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NFL playoff picture: Who can clinch a playoff berth, who can be eliminated in Week 16

The NFL playoff picture is coming into focus. We break down who can punch their ticket and who can be mathematically elimimated for the 2023 NFL Playoffs in Week 16.

A.J. Brown #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles spikes the ball in the end zone against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field on December 4, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The NFL has wrapped up Week 15 and Christmas week is upon. Week 16 gets underway on when the Jaguars and Jets face off on Thursday Night Football. The Jaguars are a game back of the Titans in the AFC South, while the Jets are eliminated from AFC East contention and could be eliminated with a few scenarios in Week 16.

The biggest news of the week heading into the schedule is Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury. The Eagles QB could miss two or more weeks and that could end up costing the Eagles the No. 1 seed. Gardner Minshew would replace him in the starting lineup, and while a capable quarterback, he’s a significant downgrade. The Eagles are three games up in the NFC East, so the division title is still there’s for the taking. But their two game lead on the Vikings for the top seed is a little dicier.

On the AFC side, the Bills can lock up the AFC East while three other teams can clinch a playoff berth. Buffalo has the tiebreaker edge over the Chiefs for the No. 1 seed, but they’re tied and thus Buffalo can’t clinch home field advantage until Week 17 at the earliest.

Below is a look at every clinching and elimination scenario heading into Week 16. The ones involving strictly ties are fairly unlikely, but this past weekend showed how crazy the NFL can be. More teams will punch their ticket this weekend and we’ll see more teams eliminated.

Playoff clinching scenarios

Philadelphia Eagles

Clinch NFC East with:

  • Win

Clinch No. 1 seed (first round bye, home field advantage) with:

  • Win, OR
  • Tie + Vikings loss/tie

New York Giants

Clinch playoff berth with WIN and:

  • Commanders loss + Lions loss, OR
  • Commanders loss + Seahawks loss, OR
  • Seahawks loss + Lions loss

Buffalo Bills

Clinch AFC East with:

Cincinnati Bengals

Clinch playoff berth with:

  • Win/tie, OR
  • Jets loss/tie

Baltimore Ravens

Clinch playoff berth with:

  • Win + Patriots loss/tie + Jets loss/tie, OR
  • Win + Patriots loss/tie + Dolphins loss/tie, OR
  • Win + Jets loss/tie + Dolphins loss/tie, OR
  • Tie + Patriots loss + Jets loss, OR
  • Tie + Patriots loss + Jets tie + Dolphins loss, OR
  • Tie + Patriots loss + Jets tie + Chargers win,
  • Tie + Patriots loss + Dolphins loss + Chargers win, OR
  • Tie + Patriots tie + Jets loss + Dolphins loss, OR
  • Tie + Patriots tie + Jets tie + Dolphins loss + Chargers win, OR
  • Jets loss + Patriots loss + Browns loss/tie + Raiders loss/tie + Chargers win + Titans loss/tie

Los Angeles Chargers

Clinch playoff berth with WIN and:

  • Raiders loss/tie + Jets loss + Patriots loss, OR
  • Raiders loss/tie + Jets loss + Patriots tie + Dolphins loss, OR
  • Raiders loss/tie + Jets tie + Patriots loss + Dolphins loss, OR

Playoff elimination scenarios

New Orleans Saints

  • Loss + Bucs win

Atlanta Falcons

  • Loss + Bucs win, OR
  • Loss + Bucs tie + Panthers win, OR
  • Loss + Bucs tie + Panthers tie + Saints win, OR
  • Loss + Panthers win + Saints win, OR

Green Bay Packers

  • Loss + Commanders win

Indianapolis Colts

  • Loss/tie, OR
  • Titans win/tie, OR
  • Jaguars win/tie

New York Jets

  • Loss/tie + Chargers win + Dolphins win + Patriots win + Ravens win/tie, OR
  • Loss/tie + Chargers win + Dolphins win + Patriots win + Browns loss/tie

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Loss
  • Tie + Chargers win/tie + Patriots win/tie, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win/tie + Jets win/tie, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win/tie + Dolphins tie, OR
  • Tie + Chargers tie + Dolphins win, OR
  • Chargers win + Dolphins, OR
  • Chargers win + Dolphins + Patriots win, OR
  • Chargers win + Dolphins + Jets win, OR
  • Chargers win + Patriots win + Jets win, OR

Cleveland Browns

  • Loss, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win/tie + Dolphins win/tie, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win/tie + Patriots win/tie, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win/tie + Jets win/tie, OR
  • Ravens win/tie + Chargers win + Dolphins win, OR
  • Ravens win/tie + Chargers win + Dolphins tie + Patriots win, OR
  • Ravens win/tie + Chargers win + Dolphins tie + Jets win, OR
  • Ravens win/tie + Chargers win + Patriots win + Jets win

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Loss + Chargers win/tie + Dolphins win/tie, OR
  • Loss + Chargers win/tie + Jets win/tie, OR
  • Loss + Chargers win/tie + Patriots win/tie, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win + Dolphins win, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win + Dolphins tie + Patriots win, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win + Dolphins tie + Jets win, OR
  • Tie + Chargers win + Patriots win + Jets win