NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, others in Week 16

Sporting News

As has been the case over the last couple weeks, six teams again had NFL playoff clinching scenarios in play for Week 16, which began with three games on Saturday and runs through a Monday night game in Minnesota that's crucial for the playoff picture.

Eight teams entered Week 16 having already clinched NFL playoff berths, leaving four spots to be claimed over the final two weeks of the season. The seedings in both the AFC and NFC brackets were undetermined, but that changed in Week 16. The Ravens became the first team to lock themselves into a No. 1 seed, which gives them home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture

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Three divisions already had been clinched entering Week 16, and two more were settled this week, as the Patriots and Texans became champions of the AFC East and AFC South, respectively.

In addition, two teams that had not yet clinched playoff berths, the Vikings and Texans, did so in Week 16.

Below are all the NFL playoff clinching scenarios for the six teams that had chances to stamp their postseason statuses in Week 16, followed by a complete playoff picture.

NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 16

Green Bay Packers (11-3)

(at Vikings)

Packers clinch NFC North title with:

  1. Packers win or tie

Dallas Cowboys (7-7)

(at Eagles)

Cowboys clinch NFC East title with:

  1. Cowboys win

Minnesota Vikings (10-4)

(vs. Packers)

Vikings clinch playoff berth with:

  1. Vikings win or tie OR

  2. Rams loss or tie

(UPDATE: The Vikings clinched a playoff berth with the Rams' loss to the 49ers on Saturday.)

MORE: How Vikings can win NFC North over Packers

Baltimore Ravens (12-2)

(at Browns)

Ravens clinch a first-round bye with:

  1. Ravens win or tie OR

  2. Chiefs loss or tie OR

  3. Patriots loss

Ravens clinch home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

  1. Ravens win OR

  2. Ravens tie AND Patriots loss or tie OR

  3. Chiefs loss or tie AND Patriots loss

(UPDATE: The Ravens clinched the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with their win over the Browns on Sunday.)

New England Patriots (11-3)

(vs. Bills)

Patriots clinch AFC East with:

  1. Patriots win or tie

(UPDATE: The Patriots clinched the AFC East with their win over the Bills on Saturday.)

Patriots clinch a first-round bye with:

  1. Patriots win AND Chiefs loss or tie OR

  2. Patriots tie AND Chiefs loss

Houston Texans (9-5)

(at Buccaneers)

Texans clinch AFC South title with:

  1. Texans win OR

  2. Texans tie AND Titans tie OR

  3. Titans loss

(UPDATE: The Texans clinched the AFC South and a playoff berth with their win over the Buccaneers on Saturday.)

Texans clinch playoff berth with:

  1. Texans tie AND Steelers tie OR

  2. Steelers loss

MORE: How Steelers can earn AFC wild card

NFL playoff picture

  • AFC

Seed

Team

Record

Clinched

1.

Baltimore Ravens

13-2

No. 1 seed; division; playoff berth

2.

New England Patriots

12-3

Division; playoff berth

3.

Kansas City Chiefs

11-4

Division; playoff berth

4.

Houston Texans

10-5

Division; playoff berth

5.

Buffalo Bills

10-5

No. 5 seed; playoff berth

6.

Tennessee Titans

8-7

-

In the hunt: Steelers (8-7), Raiders (7-8)

  • NFC

Seed

Team

Record

Clinched

1.

San Francisco 49ers

12-3

Playoff berth

2.

New Orleans Saints

12-3

Division; playoff berth

3.

Green Bay Packers

11-3

Playoff berth

4.

Philadelphia Eagles

8-7

-

5.

Seattle Seahawks​

11-4

Playoff berth

6.

Minnesota Vikings

10-4

Playoff berth

In the hunt: Cowboys (7-8)

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