The New York Jets were the first team to be eliminated from NFL playoff contention, getting mathematically knocked out in Week 11. As Week 12 dawns, we have our first playoff clinching scenario.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently 10-0 and only the third team in the past 50 years to play on Thanksgiving with an undefeated record, per Adam Schefter. It should surprise nobody that they can clinch a playoff berth in Week 12 with a win and some help. This would mark the earliest clinching in franchise history, per Joe Ferreira.
The Steelers have to win to further the clinching scenario. If they beat the Ravens on Thursday, they clinch a playoff berth with either a Dolphins loss plus Raiders loss or tie, OR a Dolphins tie plus Raiders loss. If both the Dolphins and Raiders tie, Pittsburgh would not clinch a playoff berth.
The NFL has seven playoff berths in each conference, with a third wild card added to both sides. The Steelers are going to the playoffs, but it will take at least a couple more weeks to secure the AFC North title. They are currently three games ahead of the Cleveland Browns and four games ahead of the Baltimore Ravens.
If the Steelers beat the Ravens on Thanksgiving, it would eliminate the Ravens from division title contention. The Steelers could clinch the AFC North as early as Week 13 if they beat Baltimore this week and Washington next week while the Browns lose to Jacksonville and Tennessee these next two weeks.