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NFL playoff picture: Week 16 provides seven teams with clinching scenarios

The playoff picture is rapidly coming into focus. Week 16 is likely to bring at least one playoff clinching.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs out of the tunnel as he is introduced prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NFL kicks off Week 16 on Thursday Night Football with the Tennessee Titans hosting the San Francisco 49ers at Nissan Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET and the game will air exclusively on NFL Network. Neither team can clinch a playoff berth with a win in the game, but the Titans can get into the postseason tournament with a win and some help.

The NFL announced the full list of Week 16 playoff scenarios on Thursday morning. Seven teams are able to clinch at least a playoff berth, including the Chiefs, Patriots, Titans, Cardinals, Cowboys, Rams, and Bucs. All but Arizona and LA can clinch their division this weekend. Of that group, the four NFC teams can all get in with just a win. The Bucs and Cowboys can win their respective divisions with a win.

Last weekend saw the Packers become the first team to clinch a playoff berth. They clinched the NFC North title with their win over the Ravens.

Here’s the full list of scenarios for Week 16.

Teams that have clinched: Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) — vs. Pittsburgh (7-6-1), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:

  1. Win + LAC loss or tie OR
  2. Tie + LAC loss

Kansas City clinches playoff berth with:

  1. Win OR
  2. Tie + BUF loss OR
  3. Tie + IND loss OR
  4. Tie + CIN-BAL does not end in a tie

New England Patriots (9-5) — vs. Buffalo (8-6), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

  1. Win + MIA loss or tie

New England clinches playoff berth with:

  1. Win + LV loss or tie + LAC loss OR
  2. Win + IND loss or tie + CIN loss OR
  3. Win + IND loss or tie + BAL loss + PIT loss or tie OR
  4. Win + IND loss or tie + LAC loss OR
  5. Win + BAL loss + CLE loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

Tennessee Titans (9-5) — vs. San Francisco (8-6), Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET

Tennessee clinches AFC South division title with:

  1. Win + IND loss

Tennessee clinches playoff berth with:

  1. Win + MIA loss or tie + BUF loss + DEN loss or tie + CLE loss or tie + PIT loss OR
  2. Win + MIA loss or tie + BUF loss + DEN loss or tie + CLE loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

NOTE: There are other scenarios in which Tennessee can clinch a playoff berth that involve a Titans win, a Dolphins loss or tie, a Bills loss and a combination of other teams losing and various strength-of-victory clinchings.

Arizona Cardinals (10-4) — vs. Indianapolis (8-6), Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Arizona clinches playoff berth with:

  1. Win or tie OR
  2. PHI loss or tie + SF loss OR
  3. PHI loss or tie + MIN loss or tie OR
  4. PHI loss or tie + NO loss or tie OR
  5. MIN loss or tie + SF loss OR
  6. MIN loss or tie + NO loss or tie OR
  7. NO loss or tie + SF loss

Dallas Cowboys (10-4) (vs. Washington (6-8), Sunday night, 8:20 PM, NBC)

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:

  1. Win or tie OR
  2. PHI loss or tie OR
  3. DAL clinches at least a tie in strength-of-victory tiebreaker over PHI

Dallas clinches playoff berth with:

  1. NO loss or tie OR
  2. SF loss OR
  3. TB win or tie

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) — at Minnesota (7-7), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Rams clinch playoff berth with:

  1. Win or tie OR
  2. PHI loss or tie + NO loss or tie

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-4) — at Carolina (5-9), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay clinches NFC South division title with:

  1. Win or tie OR
  2. NO loss or tie

Tampa Bay clinches playoff berth with:

  1. MIN loss or tie + PHI loss or tie OR
  2. MIN loss or tie + DAL win or tie OR
  3. MIN loss or tie + DAL clinches at least a tie in strength-of-victory tiebreaker over PHI