bye

7. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers  
Opponent: at Titans
2019 Stats: 12 Receptions, 160 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 2019 TE19
Previous Ranking: 9  

8. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens  
Opponent: at Seahawks
2019 Stats: 34 Receptions, 410 Receiving YDS, 3 Receiving TD, 91 PTS, 2019 TE2
Previous Ranking: 4  

TIER 4: Low-end TE1's  

9. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans  
Opponent: vs. Chargers 
2019 Stats: 21 Receptions, 215 Receiving YDS, 2 Receiving TD, 54.5 PTS, 2019 TE11
Previous Ranking: 10

10. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts 
Opponent: vs. Texans
2019 Stats: 14 Receptions, 128 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 32.8 PTS, 2019 TE25 
Previous Ranking: Bye

11. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
Opponent: vs. Dolphins
Previous Ranking: Bye

12. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints  
Opponent: at Bears
Previous Ranking: 12  

TIER 5: High-end TE2s  

13. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys  
Opponent: vs. Eagles  
Previous Ranking: 13  

14. Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams  
Opponent: at Falcons
Previous Ranking: 14  

15. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions  
Opponent: vs. Vikings
Previous Ranking: 15  

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback Rankings: Week 7
Running Back Rankings: Week 7
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 7
Tight End Rankings: Week 7