Remaining NFL Playoff Scenarios

Chicago Bears

Only two weeks left till the end of the 2013 NFL regular season, with five spots in the NFC still up for grabs and only two in the three in the AFC. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will most likely play for one of them, and the NFC East crown, on the final game, with things quite complicated in the NFC North between the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions as well.

In the AFC, the San Diego Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are waiting for a miracle, while the Miami Dolphins, in a good situation more or less, can still win the division if the New England Patriots look as bad as they did when they visited Florida.


The Seattle Seahawks, at 12-2, have already clinched the playoff spot (the only team in the conference right now). In order to clinch the NFC West, they only need one more win over either Arizona or St. Louis. They can also lose the next two if the 49ers lose one of their next two games against either Arizona or Atlanta. In any case, the worst Seattle can do is finish as the fifth seed in the conference.

The 49ers can only clinch the division if they win their next two games and Seattles loses both of theirs. It’s hard seeing them not making the playoffs – one win over Arizona or Atlanta will give them the wild card spot, while an Arizona loss to Seattle will also mean they can lose their next two games.

The Arizona Cardinals (8-6) need a lot of things to happen so they make the playoffs. A) Win against both the Seahawks and the 49ers while the Niners lose to the Falcons, or B) Win both games while the Saints lose both of theirs. There’s the option of only beating Seattle, but they’ll need Carolina to lose both of their games, or winning against the Seahwks and waiting for Carolina to lose twice and the Niners to beat the Falcons.

The 8-6 and NFC East leaders Philadelphia Eagles can win the division if they beat the Dallas Cowboys on the last day. They can also clinch the division if they win their next game against the Bears and the Cowboys lose to the Redskins. Without finishing first in the division, they’re out of the playoffs.

The Cowboys (7-7) need to beat both Washington and Philadelphia in order to win the division and make the playoffs, but they can also get away with only a win over the Eagles if Philadelphia drop their game against the Bears a week before.

The Bears (8-6) are currently the 4th seed and the leaders in the NFC North. They can reach the playoff only by clinching the division, which means winning both their games against Philly and Green Bay. They can afford losing to the Eagles if they beat the Packers while Detroit loses to either the Giants or the Vikings. They can afford to lose to the Packers if they beat the Eagles and Green Bay loses to Pittsburgh and Detroit lose to either the Giants or the Vikings.

The Lions (7-7) need outside help. The only way they can win the division is if they win both their games. They also need one of the following to happen: Either Chicago beat Green Bay but lose to Philadelphia or Green Bay beat Chicago but lose against the Steelers. Any other combination and they’re out.

The Packers (7-6-1) can do it all on their own if they beat both the Steelers and the Bears. They can afford to lose the Pittsburgh game if they beat Chicago, Bears lose to the Eagles and the Lions lose one of their two games.

For the Saints (10-4) things are quite simple. They only need to beat Carolina in order to clinch the division. They need to beat Tampa for the wild card spot, but can lose both their next games if Arizona lose one of their next two games. The Panthers (10-4) will win the division if they win against New Orleans and Atlanta or win against the Saints while New Orleans lose to Tampa Bay. They can clinch the Wild Card spot by beating the Falcons, but can also lose both their games if the 49ers lose both their games or the Cardinals lose both their games.


Four teams have already clinched a playoff spot. The Colts (9-5) have already clinched the division despite their decline lately. The Denver Broncos (11-3) can win the division if they beat both Houston and Oakland. They can afford winning just one game if the Chiefs lose to the Colts or Chargers, and can lose both game if the Chiefs lose both of theirs.

The Chiefs (11-3) are in the playoffs, but can still win the division if they win both their games and Denver win just one of theirs. They can also win just one and clinch it if the Broncos lose both games.

At 7-7, the San Diego Chargers are still in the picture. They can be the third AFC West team if they win both their games against the Chiefs and Raiders while the Ravens lose twice and Miami lose twice.

The Patriots (10-4), believe it or not, still haven’t clinched the division. They need to win just one of their games against either Baltimore or Buffalo to have it, but can also lose both if Miami lose just one of their remaining games. They don’t need to win any games in order to clinch the wild card spot: Just for Baltimore to lose against Cincinnati or for the Bengals to lose against Minnesota.

The Dolphins (8-6) need some things to go their way in order to make the playoffs, and even win the division. If they win both of their games while the Patriots lose twice, they’ll win the division. In order to get into the playoffs there are plenty of options . A) Winning twice, meaning they control their own destiny. B) Winning once, but Baltimore lose twice. C) Winning once, Baltimore lose once and San Diego win twice. D) Win once, Baltimore beat the Bengals and the Bengals lose to the Vikings. And get ready for the big one: They can lose twice and still make it if San Diego lose once, Steelers win twice, Bengals beat the Ravens and Jets lose to Bills.

The Bengals (9-5) are in a good situation. They can clinch the division if they beat the Ravens, but can also lose to them if they win against the Vikings while Baltimore lose to the Patriots. They can clinch a wild card spot by beating just Minnesota while Miami lose on of their games. Another option is losing twice while Miami lose twice as well.

The Ravens (8-6) have made it to become the sixth seed somehow. They can win the division by winning both their games, or if they win against the Bengals while Cincinnati goes on to lose against Minnesota as well. They can also go through the wild card through a complicated set of options. A) Winning once while Miami lose twice. B) Winning once, Miami lose once, San Diego lose twice. C) Lose twice but Miami loses twice as well, Steelers lose once and Chargers lose once.

The Steelers (6-8) need a miracle. If they beat the Packers and the Browns they’ll also need the Jets to win against Cleveland and Miami, for Miami to lose to Buffalo, for Baltimore to lose twice and for the Chargers to lose once.