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NFL playoff picture: Week 15 scenarios for Cowboys, Texans, others to clinch | NFL

The NFL playoff picture is becoming more clear as Week 15 arrives. This week, clinching scenarios are in play for the Chiefs, Patriots, Texans, Chargers, Saints, Rams, Cowboys, Bears and Seahawks.

Two teams — the Rams and Saints — have already clinched their respective divisions, and this week, both teams have chances to clinch first-round byes in the playoffs. Though the race for the all-important No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs will continue into Week 16.

In the AFC, the Chiefs have not yet clinched the West, but they can do so this week with a win over the Chargers. That would also give Kansas City a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Patriots and Chargers also have chances to clinch division titles this week.

Below are the NFL playoff clinching scenarios in play for Week 15, plus the overall playoff picture as the 2018 postseason draws near. (Note: The NFL’s tiebreaking procedures were referenced in the Week 15 playoff scenarios.)

NFL playoff clinching scenarios


Kansas City Chiefs (clinched playoff berth)

(vs. Chargers)

— Chiefs clinch AFC West and first-round bye in playoffs with:

  1. Chiefs win

— Chiefs clinch No. 1 seed in AFC playoffs with:

  1. Chiefs win + Patriots loss/tie

New England Patriots

(at Steelers)

— Patriots clinch AFC East title with:

  1. Patriots win + Dolphins loss/tie OR
  2. Patriots tie + Dolphins loss

Houston Texans

(at Jets)

— Texans clinch AFC South title with:

  1. Texans win + Colts loss/tie + Titans loss/tie OR
  2. Texans tie + Colts loss + Titans loss

Los Angeles Chargers

(at Chiefs)

— Chargers clinch at least No. 5 seed in AFC playoffs with:

  1. Chargers win


New Orleans Saints (clinched NFC South)

(at Panthers)

— Saints can clinch first-round bye in playoffs with:

  1. Saints win + Bears loss/tie OR
  2. Saints tie + Bears loss

Los Angeles Rams (clinched NFC West)

(vs. Eagles)

— Rams can clinch a first-round bye in playoffs with:

  1. Rams win + Bears loss/tie OR
  2. Rams tie + Bears loss

Chicago Bears

(vs. Packers)

— Bears clinch NFC North title with:

  1. Bears win

Dallas Cowboys

(at Colts)

— Cowboys win NFC East title with:

  1. Cowboys win OR
  2. Cowboys tie + Eagles loss/tie + Redskins loss/tie OR
  3. Eagles loss + Redskins loss

Seattle Seahawks

(at 49ers)

— Seahawks clinch playoff berth with:

  1. Seahawks win

— Seahawks clinch No. 5 seed in NFC playoffs with:

  1. Seahawks win + Vikings loss

NFL playoff picture

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-2)
3. New England Patriots (9-4)
4. Houston Texans (9-4)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1)
5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-3)
6. Baltimore Ravens (7-6)

In the hunt:
Miami Dolphins (7-6)
Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
Tennessee Titans (7-6)
Denver Broncos (6-7)
Cleveland Browns (5-7-1)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8)

MORE: Analysis of current playoff picture

1. New Orleans Saints (11-2)
2. Los Angeles Rams (11-2)
3. Chicago Bears (9-4)
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-5)
5. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
6. Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1)

In the hunt:
Carolina Panthers (6-7)
Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
Washington Redskins (6-7)
Green Bay Packers (5-7-1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-8)
New York Giants (5-8)
Detroit Lions (5-8)
Atlanta Falcons (4-9)

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