NFL Week 16 Playoff Permutations: Six Playoff spots can be secured on penultimate weekend

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The close of the regular season is upon us and the final few spots in the playoffs remain up for grabs with just two weekends of football left to play, which sets things up very nicely for a dramatic finish.

We’ve got you covered with all of the NFL permutations heading into the penultimate weekend of action.

Already qualified: Kansas City Chiefs (AFC), Los Angeles Chargers (AFC), New Orleans Saints (NFC), Los Angeles Rams (NFC), Chicago Bears (NFC).


Houston Texans (10-4-0) – 2nd Seed

The Texans require a victory over the Eagles to seal the AFC South title and a spot in the playoffs. If either the Colts or the Titans lose or draw, the title will also belong to Houston.

A first-round bye in the AFC playoffs can be secured with a win along with a Patriots defeat or draw. A bye can also be secured if the Texans draw and the Patriots lose.


Finally, the Texans will qualify for the playoffs regardless of their results if the Ravens lose or tie, the Steelers lose, or the Titans lose or tie – with the Texans clinching strength of victory tiebreaker over the Ravens in the latter scenario.

New England Patriots (9-5-0) – 3rd Seed

The Patriots are within touching distance of sealing another AFC East title and will secure that objective if they avoid defeat against the Bills. If they do lose to Buffalo, the title can be secured if the Dolphins fail to win.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) – 4th Seed

The Steelers can secure the AFC North title this weekend if they beat the Saints and the Ravens do not win. A tie would also be enough if Baltimore loses to the Chargers.


A playoff berth can also be secured if three results go the way of the Steelers, as it would require Pittsburgh to win with both the Colts and the Titans losing.

Baltimore Ravens (8-6-0) – 6th Seed

The Ravens cannot seal their fate this weekend but need a result to maintain pressure on the Steelers, as a defeat or a tie against the Chargers accompanied by a win for Pittsburgh would see the AFC North title escape Baltimore’s grasp.

Defeat for the Ravens along with a victory for the Colts or the Titans would see Baltimore drop out of their current position as the sixth seed.

In the hunt

Indianapolis Colts (8-6-0), Tennessee Titans (8-6-0), Miami Dolphins (7-7-0), Cleveland Browns (6-7-1).


Dallas Cowboys (8-6-0) – 4th Seed

The Cowboys will clinch the NFC East title with a win over the Buccaneers but could also achieve that goal with a tie, as long as both the Redskins and the Eagles also fail to win. A loss would also be enough if Philadelphia and Washington also tasted defeat.

If the Cowboys tie and the Vikings lose, Dallas will seal their spot in the playoffs.

Seattle Seahawks (8-6-0) – 5th Seed

The Seahawks will know what they have to do heading into their tie against the Chiefs, as they occupy the late starting slot on Sunday evening, although they need some other games to go their way.

A win over Kansas would be enough if the Redskins failed to win or if the Vikings lose, while a tie can see Seattle advance if the Redskins lose and the Eagles fail to win.

Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) – 6th Seed

The Vikings can seal their spot in the playoffs if they beat the Lions and the Redskins lose, though they would still require the Eagles to fail to win.

In the hunt

Philadelphia Eagles (7-7-0), Washington Redskins (7-7-0), Carolina Panthers (6-8-0).

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