NFL Standings After Week 15

A couple enhancements this week.  The category “mathematically alive” has been dropped; a team is either in the hunt or eliminated.  Also each conference’s breakdown of the current playoff matchups will include my projection of when each game would be played and the televising network.  So without further preamble here are the standings in the AFC:


1. New England[clinched playoff spot] (12-2) {host lowest remaining seed Sunday January 16th at 4:30pm on CBS}

2. Pittsburgh [clinched playoff spot] (10-4) (division record tiebreaker on Baltimore for division lead) {host 2nd lowest remaining seed Saturday January 15th at 4:30pm on CBS}


6. New York  at 3. Kansas City (9-5) {Sunday January 9th at 1pm on CBS}

5. Baltimore (10-4) (head-to-head tiebreaker on New York) at 4. Indianapolis (8-6) (record in common games over Jacksonville for division lead) {Saturday January 8th at 4:30pm on NBC}


7. San Diego (8-6) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Jacksonville)

8. Jacksonville

10. Oakland (“In the Hunt” for division title only)

11. Tennessee (6-8) (“In the Hunt” for division title only)

Mathematically Eliminated

9. Miami (7-7) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Oakland)

12. Houston (5-9) (conference record on Cleveland)

13. Cleveland

14. Buffalo (4-10)

15/16 Cincinnati/Denver (3-11) (same conference record next tiebreaker would be record in common games didn’t bother to calculate)

Oakland and Tennessee enter this week alive in their division races, but it would take a lot happening.  Tennessee has to win both remaining games and have the Colts and Jaguars both lose both of their remaining games.  In that scenario all 3 teams would be 8-8 splitting with each other and 3-3 in division games.  The Titans would carry the best record against common opponents and win the tie.  Oakland has to win both remaining games, have Kansas City lose in Week 16 (the Raiders would beat them in Week 17), and have San Diego lose at least one of its two remaining games.  In that scenario the Raiders win ties at 9-7 by having a perfect 6-0 record in division games.  The Chargers can win the West if it wins both remaining games and the Chiefs lose once.  Either the Chiefs lose the Oakland game and have a worse record in division games, or they lose in Week 16 to Tennessee meaning the Chargers would have a better record in common games.  The Chargers would also win a tie at 9-7 if it does not involve Oakland.  The Jaguars can win the South if it has a better record in the last 2 games than the Colts as that would give them the outright win.  The Jaguars and Chargers are also alive in the wildcard race at 10-6 if either New York or Baltimore loses both remaining games.  Both would have a better conference record than the Ravens and could potentially edge the Jets on record in common games or other tiebreakers.  Neither can finish ahead of Pittsburgh, which is why the Steelers have clinched a playoff spot.

Looking from the top down New England is one win, or one Jets loss, away from clinching both the East division and also the #1 seed in the conference.  Pittsburgh would clinch the #2 seed by winning both remaining games; if they match records with Baltimore in the last 2 games they win the North on a better division record.  If splitting the last two games is good enough to win the North the Steelers definitely get the bye seed also, however it is not possible for the Steelers to get the #1 seed as they lose tiebreakers with both the Patriots and Jets.  Baltimore actually could get the #1 seed I believe if they won the North at 12-4 and the Jets did win the East at that same mark.

As for the NFC:


1. Atlanta [clinched playoff spot] (12-2) {host lowest remaining seed Sunday January 16th at 1pm on Fox}

2. Chicago [clinched division] (10-4) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Philadelphia) {host 2nd lowest remaining seed Saturday January 15th at 8pm on Fox}


6. New York (9-5) at 3. Philadelphia {Saturday January 8th at 8pm on NBC}

5. New Orleans (10-4) at 4. St. Louis (6-8) (head-to-head tiebreaker on Seattle for division lead) {Sunday January 9th at 4:30pm on Fox}


7. Green Bay (8-6) (record in common games over Tampa)

8. Tampa Bay

9. Seattle (6-8) (“In the Hunt” for division title only)

12/13 San Francisco (“In the Hunt” for division title only)


10. Minnesota (5-9) (conference record on Washington & San Francisco)

11. Washington (5-9) (record in common games to hold higher division ranking than Dallas, conference record on San Francisco)

12/13 Dallas (has same conference record as San Francisco, next tiebreaker is record in common games, didn’t bother to calculate)

14. Detroit (4-10) (conference record on Arizona)

15. Arizona

16. Carolina (2-12)

Its now up to either Seattle or St. Louis to sweep their remaining games to avoid having a sub .500 playoff participant.  If the 49ers can beat St. Louis and Arizona and have Seattle lose to either Tampa or St. Louis then San Francisco would win the division at 7-9 on a 5-1 division record.  If the 49ers are not in the equation, then the winner of the Week 17 Rams v Seahawks game would win the division, if not outright then either the Rams on sweeping the head-to-head or Seattle on better division record.

As for the 5 spots that are going to go to good teams, Atlanta will clinch the division and the #1 seed with one more win, or New Orleans losing in Week 17 to Tampa.  Chicago would get the #2 seed with two more wins, or if Philadelphia wins the East with the same record as the Bears.  For the Giants to win the East would take winning both remaining games and having the Eagles lose twice, but if they beat the Packers Sunday they are a wildcard for sure.  New Orleans is probably in the playoffs, however if they lose to Atlanta and Tampa beats Seattle they would probably need to beat the Bucs in Week 17, because if both end up 10-6 the Bucs would be ahead of the Saints on tiebreaking in the division; because the Bucs lose ties with New York and Green Bay the Saints only hope in this case would be for the Packers to’ve beaten the Giants but then lose Week 17 to the Bears while the Giants lose to the Redskins in Week 17.  If New Orleans and New York win in Week 16  the Bucs are eliminated even if they beat Seattle; the Packers would also be eliminated of course.

Below are the official clinching scenarios in Week 16 from


Atlanta clinches NFC South and home-field advantage:
1) ATL win or tie

Philadelphia clinches NFC East Division:
1) PHI win
2) PHI tie + NYG loss or tie
3) NYG loss

Philadelphia clinches a playoff spot:
1) PHI tie
2) TB loss or tie

Chicago clinches a first-round bye:
1) CHI win + PHI loss + NYG loss or tie

New Orleans clinches a playoff spot:
1) NO win or tie
2) TB loss or tie

NY Giants clinch a playoff spot:
1) NYG win


New England clinches AFC East Division and home-field advantage:
1) NE win or tie
2) NYJ loss or tie

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye:
1) PIT win + BAL loss

Kansas City clinches AFC West Division:
1) KC win + SD loss or tie
2) KC tie + SD loss

Baltimore clinches a playoff spot:
1) BAL win or tie
2) KC loss + JAC loss or tie
3) KC loss + IND loss or tie
4) SD loss or tie + JAC loss or tie
5) SD loss or tie + IND loss or tie

NY Jets clinch a playoff spot:
1) NYJ win or tie
2) JAC loss or tie
3) IND loss or tie

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