Seven teams could join Packers in NFL playoff field
Only the Green Bay Packers have punched their ticket to the playoffs as Week 16 of the NFL season approaches. Seven teams, however, are in position to join them this week.
Four NFC teams don’t even have to earn a victory to start making playoff plans.
The Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers can defeat the Carolina Panthers to get in this week or watch the scoreboard instead. The Bucs are also in with a Minnesota Vikings loss or tie, as well as one of the following: Philadelphia Eagles loss or tie, Dallas Cowboys loss or tie, Cowboys clinching at least a tie in strength-of-victory tiebreaker over the Eagles.
The Buccaneers will clinch the NFC South title with a victory, or a New Orleans Saints loss or tie.
The Cowboys also can get into the playoffs with a victory or tie against the Washington Football Team. They are also in with just a Saints loss or tie, or a San Francisco 49ers loss, or a Buccaneers victory or tie.
Two NFC West teams can also get in, with the Arizona Cardinals needing a victory for a third consecutive week to punch their playoff ticket. The Cardinals can also get in with no less than six other scenarios that involve combinations of losses or ties by the Eagles, Vikings, Saints or 49ers, even if they lose to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Los Angeles Rams can return to the playoff for the fourth time in five seasons with a victory over the Vikings. They also get in with an Eagles loss or tie, combined with a Saints loss or tie.
No teams in the AFC have clinched a playoff spot, but the two-time defending conference champion Kansas City Chiefs are in with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers or a tie with one of the following: a Buffalo Bills loss or a Colts loss or the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens game not ending in a tie.
The Chiefs can clinch the AFC West with a victory and a Los Angeles Chargers loss or tie, and also with a tie of their own and a Chargers loss.
The New England Patriots’ road to an AFC East title, and the playoff berth that comes with it, is complete by earning a victory, while the Miami Dolphins lose to the Saints on Monday night.
The Patriots are also in the playoffs with a victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday along with a number of other loss/tie scenarios that involve the Colts, Bengals, Ravens, Steelers, Chargers or Cleveland Browns.
The Tennessee Titans can clinch the AFC South with a victory and a Colts loss. They can also get in the playoffs with a victory and at least two long shot scenarios where five different teams lose or tie.
–Field Level Media