The Patriots can clinch the number one seed and home field throughout the playoffs with a victory over the Jets, coupled with Cincinnati winning at home over Denver. Even if the Bengals don’t beat the Broncos the Pats can still clinch a first round bye and no worse than the number two seed with a victory in the Meadowlands.

Here is a look at all the playoff scenarios for the twenty teams that have not been mathematically eliminated, but first, here is the order of the 2015 NFL draft if the season were to end prior to the week 15 games. Yesterday’s victory by Washington over Philadelphia moved the Jets up a spot to the number five position, while Tennessee’s loss on Thursday temporarily places them in the number one spot. The number in parenthesis is each team’s strength of schedule, which serves as the tiebreaker for determining draft order.

1. 2-12 Tampa Bay Bucs (.467)
2. 2-12 Tennessee Titans (.503)
3. 2-12 Jacksonville Jaguars (.538)
4. 2-12 Oakland Raiders (.571)
5. 3-11 Washington Redskins (.469)
6. 3-11 New York Jets (.536)
7. 5-9 Atlanta Falcons (.495)
8. 5-9 New York Giants (.505)
9. 5-9 Chicago Bears (.513)
10. 5-8-1 Carolina Panthers (.503)
11. 6-8 Minnesota Vikings (.482)
12. 6-8 New Orleans Saints (.513)
13. 6-8 St. Louis Rams (.536)
14. 7-7 Houston Texans (.452)
15. 7-7 Cleveland Browns (.459)
16. 7-7 San Francisco 49ers (.520)
17. 7-7 Miami Dolphins (.541)
18. 8-6 Kansas City Chiefs (.505)
19. 8-6 San Diego Chargers (.515)
20. 8-6 Cleveland Browns (Buffalo) (.526)
21. 9-5 Pittsburgh Steelers (.429)
22. 9-5 Baltimore Ravens (.467)
23. 9-5 Philadelphia Eagles (.503)
24. 9-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals (.467)
25. 10-4 Dallas Cowboys (.444)
26. 10-4 Detroit Lions (.462)
27. 10-4 Indianapolis Colts (.477)
28. 10-4 Green Bay Packers (.492)
29. 10-4 Seattle Seahawks (.523)
30. 11-3 Arizona Cardinals (.510)
31. 11-3 New England Patriots (.533)
32. 11-3 Denver Broncos (.546)

 

AFC East

New England Patriots (11-3) – currently AFC #1 seed
Remaining Games: at Jets, vs Bills
Clinched AFC East
Chance of being the #1 AFC seed: 80%
Because the Patriots have defeated the Broncos, Colts and Bengals, they will win a tiebreaker against any of those teams for playoff seeding; it is as if they virtually have one more win in the playoff standings. The Patriots clinched the division and at worst the #4 seed last week with their win over Miami.
– Can clinch the #3 seed with (a) a loss by the Colts, or (b) losses by both the Bengals and Steelers.
– Can clinch the #2 seed with (a) a win over the Jets, or (b) losses by the Bengals, Steelers, Colts and Ravens.
– Can clinch the #1 seed with (a) a win over the Jets, and (b) a Broncos loss.

Buffalo Bills (8-6) – currently #9 in AFC standings
Remaining Games: at Raiders, at Patriots
Chance of making the playoffs: 3%
Despite their win over Green Bay last week, the chances of Buffalo making the playoffs remain slim. The Bills do not control their own destiny, and San Diego’s victory Saturday night did not help their cause. Buffalo needs to win twice while either the Bengals, Ravens and Chiefs all lose twice, or Pittsburgh and Baltimore lose twice while KC beats Pittsburgh and also loses to San Diego. If Baltimore and Kansas City win then the Bills have to count on a series of events that includes the Chargers-Chiefs week 17 game ending in a tie.
– Eliminated from the playoffs with either (a) a loss, or (b) victories by the Bengals, Steelers and Ravens.

Miami Dolphins (7-7) – currently #11 in AFC standings
Remaining Games: vs Vikings, vs Jets
Chance of making the playoffs: 0.1%
The Dolphins are all but eliminated from the playoffs following last week’s loss at New England. The Fins need to win twice, have Pittsburgh and Baltimore lose, Kansas City win twice, San Diego lose next week, Buffalo lose at least once, and have Houston beat Baltimore but then lose to Jacksonville.
– Eliminated from the playoffs with either (a) a loss, or (b) a Ravens win, or (c) a Steelers win.

 

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1) – currently 1st in division, #4 in AFC
Remaining Games: vs Broncos, at Steelers
Chance of making the playoffs: 80%
Chance of winning the division: 40%
Cincy controls its own destiny within the division, but also has a tough schedule to finish the season.
– Can clinch the division and the #4 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Steelers loss, plus (c) a Ravens loss.
– Eliminated from the #2 seed with a loss to the Broncos.
– Eliminated from the #3 seed with a loss to the Broncos, plus a Colts win.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) – currently 2nd in division, #5 in AFC
Remaining Games: vs Chiefs, vs Bengals
Chance of making the playoffs: 75%
Chance of winning the division: 40%
The Steelers finish with a pair of home games against other playoff contenders. Although it will be no cakewalk for Pittsburgh to make the playoffs, I don’t see them dropping consecutive home games with the season on the line.
– Can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Chiefs
– Can clinch a playoff spot and the #5 seed with (a) a win over the Chiefs, plus (b) a Ravens loss
– Eliminated from a first round bye with either (a) a loss to the Chiefs, or (b) a Pats win
– Eliminated from the #3 seed with (a) a loss to the Chiefs, and (b) a Colts win
– Eliminated from division title and #4 seed with (a) a loss to Chiefs, and (b) a Bengals win

Baltimore Ravens (9-5) – currently 3rd in division, #6 in AFC
Remaining Games: at Texans, vs Browns
Chance of making the playoffs: 75%
Chance of winning the division: 20%
The Ravens control their own destiny for making the playoffs, but need help to win the division.
– Can clinch a playoff spot with a win at Houston, plus losses by both the Bengals and Steelers.
– Eliminated from the #3 seed with a win by the Colts
– Eliminated from the #4 seed with (a) a loss, or (b) wins by the Bengals and Steelers.
– Eliminated from the #5 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) wins by the Bengals and Steelers.

 

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (10-4) – currently 1st in division, #3 in AFC
Remaining Games: at Cowboys, at Titans
Clinched AFC North
Chance of being the #1 AFC seed: 0.1%
Chance of being the #2 AFC seed: 2%
Chance of being the #3 AFC seed: 67%
The Colts appear destined to finish as the number three seed.
– Can clinch the #3 seed with (a) a win at Dallas, plus (b) a Bengals loss to Denver, plus (c) a Steelers loss to Kansas City.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either (a) a loss to Dallas, or (b) a Broncos win, or (c) a Patriots win.
– Eliminated from #2 seed with either (a) a loss plus a Pats win, or (b) Pats and Broncos win, or (c) a loss plus wins by the Bengals and Steelers.

Houston Texans (7-7) – currently 2nd in division, #10 in AFC
Remaining Games: vs Ravens, vs Jaguars
Chance of making the playoffs: 5%
The Texans can do no better than the #6 seed, and they need plenty of help for that to happen.
– Eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to Baltimore.

 

AFC West

Denver Broncos (11-3) – currently 1st in division, #2 in AFC
Remaining Games: at Bengals, vs Raiders
Clinched the AFC West
Chance of being the #1 AFC seed: 20%
Denver has to hope somebody beats the Patriots, but with a game at Cincinnati they need to focus on the Bengals rather than watch the scoreboard.
– Can clinch a first round bye and the #2 seed with a win.
– Eliminated from the #1 seed with a loss, plus a win by the Patriots

San Diego Chargers (9-6) – currently 2nd in division, #7 in AFC
Remaining Games: at Chiefs
Chance of making the playoffs: 35%
The Chargers vastly improved their chances with a come from behind victory at San Francisco, but they still don’t control their own destiny. San Diego needs a win at KC, coupled with either the Ravens losing at least once, or (b) the Steelers losing twice, or (c) the Bengals losing twice.
– Eliminated from the #5 seed with wins by the Bengals and Steelers.

Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) – currently #8 in AFC
Remaining Games: at Steelers, vs Chargers
Chance of making the playoffs: 25%
Kansas City has a very interesting schedule to finish the season, as both games are against contenders vying for the same playoff spots that the Chiefs are trying to reach. KC has the tiebreaker over the Ravens, Bills and Dolphins, but not over Houston. While there is a chance they could split the final two games and still make the playoffs, there is an awful lot that has to fall just right for that to happen.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with a loss to the Steelers
– Eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to the Steelers, plus a win by the Ravens at Houston.

 

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (10-4) – currently 1st in division, #3 in NFC
Remaining Games: vs Colts, at Redskins
Chance of making the playoffs: 95%
Chance of winning the division: 93%
With Philadelphia losing to Washington, the Cowboys are virtually locked in as division winners and the number three seed in the NFC.
– Can clinch the division and the #3 seed with a win over the Colts

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) – currently 2nd in division, #7 in NFC
Remaining Games: at Giants
Chance of making the playoffs: 7%
Chance of winning the division: 7%
The Eagles cannot be a wild card team; they can only make the playoffs as the division champ. Philly needs to win next week and have Dallas lose their final two games for that to happen.
– Eliminated from the playoffs with a win by the Cowboys.

 

NFC North

Detroit Lions (10-4) – currently 1st in division, #2 in NFC
Remaining Games: at Bears, at Packers
Clinched a playoff spot
Chance of winning the division: 40%
Chance of a first round bye: 35%
The Lions control their own destiny for everything except the number one seed, which they technically still have a shot at.
– Can clinch the division and the #2 seed with a win, plus losses by both the Packers and Cowboys.
– Can clinch the division and the #3 seed with a win plus a loss by the Packers.
– Eliminated from the #1 seed with either a loss, or a win by the Seahawks.

Green Bay Packers (10-4) – currently 2nd in division, #6 in NFC
Remaining Games: at Bucs, vs Lions
Chance of making the playoffs: 99%
Chance of winning the division: 60%
Chance of a first round bye: 55%
The Packers dropped in the standings with their loss at Buffalo, but still control their own destiny for winning the division and earning a first round bye.
– Can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Tampa Bay, or with a win by Dallas because a Cowboys win would eliminate Philadelphia.

 

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals (11-3) – currently 1st in division, #1 in NFC
Remaining Games: vs Seahawks, at 49ers
Clinched a playoff spot
Chance of winning the division: 50%
Chance of being the #1 NFC seed: 50%
While Arizona has punched a ticket to the post-season, you have to figure it will be short-lived since they are down to Case Keenum at quarterback. Tonight’s game against Seattle is huge, as one team will end up with a bye and home field while the other hits the road as a wild card.
– Can clinch the #1 seed with a win over Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks (10-4) – currently 2nd in division, #5 in NFC
Remaining Games: at Cardinals, vs Rams
Chance of making the playoffs: 99%
Chance of winning the division: 50%
Chance of being the #1 NFC seed: 45%
Seattle beat Arizona in week 12, so a victory against the Cardinals means a sweep in head to head games, and the Seahawks would win a tiebreaker over Arizona. On the other hand is the Seahawks settle for a wild card spot, they would likely get the #5 spot as the beat Green Bay and own the tiebreaker over the Packers.
– Can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Arizona, or with a win by Dallas.
– Can clinch the #5 seed with (a) a win plus a Lions loss, or (b) a win plus a Packers loss.

 

NFC South

New Orleans Saints (6-8) – currently 1st in NFCS
Remaining Games: vs Falcons, at Bucs
Chance of winning the division: 65%
– Can clinch the division with a win, plus a Panthers loss.
– Eliminated from the playoffs with a loss, plus a Panthers win.

Carolina Panthers (5-8-1) – currently 2nd in NFCS
Remaining Games: vs Browns, at Falcons
Chance of winning the division: 15%
The Panthers need to win both of their remaining games, and for the Saints to lose at least once.
– Eliminated from the playoffs with a loss, plus a Saints win.

Atlanta Falcons (5-9) – currently 3rd in NFCS
Remaining Games: at Saints, vs Panthers
Chance of winning the division: 20%
The playoffs have essentially begun for the Falcons, because a loss and their season is over.
– Eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to the Saints.

 

 

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