NFL playoff scenarios 2013: Broncos, Chiefs, Seahawks can clinch in Week 13

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Three teams have the opportunity to lock down the first spot in the playoffs if things fall right this week.

It's that time of year again: The best teams in the league — the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks — have convoluted scenarios that could lead them to clinch a playoff berth this weekend.

For the Broncos to clinch a playoff spot in Week 13, they need to beat the Chiefs and have any of these scenarios come true:

  • Chargers loss or tie, Titans loss or tie, Jets loss and Ravens loss
  • Chargers loss or tie, Titans loss or tie and Ravens/Steelers tie
  • Chargers loss or tie, Titans loss or tie and Dolphins/Jets tie
  • Chargers loss or tie, Ravens/Steelers tie and Dolphins/Jets tie
  • Titans loss or tie, Ravens/Steelers tie and Dolphins/Jets tie

Even though we had our first tie of the season last week, ties remain an incredibly rare occurrence in the NFL, to the point where many players don't even know that they are allowed to happen. That makes the first scenario, which would require the Chargers, Jets, Ravens and Titans to lose, is the most likely to clear the path to a Broncos clinch in Week 13.

If the Chiefs win Sunday's big clash against the Broncos, they have seven possible scenarios by which to clinch a playoff spot:

  • Chargers loss or tie, Titans loss or tie, Jets loss and Ravens loss
  • Chargers loss or tie, Titans loss or tie, Dolphins loss and Patriots loss
  • Chargers loss or tie, Titans loss or tie and Jets/Dolphins tie
  • Chargers loss or tie, Titans loss or tie and Ravens/Steelers tie
  • Chargers loss or tie, Dolphins loss, Patriots loss and Ravens/Steelers tie
  • Chargers loss or tie, Dolphins/Jets tie and Ravens/Steelers tie
  • Titans loss or tie, Dolphins/Jets tie and Ravens/Steelers tie

There are a few scenarios that are reasonably in play here. If the Chiefs wants to clinch in Week 13, they need the Chargers to lose and root hard against the Titans, Ravens and Patriots.

Only one team in the NFC has the ability to clinch a playoff spot this weekend, and that's the 10-1 Seahawks. They have five scenarios that are far less complex than the jumble in the AFC:

  • Seahawks win and Cardinals loss
  • Seahawks win and 49ers loss
  • Seahawks win, Cardinals tie and 49ers tie
  • Seahawks tie, Cardinals loss, 49ers loss, Cowboys loss or tie and Bears loss or tie
  • Seahawks tie, Cardinals loss, 49ers loss, Cowboys loss or tie and Lions loss

The Seahawks play Monday night against the Saints, so if either the Eagles beat the Cardinals or the Rams beat the 49ers, there might be champagne on ice in the Seattle locker room.

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