NFL Playoff Picture 2019: Which Teams Can Clinch a Spot in the Postseason in Week 15?

Drew Brees,New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints runs to the locker room after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-14 at Raymond James Stadium on December 09 in Tampa, Florida. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

With three games left in the regular season there are nine playoff spots still available as the NFL campaign enters its business end.

The New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs are the only teams guaranteed of a place in the postseason. However, none of them will be resting on their laurels, as they will all be looking to secure a first-round bye.

Read more: NFL Playoff Picture 2019: Which teams secured a postseason spot in Week 14?

Here's the state of play ahead of Week 15.


The New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South title and a playoff spot with a 28-14 win on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints are 11-2 and share the best record in the NFC with the Los Angeles Rams, who won the NFC West despite a 15-6 defeat against the Chicago Bears.

The Saints can clinch a first-round bye if they win on the road against the Carolina Panthers on Monday night and the Bears don't win at home against Green Bay on Sunday.

A loss for Chicago means a tie would be enough for New Orleans. The Rams are in the same situation. If they better the Bears' result at home against the Eagles on Sunday night they will be guaranteed a first-round bye.

Chicago, meanwhile, could land its first NFC North title since 2010 with a win against the Packers, or with any other result as long as the Vikings lose at home to Miami.

A tie will be enough to clinch the Bears' first playoffs berth in eight years. Chicago would also qualify with a loss as long as the Washington the Redskins, who are down to their third-choice quarterback and have lost their last four games, don't win on the road against Jacksonville.

Entering Week 15, which teams have the best chance to make the playoffs?

(via @cfrelund)

— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2018

The Dallas Cowboys are 8-5 and can win the NFC East by beating the Colts in Indianapolis, where they arrive on the back of five straight wins. If Washington and Philadelphia both lose, the divisional will head to Dallas regardless, while if the Cowboys tie they have to hope neither the Redskins nor the Eagles win their respective games.

Seattle is also 8-5 and will be in the playoffs with a win in San Francisco. A tie would be enough for the Seahawks if the Vikings and the Panthers lose, or if the Vikings lose and Philadelphia or Washington lose or tie. If the Vikings avoid defeat, a tie for the Seahawks would be enough as long as neither of Philadelphia, Washington or Carolina win.

NFC current playoff spots

  1. New Orleans Saints 11-2, NFC South Champions
  2. Los Angeles Rams 11-2, NFC West Champions
  3. Chicago Bears 9-4, first in NFC North
  4. Dallas Cowboys 8-5, first in NFC East
  5. Seattle Seahawks 7-5, wild card
  6. Minnesota Vikings 6-5-1, wild card


The Chiefs clinched a playoff spot with an overtime win against the Ravens and are now 11-2. Kansas City can clinch the AFC West and a first round-bye by beating divisional rivals Los Angeles Chargers on home turf on Thursday night.

The Chargers are 10-3 and will secure a playoff berth if they avoid defeat in Kansas City. If they lose, they must hope neither Miami, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Baltimore nor Tennessee win their respective games.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs will also have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs if the New England Patriots fail to win at Pittsburgh.


— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 9, 2018

The Patriots are 9-4 after an upset last-minute loss to Miami in Week 14 but can win the AFC East for the 10th seasons in a row by winning in Pittsburgh on Sunday, if they better the Dolphins' result against the Vikings.

New England will be guaranteed a playoff spot with a win over the Steelers as long as the Titans don't win against the Giants in East Rutherford. A tie would also be good enough for the Patriots, but only if the Titans and the Ravens lose and the Colts fail to win against the Cowboys in Indianapolis.

The Texans are also 9-4 and will take the AFC South if they win on the road against the Jets on Saturday and neither the Colts nor the Titans win their respective games. If Houston's game is a tie, then the Texans need Indianapolis and Tennessee both to lose.

The playoffs permutations for Houston is where it gets complicated. The Texans are in if they win, the Dolphins don't win in Minneapolis and the Ravens don't win at home against the Bucs.

If Baltimore wins but the other two thirds of the equation remain unchanged, the Texans are into the playoffs as long as the Steelers lose at home.

A tie for Houston would be good enough as long as the Colts don't win and the Steelers and the Dolphins both lose, or the Steelers and the Ravens lose and the Dolphins don't win.

If the Ravens win, the Dolphins and the Steelers must lose and the Colts must not win for Houston to make the playoffs. Similarly, if the Texans tie but better the result of the Ravens, Steelers and Dolphins and the Titans don't win, Houston will be through to the post-season.

AFC current playoff spots

  1. Kansas City Chiefs 11-2, first in AFC West
  2. New England Patriots 9-4, first in AFC East
  3. Houston Texans 9-4, first in AFC South
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-5-1, first in AFC North
  5. Los Angeles Chargers 10-3, wild card
  6. Baltimore Ravens 7-6, wild card
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, in Miami, Florida. Michael Reaves/Getty Images