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Patriots, Ravens, Steelers can clinch playoff spots this week

Bernard Pollard, Hines Ward, Ray Lewis AP

The Houston Texans are the only AFC team that has clinched a spot in the playoffs. By the end of Week 15, three other AFC teams may join them.

The NFL has released the playoff scenarios for Week 15, with the Patriots, Ravens and Steelers all having a chance to clinch.

For New England it’s simple: Beat the Broncos on Sunday and they clinch the AFC East. Even if the Patriots lose to the Broncos, they’d clinch the AFC East if the Jets lose to the Eagles. And even if the Patriots lose to the Broncos and the Jets beat the Eagles, the Patriots could still clinch at least an AFC wild card spot if the Bengals, Raiders and Titans all lost.

Neither the Ravens nor the Steelers can clinch the AFC North this week, but both teams will clinch at least a wild card if they win this week. Both teams could also clinch a wild card even if they lose, although they’ll need some help in the form of losses by some of the other AFC contenders (including various combinations of losses from the Jets, Raiders, Titans or Broncos).

In the NFC, three teams that have already clinched playoff berths — the Packers, 49ers and Saints — and no other teams can get into the playoffs this week. But the Packers and Saints are both playing for playoff position this week.

The Saints will clinch the NFC South if they win and the Falcons lose. If both of those things don’t happen, the Falcons will still at least have a chance of winning the NFC South when they go to New Orleans on Monday night in Week 16.

And the Packers will clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with either a win or a 49ers loss. Basically, the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Lambeau Field in any scenario other than the extraordinarily unlikely event that the Packers lose all three of their remaining games and the 49ers win all three of their remaining games.

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29 Responses to “Patriots, Ravens, Steelers can clinch playoff spots this week”
  1. sj39 says: Dec 13, 2011 12:20 PM

    I don’t think the Jets will lose to the Eagles nor will all three other teams lose and you know good will triumph over evil and the Pats will get Tebowed. Clinching will have to wait.

  2. vincentbojackson says: Dec 13, 2011 12:22 PM

    Let’s just cut the crap and fast forward to the Ravens – Steelers AFC championship game.

  3. kmkhaine says: Dec 13, 2011 12:23 PM

    Go 9ers
    (from not a 9er fan)

  4. biz518 says: Dec 13, 2011 12:24 PM

    Go Niners!

  5. pigskinswag says: Dec 13, 2011 12:35 PM

    GEAUX SAINTS!!

  6. gotitan says: Dec 13, 2011 12:48 PM

    vincentbojackson says:Let’s just cut the crap and fast forward to the Ravens – Steelers AFC championship game.

    I say:

    Putting the cart before the horse there aren’t we friend? Guess you forgot that beat down in Titan Town a few weeks ago. The Titans will win out. Then you can watch out. Go Titans!

  7. earthtopft says: Dec 13, 2011 12:52 PM

    Packers will become the answer to a future trivia question.

    “Which team went 25 straight games undefeated and broke every offensive record along the way, the same year as Tim Tebow took over as a starting quarterback?”.

    Green Bay Packers. Write that down somewhere in case you forget it.

  8. crabcakeandfootball1 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:02 PM

    gotitan says:
    Dec 13, 2011 12:48 PM

    “Guess you forgot that beat down in Titan Town a few weeks ago. ”

    —————————————–
    Someone doesn’t know the meanings of “beat down” and “a few”.

  9. pitchblack816 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:03 PM

    @ gotitan:

    In what universe do you live ‘friend’? The Titans are currently on the outside looking in. Enjoy watching the elite AFC teams battle in the playoffs. Maybe one day your team will make the cut.

  10. damko12 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:06 PM

    Patriots 38 – 10 broncos
    Time to shut tebow up for at least a week!

  11. salmen76 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:15 PM

    The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes thru Lambeau Field huh? That’s not neccessarily true Michael. If the Packers lose at home in the Divisional round to someone then the road to the Super Bowl for the NFC will go thru the Mecedes Benz Superdome in the great city of New Orleans! I predict the Saints will steal the #2 seed from the niners by the niners losing to the Steelers next monday nite and the Saints winning out. In the wildcard weekend the niners will beat the lions and the Giants will beat the Falcons. Then for the Divisional round the Giants will go to Lambeau field and beat the packers and the saints will host and beat the niners. Then the Saints will host the Giants in the NFC Championship game in the Superdome and will win and go to the SB and win it too (again)! Geaux Saints!

  12. weepingjebus says: Dec 13, 2011 1:15 PM

    Pats, baby, pats. The secondary is atrocious (it’s somehow even worse than it looks on tv, as the cameras following the play usually cut off the 2-3 other guys randomly looking around as other WRs blow by them), but I’m convinced this is all just three dimensional chess by Belichick to lure people into the overconfident deep ball in the playoffs.

    I need help.

  13. skeptic2 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:29 PM

    Does anyone know if the Colts can clinch this weekend?

  14. citizenstrange says: Dec 13, 2011 1:41 PM

    It could be that the Steelers thinkk that Chargers are the last legitimate threat to beat the Ravens so if the Chargers upset the Ravens on Sunday maybe Roethlisberger plays Monday and if the Ravens win Roethlisberger sits the last three games.

  15. ppdoc13 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:51 PM

    Go Ravens!!!!!!!!!

  16. kellyb9 says: Dec 13, 2011 1:51 PM

    I have Tebow on my fantasy team, and I’m playing him this week. Worst part – I’m a Pats fan. I just hope we can outscore the Broncos…. I heard a semi-reasonable case for Brady to be MVP based on how bad their defense is… and despite how good Rogers is this year, I’m starting to believe it. How this team is 10-3 is a complete mystery to me, and I watch every single game.

  17. benwantsababyruth says: Dec 13, 2011 2:21 PM

    love the picture of the smiling china-man returning for his second stint of dancing with the stars.

  18. txtuff says: Dec 13, 2011 2:46 PM

    “The Houston Texans are the only AFC team that has clinched a spot in the playoffs.”

    Damn I love the sound of that!

  19. wte1 says: Dec 13, 2011 2:52 PM

    First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for allowing me to make this post.

    Now, Go Patriots!!

  20. austrianpanther says: Dec 13, 2011 3:06 PM

    If…..If…..If…..If…..

    Jets vs Patriots

    Jets win…..move to next round

  21. snarkzilla says: Dec 13, 2011 3:34 PM

    Some people don’t know the difference between predictions and j.o. fantasies.

  22. tellmeaboutitbaby says: Dec 13, 2011 3:37 PM

    Ravens clinch because RayRay will shank anyone that gets in his way…..

  23. RexCanCoach says: Dec 13, 2011 3:45 PM

    REX, REX, BABY
    c’mon hum along…
    REX, REX, BABY

    DAMN, you know the Jets are coming
    the defense is stout, Shonn Greene is running,
    LOUD, that’s what Rex is all about,
    if it fits into his HAND, its going in his MOUTH,
    PLAYOFFS, where Sanchez gets dirty
    his interception rate increases at the 30,
    AFC you best beware, when the JETS are playin’ they don’t have a care,

    AT LEAST UNTIL THE AFC TITLE GAME, THEN ITS LIGHTS OUT ALWAYS THE SAME,

    MAYBE THIS YEAR REX AND MARK CAN HIT THE GOAL, IT ALL AIN’T WORTH A DAMN IF YOU DON’T GO TO THE SUPER BOWL.

  24. dawhorsefeathers says: Dec 13, 2011 4:33 PM

    citizenstrange says:
    Dec 13, 2011 1:41 PM
    It could be that the Steelers thinkk that Chargers are the last legitimate threat to beat the Ravens so if the Chargers upset the Ravens on Sunday maybe Roethlisberger plays Monday and if the Ravens win Roethlisberger sits the last three games.
    ——————————
    You realize the Steelers haven’t clinched a WC spot yet, right?

  25. Deb says: Dec 13, 2011 5:55 PM

    Well, Goodell has done his part to try and influence the outcome of this week’s Steelers game. Thanks, Rog. Hope that suspension thing has the same impact on our season that it did last year :D

  26. pravin68 says: Dec 13, 2011 8:38 PM

    This SB is GB’s to lose. If the Saints make the SB, then they will be even tougher to beat just because Drew is that good in a dome.
    From the AFC, Ravens are tough in a one game situation. The question is can Cameron stick with Ray rice for the entire playoff run, or will he put too much on Flacco’s plate? Flacco has shown he can have some really good games. But not consistent enough to relegate ray rice to a secondary role.
    Steeletrs : lets see how many healthy players and suspended players they have when playoffs begin.

  27. Deb says: Dec 13, 2011 10:21 PM

    @pravin68 …

    I don’t mind taking our chances with injuries just like everyone else. I don’t mind our players being suspended for being jackasses. I do mind our players being suspended for tackling runners according to the rules. If the helmets made contact in an inappropriate way, that’s what flags are for. We shouldn’t have to see how many of our players have been taken out of the game by the league without just cause. Goodell doesn’t care anymore about NFL player safety than the President of Iran does. He cares about taking Congressional heat off the league and will use whatever scapegoat is handy. The Browns created bad press, and James was a handy scapegoat.

  28. green1bay says: Dec 13, 2011 11:09 PM

    Green Bay Packers 19-0

  29. smartfansays says: Dec 14, 2011 6:11 PM

    green1bay says:Dec 13, 2011 11:09 PM

    Green Bay Packers 19-0

    @green1bay, I hope they get their butts handed to them at home “IF” they get to the NFCCG or SB…just like any other team that makes the playoffs,”an injury to Mr. Rodgers and it’s OVERRRR” for the few jerks that hopped on the “BANDWAGON” with the packers!!!!

    I will LMAO if they don’t get there or lose like the Pats did…THEN we’ll hear the same so called “whining” like they say other teams fans do..
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

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