MINNEAPOLIS MN - DECEMBER 20: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on December 20 2010 in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

NFL Playoff Scenarios: Six Playoff Spots Could Be Decided Week 16

The NFL playoff picture is starting to gain some clarity after several key games in Week 15.

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NFL Playoff Picture: Giants-Packers, Saints-Falcons Among Big Week 16 Games

The NFL playoff picture is becoming clearer with each passing week with four teams already clinching playoff spots. As usual, we've got some huge Week 16 games. Some teams are fighting off elimination while others are trying to clinch a playoff spot. You can read about the NFL playoff scenarios that involve clinching a playoff spot here.

Here are six games in Week 16 that will go a long way to figuring out who's in and who's out:

49ers vs. Rams: Yeah a 5-9 team playing a 6-8 team is important to the NFL playoff picture. That's life in the NFC West. A 49ers victory and they'd be tied with the Rams in the division. If the Seahawks lose as well, then San Francisco has a serious shot to win this thing. They would own the head to head tiebreaker with the Rams and the division tiebreaker with the Seahawks.

Giants vs. Packers: The 9-5 Giants will travel to Green Bay to play the 8-6 Packers. The Giants own the wildcard if it ended today so a victory would strengthen that while a victory for the Packers would make things a lot more interesting in the NFC.

Seahawks vs. Buccaneers: Seattle's in the NFC West so you can't count them out even with a loss. The 8-6 Bucs on the other hand are fighting for the final wildcard spot, currently held by the Giants. The Giants-Packers game on Sunday will clear a few things up but obviously the Bucs need to win out.

Titans vs. Chiefs: The 6-8 Titans aren't in the playoff hunt but the 9-5 Chiefs are. KC is one game ahead of the Chargers, who are on fire right now, so they'll probably need to win out to secure the division.

Chargers vs. Bengals: San Diego, like the Chiefs, needs to win out. Unlike the Chiefs, they need some help. San Diego owns multiple tiebreakers over the Chiefs and, depending on how things work out, would probably win the division with two more wins and a Chiefs loss. They're currently one game behind KC.

Saints vs. Falcons: A Saints victory would make things a little interesting. The 12-2 Falcons hold a two-game lead over the 10-4 Saints in the AFC South but a New Orleans victory would bring them to within one game and tie them up in both division and conference record. Looking ahead, two Falcons losses and two Saints wins would make for some tiebreaker fun. The way the Falcons have played all year, they're not likely to lose two consecutive games.

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NFL Playoff Picture: Scenarios For Teams To Clinch In Week 16

Four teams have clinched a spot in the NFL playoffs: The Bears, Falcons, Patriots and Steelers. The rest of the playoff picture is yet to be determined with six playoff berths up for grabs as we enter Week 16. Here are the scenarios which would lead to more teams clinching this week.

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs clinch the AFC West if they beat the Tennessee Titans and the San Diego Chargers either tie or lose to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Baltimore Ravens can clinch a playoff berth simply by beating the Cleveland Browns. If the lose, they’ll need help from several other teams to secure a playoff spot this week. Finally, the New York Jets clinch by beating the Chicago Bears, or if the Jacksonville Jaguars OR Indianapolis Colts lose.

In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons clinch the NFC South and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win. The Philadelphia Eagles clinch the NFC East if they beat the Minnesota Vikings. New Orleans earns a playoff berth if they beat the Falcons, OR if Tampa Bay loses. Finally, the Giants earn a berth by beating the Green Bay Packers.

So, essentially: The Chiefs, Ravens, Jets, Eagles, Saints and Giants could enter the 2010 playoff picture after Week 16.

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NFL Playoff Picture: Bears Become Fourth Team To Clinch Playoff Spot

The Chicago Bears beat Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football as they became the fourth team in the NFL to clinch a playoff spot, which means about one-third of the playoff teams are decided. The Bears are, however, the only team to clinch their division at this point.

In the NFC, the 10-4 Bears join the 12-2 Atlanta Falcons as the only team to clinch. The Falcons are two games up on the New Orleans Saints in the AFC NFC South so a Falcons win or a Saints loss this weekend will clinch the division for them. If the playoffs started today in the NFC, you'd have the following teams in: Falcons, Bears, Eagles, Rams, Saints and Giants. Yes, that means the Eagles would meet the Giants and the Packers would be out.

In the AFC, the 12-2 New England Patriots and 10-4 Pittsburgh Steelers are the only two teams to clinch a playoff spot at this point. The Patriots can wrap up the division this weekend with a victory or a Jets loss. If the playoffs started today, you'd have the following teams in: Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs, Colts, Ravens and Jets.

Of the four teams that have clinched a playoff spot, the Bears are the most surprising. I'm not sure there were a ton of folks who predicted them in the playoffs, let alone clinching the division in Week 15.

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NFL Playoff Picture: Dolphins, Texans Among 12 Teams Eliminated

With two weeks remaining there are 20 teams still alive in the NFL playoff picture. The glass-half-empty view of that is that there are now 12 teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention. In Week 15 the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals were eliminated with their losses.

Here's a break down of who has been eliminated to this point:

AFC: Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals.

NFC: Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers.

Among the surprises in the AFC are the Texans who many thought were primed for a playoff run this year. They've been competitive but ultimately their defense has hurt them continually putting them in deficits that are just out of reach.

Among the surprises in the NFC are of course the Vikings and Cowboys, who most figured were playoff bound. Their failures this season have been well-documented.

Amazingly, the Cardinals were just eliminated this week and that's only because they'd lose tiebreakers to the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals could still win out, have the Seahawks and Rams lose, tie them for the division lead and lose because of the tiebreaker. Must be nice to be in the NFC West.

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NFL Playoff Scenarios: Bears Clinch With Victory Over Vikings On Monday Night Football

You can go crazy looking at all the NFL playoff scenarios at this time of year but for the Chicago Bears it's very simple at this point -- win and you're in. The Bears will travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Monday Night Football and if they win they'll clinch a playoff spots.

The Bears entered Week 15 one game ahead of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. The Packers lost to the New England Patriots moving them to 8-6 on the season while the Bears stand at 9-4 before Monday's game against the Vikings. If the Bears win on Monday, they'll move to 10-4 and two games ahead of the Packers will two to play.

The reason the Bears will clinch with a victory is that it would be their fifth victory in the NFC North meaning they would own the division tiebreaker over the Packers should they go on to lose out and tie the Packers.

It's been an incredible ride for the Bears this season as I don't think anyone predicted they would be in this position. The old Bears defense has shown up this year and the Bears have capitalized on opportunities throughout the season.

The Bears would become the second team in the NFC to clinch a playoff spot behind the Atlanta Falcons and the fourth team in the NFL behind the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.

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NFL Playoff Picture: Jets, Ravens Holding Onto Wildcard; Steelers Clinch

The AFC playoff picture is starting to become a little clearer with the Week 15 action. There are plenty of NFL playoff scenarios but these two teams have clinched a spot -- New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots are on track to be the top seed and it looks like the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens are the team to beat in the wildcard race right now.

Here's how the AFC playoff picture is shaping up:

AFC East: The Patriots have this thing wrapped up. They'll be division champs and barring something unexpected they'll be the No. 1 seed in the AFC with homefield advantage throughout. Second place in the AFC East is quite good as well. The 10-4 New York Jets beat the 10-4 Pittsburgh Steelers this week so they're holding tight in the wildcard race.

AFC North: This is getting a little more interesting with the Steelers loss and the Baltimore Ravens victory over the New Orleans Saints. Both are now 10-4 as we enter the final two weeks of the season. Right now, the Steelers hold the tiebreaker and they would win the division if the season ended today. We'll see how these two finish down the stretch but, either way, it looks like they'll both get in whether it be by winning the division or wildcard. The Steelers have already clinched a playoff spot.

AFC South: The Jacksonville Jaguars could have won the division if they beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday but they failed to do so and perhaps lost their playoffs hopes. The Colts now control the division and would be the division winner if the season ended today. Jacksonville needs Indy to screw up once down the stretch because the wildcard is unlikely for them.

AFC West: The Kansas City Chiefs stayed one game ahead of the San Diego Chargers as we enter the final stretch. The Chiefs need to win out to secure a playoff bid while the Chargers, who hold most tiebreakers with the Chiefs, need Kansas City to slip up.

Wildcard: The AFC wildcards are coming down to the Jets and Ravens. Right now, the 10-4 Jets and 10-4 Ravens have breathing room on the 8-6 Chargers and Jaguars. If I'm a betting man, I'm going with the Jets and Ravens as your two wildcards.

If the playoffs started today: The No. 1 seed would be the Patriots and the No. 2 seed would be the Steelers and both teams would get a first round bye. The third seed Chiefs would be hosting the Jets and the Colts would host the Ravens.

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NFL Playoff Scenarios: Eagles Pull Ahead Of Giants; Packers Tumble, Again

The NFC playoff race is beginning to take shape as we begin to enter the final two weeks of the season. The Atlanta Falcons have clinched a playoff spot and at this point they're the top dog in the NFC. They've won 12 of their last 13 and enter a showdown against the New Orleans Saints next weekend.

Here's how the rest of the NFL playoff picture is shaping up:

NFC East: The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants were tied at 9-4 atop the NFC East entering this week and then the Giants....well, they got DeSean Jackson'd. Philly's victory over the Giants this week gives them a one game lead in the division. This is the Eagles division if they win out. The Giants now battle the Green Bay Packers for the final wildcard spot.

NFC North: The Chicago Bears play the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football at TCF Bank Stadium as they stand in first place in the NFC North. The Packers were one game behind them entering this week and lost to the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football so they can gain some serious cushion by beating the Vikings. The Bears appear on their way to winning this division. The Packers need to beat out the Giants for a wildcard spot.

NFC South: Outside of the Patriots, the Falcons may be the best team in football at 12-2 and they hold a two-game lead over the Saints. The Falcons will win this division and they will likely be the No. 1 seed in the NFC with homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

NFC West: Ugh. Both the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks lost this weekend moving them both to 6-8 on the year. Believe it or not, the San Francisco 49ers, at 5-9, still have a reasonable shot at winning the division. It's hard to argue that this isn't the worst division in the NFL. This division comes down to the Rams playing the Seahawks in Week 17.

Wildcard: It's looking like the Saints will get the top wildcard spot as they hold a one-game lead there. The final wildcard spot looks like it will come down to the Giants, 9-5, and Packers, 8-6. Those two teams play each other in week 16.

If the playoffs started today: The Falcons would be the top seed and the Eagles would be the second seed as both teams would get a first round bye. The Bears would be hosting the Giants and the Rams would be hosting the Saints.

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