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NFL playoff picture: Scenarios for Bears, Cowboys, Seahawks others to clinch in Week 15 | NFL

The NFL playoff picture is becoming more clear as Week 15 continues. 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, an objective that was complicated by their Thursday night loss to the Chargers. The Patriots and Chargers also have chances to clinch division titles this week.

WEEK 15 PICKS: Against spread | Straight up

Below are the NFL playoff clinching scenarios in play for Week 15, plus the overall playoff picture as the 2018 postseason draws near.

NFL playoff clinching scenarios

AFC

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 and home-field advantage throughout 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

— Patriots clinch playoff berth with:

  1. Patriots win + Titans loss/tie OR
  2. Patriots tie + Ravens loss + Titans loss + Colts loss/tie

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

— Texans clinch playoff berth with:

  1. Texans win + Dolphins loss/tie + Steelers loss OR
  2. Texans win + Dolphins loss/tie + Ravens loss/tie OR
  3. Texans tie + Colts loss/tie + Ravens loss + Dolphins loss OR
  4. Texans tie + Colts loss/tie + Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Dolphins tie OR
  5. Texans tie + Colts loss/tie + Steelers loss + Ravens win + Dolphins loss OR
  6. Texans tie + Titans loss/tie + Ravens loss + Dolphins loss OR
  7. Texans tie + Titans loss/tie + Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Dolphins tie OR
  8. Texans tie + Titans loss/tie + Steelers loss + Ravens win + Dolphins loss

Los Angeles Chargers

(at Chiefs)

— Chargers clinch playoff berth with:

  1. Chargers win/tie OR
  2. Dolphins loss/tie + Steelers loss OR
  3. Dolphins loss/tie + Ravens loss/tie OR
  4. Dolphins loss/tie + Colts loss/tie + Titans loss/tie OR
  5. Steelers loss + Colts loss/tie + Titans loss/tie OR
  6. Ravens loss/tie + Colts loss/tie + Titans loss/tie

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

  1. Chargers win

NFC

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 OR
  2. Vikings loss OR
  3. Bears tie + Vikings tie

— Bears clinch a playoff berth with:

  1. Bears tie OR
  2. Redskins loss/tie

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 OR
  2. Seahawks tie + Vikings loss + Panthers loss/tie OR
  3. Seahawks tie + Vikings loss + Eagles loss/tie + Redskins loss/tie OR
  4. Seahawks tie + Panthers loss/tie + Eagles loss/tie + Redskins loss/tie

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

  1. Seahawks win + Vikings loss

NFL playoff picture

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

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

MORE: Analysis of current playoff picture

NFC
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)

(Note: Week 15 playoff scenarios via NFL communications.)

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