NFL Playoffs Picture: How These 5 Teams Can Make the Postseason in Week 16

Seven playoff spots remain up for grabs ahead of the penultimate week of the NFL regular season.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers have punched a postseason ticket in the AFC, while the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done so in the NFC.

Five more teams could secure a postseason berth in the remainder of Week 16, as the playoffs picture becomes clearer. Here's how they each could do it.


Kansas City Chiefs (13-1)

The Chiefs have long clinched a playoff spot and a win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday will see the reigning Super Bowl champions secure the AFC's No. 1 seed, which means the Chiefs will have a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Should Kansas City lose, it can still claim the No. 1 spot as long as one between the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are on a three-game losing streak, and the Buffalo Bills loses.

Tennessee Titans (10-4)

The Titans currently hold the fourth seed in the AFC and will clinch the AFC South title with a win in Green Bay against the Packers on Sunday Night Football if the Indianapolis Colts lose in Pittsburgh in the afternoon. Should the Colts win, Tennessee would still clinch a playoff berth with a win or if the Baltimore Ravens lose at home to the New York Giants.

Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill
Derrick Henry #22 talks with Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans during the game against the Detroit Lions at Nissan Stadium on December 20 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Lions 46-25. Wesley Hitt/Getty

Cleveland Browns (10-4)

The Browns hold the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will return to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years if they defeat the 1-13 New York Jets on the road and the Ravens fail to beat the Giants. Should Baltimore win, Cleveland would still clinch a playoff spot if the Colts lose in Pittsburgh. The latter result, however, would ensure the Browns can only qualify for the postseason as one of the wildcard teams as the Steelers would win the AFC North by beating the Colts.

Indianapolis Colts (10-4)

The Colts only trail the Titans in the AFC South by virtue of having a worse record against divisional opponents and can secure a playoff spot if they win in Pittsburgh and the Ravens fail to beat the Giants.


Green Bay Packers (11-3)

The Packers can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the first-round bye and home field advantage that come with it if they defeat the Titans on Sunday Night Football and the Seahawks fail to win at home against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon.

Los Angeles Rams (9-5)

The Rams have slipped to sixth in the NFC standings after Tampa Bay's 47-7 rout over the Detroit Lions on Saturday but can punch a postseason ticket with a win in Seattle against the Seahawks. Should the Rams lose against their NFC West rivals, they would still qualify for the postseason if the Chicago Bears don't win in Jacksonville against the 1-13 Jaguars.

Losing in Seattle would also see the Seahawks clinch the NFC West title.

Washington Football Team (6-8)

Washington can clinch a first NFC East division title and a first postseason berth since 2015 if it defeats Carolina at home on Sunday afternoon and the Giants lose in Baltimore. A tie would also be enough for the Football Team, as long as the Giants lose and the matchup between fellow NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles ends in a tie.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Dan Cancian is currently a reporter for Newsweek based in London, England. Prior to joining Newsweek in January 2018, he was a news and business reporter at International Business Times UK. Dan has also written for The Guardian and The Observer. 

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