MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Drew Brees #9 and Brian De La Puente #60 of the New Orleans Saints calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter on December 18, 2011 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

NFL Playoff Scenarios: Who Can Secure A Playoff Spot In Week 16?

Seven teams have already clinched a playoff spot and several more can get in this weekend.

  • Live
26 Total Updates since December 18, 2011
  • Important 1
  • Updates 20
  • Articles 6
  • All Updates 26

NFL Playoff Picture: Steelers Fail To Gain Control Of AFC North, 49ers Still In Line For Bye

The Pittsburgh Steelers did more than lose the game on Monday night -- they also lost the chance to move ahead of the Baltimore Ravens into first place in the AFC North. The San Francisco 49ers, meanwhile, remain in the driver's seat to securing a first-round bye in the NFC.  

• The Steelers and Ravens hold identical 10-4 records, but the Ravens hold the tiebreaker advantage by virtue of their two wins in head-to-head play. On the heels of Baltimore's 34-14 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, the Steelers had a perfect opportunity to render Baltimore's tiebreaker moot by gaining a one-game advantage with two left to play. Instead, they're back to where they started, needing Baltimore to lose a game instead of controlling their own destiny.

If the Steelers somehow manage to finish ahead of the Ravens but post the same record as the Houston Texans, the Texans will get the first-round bye thanks to their Week 4 win over Pittsburgh. The Ravens, on the other hand, beat the Texans in Week 6, giving Baltimore the tiebreaker over Houston.

The Ravens face the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore in Week 16 and travel to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. The Steelers host the Rams in Week 16 and travel to Cleveland in Week 17. 

• As for the 49ers, they've long since clinched the NFC West. They're technically still in the running for the No. 1 seed, but that would require winning out with the Green Bay Packers losing their final two games.

Even so, the 49ers can still clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the Divisional Round if they win their last two games. Like San Francisco, the Saints have a 11-3 record, but the 49ers currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to a one-game advantage in conference play (8-2 vs. 7-3). 

The 49ers finish the season with two road games, at the St. Louis Rams in Week 16 and at the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17. The Saints have two home games against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16 and Carolina Panthers in Week 17.


NFL Playoff Picture: Who's In, Who Has A Chance, And Who Has A Chance But Not Really

Through Week 15, 22 of the NFL's 32 teams are still in the NFL playoff picture. Take a gander at how your team's chances look, if inevitable disappointment is your thing.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.