NFL Standings, Playoff Scenarios, & Week 16 TV Maps

There is one final Thursday Night game this week on the NFL Network and its Houston @ Indianapolis with Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock.  The “regular” schedule this week is on Saturday because of Sunday being Christmas Day.  At 1pm all local Fox affiliates will show St. Louis @ Pittsburgh with Dick Stockton and John Lynch.  At 1pm CBS in Youngstown and Wheeling will show Cleveland @ Baltimore with Spero Dedes and Rich Gannon.  CBS Pittsburgh is contractually obligated to not show a 1pm game, so at 4:05pm they will show San Diego @ Detroit with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf.  At 4:15pm all local Fox affiliates will show Philadelphia @ Dallas with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.  And of course the NFL Red Zone Channel will offer its customary continuous live whip around the league all afternoon Saturday.  There is no night game Saturday; NBC’s game is in the usual time slot Sunday (Christmas) night and its Chicago @ Green Bay with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth.  There is one final Monday Night game this season and its Atlanta @ New Orleans with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden.  As always this info from the506.com and subject to change.  Enjoy the games.

And now for the playoff picture, starting with the AFC:

Playoff Seeds:

1. New England (clinched division) (11-3)

2. Baltimore (clinched playoff spot) (10-4) ([head-to-head on Pittsburgh for division rank] head-to-head on Houston)

3. Houston (clinched division)

4. Denver (8-6)

5. Pittsburgh (clinched playoff spot) (10-4)

6. New York (8-6) (record against opponents common with Cincinnati)

New York @ Houston Saturday January 7th at 4:30pm on NBC (Tom Hammond & Mike Mayock).  Pittsburgh @ Denver Sunday January 8th at 4:30pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms).  Lower winning seed @ New England Saturday January 14th at 8pm on CBS (Jim Nantz & Phil Simms).  Higher winning seed @ Baltimore Sunday January 15th at 1pm on CBS (Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf).

In the Hunt

7. Cincinnati

8. Tennessee (7-7) (record against opponents common with Oakland {head-to-head with San Diego for division rank])

9. Oakland

10. San Diego

11. Kansas City (6-8) (alive for AFC West title only)

Mathematically Eliminated

12. Miami (5-9) (head-to-head with Buffalo)

13. Buffalo

14. Cleveland (4-10) (head-to-head with Jacksonville)

15. Jacksonville

16. Indianapolis (1-13)

New York currently has tiebreaking advantage on Cincinnati because of a 1/2 game better record against common opponents.  However, should they both win out to 10-6 that half game would get erased, kicking the tiebreaking down to strength of victory.  If my calculations are correct New York’s defeated opponents (adding in wins the final two games) currently have 6 more wins than Cincinnati’s defeated opponents.  That could change however with two weeks to go.  If both teams stumble it could let Tennessee or Oakland back into the mix.  If the Jets loss was their Week 17 game with Miami, then the Titans and Raiders would have a better conference record than both New York and Cincinnati.  Denver could also end up a wildcard, but they would have to win this week, then lose Week 17 while seeing the Raiders win both remaining games (plus have New York and Cincinnati lose a game).  The Chargers also have a wildcard scenario, but it takes more help.  Even to win the division they need to win both remaining games while having Denver lose twice.  Kansas City is also alive for the division, but must win twice, have Denver lose twice, and have the team that wins the Week 17 San Diego v Oakland game first lose their game this weekend.

At the top of the conference last week was obviously a beautiful one for New England.  They officially clinched the division while seeing all 3 teams they are vying for a bye seed and homefield advantage all lose.  Baltimore and Pittsburgh both clinched wildcard spots, with the Ravens remaining in control of the division.  The Ravens are also in control of the getting the 2nd bye seed with two wins unless New England loses a game and Houston wins out, which would rob the Ravens of the chance to use their head-to-head advantage on the Texans.  If the Ravens lose a game then Houston would get the 2nd bye seed as they have head-to-head on Pittsburgh, again unless New England loses a game.  2nd place in the North cannot do worse than the #5 seed.

NFC:

Playoff Seeds

1. Green Bay (clinched division & bye seed) (13-1)

2. San Francisco (clinched division) (11-3) (conference record on New Orleans)

3. New Orleans (clinched playoff spot)

4. Dallas (8-6)

5. Atlanta (9-5) (head-to-head on Detroit)

6. Detroit

Atlanta @ Dallas Saturday January 7th at 8pm on NBC (Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth). Detroit @ New Orleans Sunday January 8th at 1pm on Fox (Joe Buck & Troy Aikman).  Higher winning seed @ San Francisco Saturday January 14th at 4:30pm on Fox (Kenny Albert, Moose, & Goose).  Lower winning seed @ Green Bay Sunday January 15th at 4:30pm on Fox (Joe Buck &  Troy Aikman)

In the Hunt

7. Seattle (7-7) ([head-to-head on Arizona for division rank] head-to-head on Chicago after conference record drops New York from tie)

8. Chicago (conference record on Arizona and New York)

9. New York (head-to-head on Arizona) (alive for NFC East title only)

10. Arizona

11. Philadelphia (6-8) (alive for NFC East title only)

Mathematically Eliminated

12. Carolina (5-9) (head-to-head on Washington)

13. Washington

14. Tampa Bay (4-10)

15. Minnesota (2-12) (conference record on St. Louis)

16. St. Louis

Atlanta and Detroit will claim the wildcard spots with one more win each.  If either should lose both remaining games then they can let other teams into the mix.  Seattle if they get to 9-7 would be in the best shape.  Arizona would also be in good shape unless Chicago were also 9-7.  Chicago would be in good shape if the tie did not involve Seattle.  Dallas could theoretically be the wildcard if they didn’t win the division, but they would have to beat Philadelphia, then lose to New York while also having Detroit win at least one game, have Chicago lose at least one game, have Atlanta lose twice, and have the team that wins the Week 17 Seattle v Arizona game first lose their Week 16 game.  New York cannot be the wildcard because if they end up 9-7 they win the East.  For Philadelphia to win the East they must win twice and have New York lose to the Jets this Saturday, then beat Dallas Week 17.  Dallas wins the East if they beat the Giants Week 17, regardless of what they do this weekend, or by winning this weekend along with the Giants losing.

At the top of the conference Green Bay will be the #1 seed unless they lose twice and San Francisco wins twice.  The 49ers have the tiebreaking advantage on New Orleans for the 2nd bye seed.  The Saints could lose the division to Atlanta if they lose to the Falcons this coming Monday Night, then lose Week 17 while the Falcons win their final game.

Copied below are the official clinching scenarios for this coming weekend from nfl.com:

NFC

CLINCHED:

Green Bay Packers — North Division and first-round bye.

San Francisco 49ers — West Division.

New Orleans Saints — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Carolina, Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Green Bay clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs:

1) GB win or tie

2) SF loss or tie

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye:

1) SF win + NO loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

New Orleans clinches NFC South Division:

1) NO win or tie

DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas clinches NFC East Division:

1) DAL win + NYG loss or tie

2) DAL tie + NYG loss

ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta clinches a wild-card spot:

1) ATL win or tie

2) DAL loss or tie + CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie

3) NYG loss or tie + CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie

DETROIT LIONS

Detroit clinches a wild-card spot:

1) DET win or tie

2) CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie + SEA loss or tie + DAL loss or tie

3) CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie + SEA loss or tie + NYG loss or tie

4) CHI loss or tie + ARI loss or tie + SEA loss or tie + ATL win or tie

AFC

CLINCHED:

Houston Texans — South Division.

New England Patriots — East Division.

Baltimore Ravens — Wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Miami, Jacksonville.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches a first-round bye:

1) NE win + HOU loss or tie

2) NE win + PIT loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

3) NE tie + HOU loss

4) NE tie + PIT loss + BAL loss

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:

1) NE win + HOU loss or tie + PIT loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North Division:

1) BAL win + PIT loss

Baltimore clinches a first-round bye:

1) BAL win + PIT loss + HOU loss

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West Division:

1) DEN win + OAK loss or tie

2) DEN tie + OAK loss + SD loss or tie

Denver clinches a wild-card spot:

1) DEN win + NYJ loss + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie

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