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Patriots, Broncos, Falcons, Texans clinch playoffs, Ravens do not

Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans Getty Images

Heading into Sunday, five NFL teams had a chance to clinch a playoff berth. Four of them succeeded.

The Patriots, Broncos and Falcons all clinched their divisions on Sunday, while the Texans clinched a spot in the AFC playoffs. But the Ravens, who would have clinched the AFC North if they had won and the Bengals had lost, instead clinched nothing, as they didn’t win, and the Bengals didn’t lose.

Below we provide the state of the playoff race through Sunday’s games, with the six playoff teams that would be in the postseason in each conference if the playoffs started today.

NFC

1. Falcons (11-1): Atlanta officially became the NFC South champions when the Buccaneers lost on Sunday, and the Falcons are also the overwhelming favorites to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

2. 49ers (8-3-1): The 49ers are still holding onto the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, but their chances of catching the Falcons for the NFC’s top spot took a hit with today’s loss to the Rams.

3. Packers (8-4): Green Bay moved ahead of Chicago and into the NFC North lead on Sunday.

4. Giants (7-4): With a win over the Redskins on Monday night, the Giants would all but wrap up the NFC East, and would move ahead of the Packers and into the No. 3 spot in the conference.

5. Bears (8-4): Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks could hurt; it moves the Bears out of the lead in the NFC North.

6. Seahawks (7-5): Seattle now has a one-game lead in the NFC wild-card race.

In the mix: The 6-6 Buccaneers and Vikings could still catch the Seahawks for the final wild-card spot. The 6-6 Cowboys and 5-6 Redskins could still make waves in both the wild card race and the NFC East race, especially if the Redskins beat the Giants on Monday night.

AFC

1. Texans (11-1): With a two-game lead over the rest of the conference, it looks like the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will go through Houston.

2. Patriots (9-3): New England owns the tiebreaker edge over the 9-3 Ravens and 9-3 Broncos based on the Patriots’ superior conference record.

3. Ravens (9-3): Baltimore drops to No. 3 in the conference after Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh.

4. Broncos (9-3): If the playoffs started today, Peyton Manning’s old team would come to town for a Colts-Broncos first-round playoff game.

5. Colts (8-4): Sunday’s win over the Lions puts the Colts in the driver’s seat in the AFC wild card race.

6. Steelers (7-5): At the moment, Pittsburgh has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincinnati and therefore owns the sixth and final playoff spot.

In the mix: The 7-5 Bengals visit Pittsburgh in Week 16, and the winner of that game will likely win the final AFC wild-card spot. Every other team in the AFC is 5-7 or worse and likely out of contention.

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62 Responses to “Patriots, Broncos, Falcons, Texans clinch playoffs, Ravens do not”
  1. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 8:39 PM

    If the Pats tie the Ravens, head to head breaks the tie(Ravens won) not conference record. In three way ties, after head to head comes record with common opponents. It’s gonna be interesting if tied; Pats, Houston, Denver, and NE all played each other this yr(all won their divisions last yr).

  2. djaehne says: Dec 2, 2012 8:41 PM

    Texans win out, go 3-0 in playoffs.

  3. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 2, 2012 8:41 PM

    Get ready for the over rated ravens to drop even more when they play Denver , giants, and Cincy in Cincy . The tension is building in raven land . They thought they would crush the wounded steelers, but they choked at home. Not a surprise the ravens always choke at the most important times. Priceless

  4. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 8:42 PM

    Sorry, conference record comes after head to head and before common opponents.

  5. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 8:50 PM

    Steelers are not making the playoffs.

  6. nesuperfan says: Dec 2, 2012 8:52 PM

    The reason head-to-head is not used is that it is a three-way tie. If the Broncos lose, then it would revert to the Ravens having the better tie-breaker.

  7. geniusfan says: Dec 2, 2012 8:52 PM

    ” In three way ties, after head to head comes record with common opponents.”

    Incorrect. In three way ties after head to head conference record determines the seeding. That’s why the Patriots have the two seed currently.

  8. 8man says: Dec 2, 2012 8:53 PM

    Suddenly the Patriots getting the second seed doesn’t seem out of reach.

    Just saying.

  9. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 8:56 PM

    So what if the Patriots do? They better hope they don’t run into the Broncos (and if they manage to evade them), then the Giants, in the Super Bowl, or it won’t matter at the end of the day.

  10. Stiller43 says: Dec 2, 2012 8:58 PM

    Steelers 3rd string qb > flacco

  11. flash1283 says: Dec 2, 2012 9:01 PM

    Yeah ,because we all know the Patriots can’t beat the Broncos.

    The Giants, that’s another story.

  12. 8man says: Dec 2, 2012 9:02 PM

    Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Dec 2, 2012 8:56 PM
    So what if the Patriots do? They better hope they don’t run into the Broncos (and if they manage to evade them), then the Giants, in the Super Bowl, or it won’t matter at the end of the day.
    ————————————————————–
    Son, they beat the Broncos. If they make the Super Bowl and face the Giants, we’ll discuss it then.

  13. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:05 PM

    geniusfan says:Dec 2, 2012 8:52 PM

    ” In three way ties, after head to head comes record with common opponents.”

    Incorrect. In three way ties after head to head conference record determines the seeding. That’s why the Patriots have the two seed currently.
    ———————————————————-
    I corrected it 2 posts later, but thanks for your input.

  14. musician0785 says: Dec 2, 2012 9:07 PM

    the broncos? u mean a team they already demolished……this aint the afc west lmao

  15. pariseinminnesotabichez says: Dec 2, 2012 9:08 PM

    Vikings could still beat out Seattle if Ponder can somehow, some way step up his game

  16. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:09 PM

    nesuperfan says:Dec 2, 2012 8:52 PM

    The reason head-to-head is not used is that it is a three-way tie. If the Broncos lose, then it would revert to the Ravens having the better tie-breaker.
    ———————————————————-

    Head to head is used in 3-way ties.

  17. geniusfan says: Dec 2, 2012 9:11 PM

    “I corrected it 2 posts later, but thanks for your input.”

    Yeah saw that right after I got finished posting, it wasn’t there at first.

  18. pastabelly says: Dec 2, 2012 9:17 PM

    The Patriots-Broncos-Ravens tiebreaker based on conference record will be a no go by the time the season ends since Baltimore actually plays Denver. If Baltimore wins, they will have won the head to head among the three teams.

    But Baltimore has four tough games left and they are by no means automatic winning out with games at Washington and Cincinnati and at home against Denver and NY Giants. The Pats only have one road game left and that’s in Jacksonville (home games with Houston, SF, and Miami). Denver only has the game in Baltimore and their other three games (KC, Cleveland, and Oakland) are easy. It’s too early to worry about tie breakers because there is so much football left. Houston isn’t out of the woods either with a home and home with Indy, Pats on the road, and a breather against Minnesota.

  19. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:19 PM

    @geniusfan:
    No prob, it’s all moot now anyway. As a Pats fan, I’m happy the door to the bye week is open a little more. Ravens- Broncos game could have a bearing on these tiebreakers.

  20. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 9:26 PM

    8man says: Dec 2, 2012 9:02 PM

    Mr. Wright 212 says:
    Dec 2, 2012 8:56 PM
    So what if the Patriots do? They better hope they don’t run into the Broncos (and if they manage to evade them), then the Giants, in the Super Bowl, or it won’t matter at the end of the day.
    ————————————————————–
    Son, they beat the Broncos. If they make the Super Bowl and face the Giants, we’ll discuss it then.
    ———–

    THat’s regular season. With a gimmicky offensive scheme that won’t work if they play again.

    Son.

  21. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 9:27 PM

    And 31-21 is not a demolishing, considering the fumbles that prevented the Broncos from pulling to within one score before the last one occurred.

  22. ravenseattheirownpoop says: Dec 2, 2012 9:33 PM

    The Ravens are garbage. Couldn’t beat the Steelers with their 3rd string qb starting. And they were playing at home. They are garbage and will be exposed in the playoffs. They will be lucky to win that division.

  23. ch1ggs says: Dec 2, 2012 9:34 PM

    The Ravens should be ashamed of their performance. What a let down for their fans.

    If the Steelers sneak into the Playoffs, the Ravens have only themselves to blame. You coulda and shoulda put ‘em away.

  24. djstat says: Dec 2, 2012 9:37 PM

    Baltimore has a tie breaker over New England morons

  25. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:38 PM

    Mr. Wright 212 says:Dec 2, 2012 9:27 PM

    And 31-21 is not a demolishing, considering the fumbles that prevented the Broncos from pulling to within one score before the last one occurred.

    ———————————————————-

    What game were you watching? Pats led Denver 31-7 with 4 mins left in the 3rd qtr before garbage time. That’s after Denver’s defense couldn’t stop the Pats in last years playoff game(35-7 @halftime). Real scared. As for the Giants, although it would probably bore America, I’d love to see a rematch. Like the Pats chances. Can’t get lucky 3 games in a row.

  26. ch1ggs says: Dec 2, 2012 9:42 PM

    I would love to see the Pats and Broncos play in the AFC Title game.

    I really don’t think it would be like the game they played earlier this season, because we all know the Pats are blowing their load in the regular season…again.

  27. ch1ggs says: Dec 2, 2012 9:44 PM

    “tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:38 PM”

    What game were you watching? Pats led Denver 31-7 with 4 mins left in the 3rd qtr before garbage time. That’s after Denver’s defense couldn’t stop the Pats in last years playoff game(35-7 @halftime). Real scared. As for the Giants, although it would probably bore America, I’d love to see a rematch. Like the Pats chances. Can’t get lucky 3 games in a row.”
    ——————————-

    I was watching the game that was about to be 31-28 with a few minutes left and Broncos team that was getting extremely hot.

    But then Willis McGahee screwed that all up nice and good.

  28. zn0rseman says: Dec 2, 2012 9:45 PM

    After the last two weeks of one-sided officiating I’m going to go ahead and say that the Vikings are NOT in the hunt.

  29. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 9:46 PM

    ch1ggs says: Dec 2, 2012 9:44 PM

    “tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:38 PM”

    What game were you watching? Pats led Denver 31-7 with 4 mins left in the 3rd qtr before garbage time. That’s after Denver’s defense couldn’t stop the Pats in last years playoff game(35-7 @halftime). Real scared. As for the Giants, although it would probably bore America, I’d love to see a rematch. Like the Pats chances. Can’t get lucky 3 games in a row.”
    ——————————-

    I was watching the game that was about to be 31-28 with a few minutes left and Broncos team that was getting extremely hot.

    But then Willis McGahee screwed that all up nice and good.
    ———–

    Exactly.

  30. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 9:48 PM

    ch1ggs says: Dec 2, 2012 9:42 PM

    I would love to see the Pats and Broncos play in the AFC Title game.

    I really don’t think it would be like the game they played earlier this season, because we all know the Pats are blowing their load in the regular season…again.
    ——–

    Don’t they always?

  31. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 9:50 PM

    tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:38 PM

    Mr. Wright 212 says:Dec 2, 2012 9:27 PM

    And 31-21 is not a demolishing, considering the fumbles that prevented the Broncos from pulling to within one score before the last one occurred.

    ———————————————————-

    What game were you watching? Pats led Denver 31-7 with 4 mins left in the 3rd qtr before garbage time. That’s after Denver’s defense couldn’t stop the Pats in last years playoff game(35-7 @halftime). Real scared. As for the Giants, although it would probably bore America, I’d love to see a rematch. Like the Pats chances. Can’t get lucky 3 games in a row.
    ———–

    The one where the Broncos were about to score and had been shutting the Patriots down in the 2nd half, while they got hot offensively — which they haven’t stopped doing since.

    And the Giants have beaten the Patriots 3 straight times already. You do not match up well with us at all. Period.

    Packer fans were touting that “can’t happen again” nonsense last week. Certain teams just own other teams.

  32. steelernator says: Dec 2, 2012 9:55 PM

    Ravens are the most over-rated and over-hyped team in the league. At least four of their wins were complete luck. The Steelers defense smothered their offense both games this year. They won’t win a playoff game this year, that is if they even make it to the playoffs and don’t fall on their face and crater after the crushing defeat at home by the Steelers today.

    THUD

  33. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 10:05 PM

    The one where the Broncos were about to score and had been shutting the Patriots down in the 2nd half, while they got hot offensively — which they haven’t stopped doing since.

    And the Giants have beaten the Patriots 3 straight times already. You do not match up well with us at all. Period.

    Packer fans were touting that “can’t happen again” nonsense last week. Certain teams just own other teams.
    ———————————————————-
    The Broncos may have been about to score but they didn’t. I won’t get into the Pats record against Manning. The Broncos are the ones that don’t want this matchup, not the Pats.

    As for the Giants, saying the Pats don’t match up with them ignores the facts. GB doesn’t match up well with the Giants, they get blown out every time. The last 3 games NE v Giants have been close battles that went down to the wire, not blowouts. The first SB(07), the Giants made a series of improbable plays to catch the Pats from behind. The 2nd SB, they just made more plays at the end, again, to catch them from behind. Love to see it.

  34. wikidpissah says: Dec 2, 2012 10:09 PM

    Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 2, 2012 8:56 PM

    So what if the Patriots do? They better hope they don’t run into the Broncos (and if they manage to evade them), then the Giants, in the Super Bowl, or it won’t matter at the end of the day.
    ————————————————
    They already ran into, I mean OVER the Broncos.

    Remember, as great as Peyton is playing, and has played in the regular season, he is under .500 in the playoffs.

  35. Steeley McBeam says: Dec 2, 2012 10:10 PM

    Ravens still have to play both Mannings so hand them a couple more L’s.

    Just thank everyone you can that the Pats, Cheifs and Bolts handed you a W Ravens…

  36. mtx1992 says: Dec 2, 2012 10:15 PM

    How are you guys so sure that the broncos are such a great team? They built their record by beating awful teams like the ones in their division. Sorry broncos, but you wont play the raiders, chiefs or the chargers in the playoffs.

  37. ch1ggs says: Dec 2, 2012 10:37 PM

    Pats defense force assemble!

    And the nerve to talk about the Broncos schedule…because the Pats sure have been playing good teams all season long, right?

    Broncos aren’t a good team to Pats fans until they talk about wins over quality opponents, then Beantown runs their mouths about beating the 9-3 Broncos.

    But I thought we weren’t good?

  38. elrock7 says: Dec 2, 2012 10:44 PM

    And the Pats wont be playing the Bills, Jets or Phins either.

    Broncos defence was getting used to Del Rio, and manning and the offense were getting used to each other.

    I would love to see a rematch. Broncos are only team Brady has a losing record against.

  39. patsfan22 says: Dec 2, 2012 10:56 PM

    ch1ggs says: Dec 2, 2012 9:44 PM

    “tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 9:38 PM”

    What game were you watching? Pats led Denver 31-7 with 4 mins left in the 3rd qtr before garbage time. That’s after Denver’s defense couldn’t stop the Pats in last years playoff game(35-7 @halftime). Real scared. As for the Giants, although it would probably bore America, I’d love to see a rematch. Like the Pats chances. Can’t get lucky 3 games in a row.”
    ——————————-

    I was watching the game that was about to be 31-28 with a few minutes left and Broncos team that was getting extremely hot.

    But then Willis McGahee screwed that all up nice and good.
    ———–

    How convenient of you guys to forget the only reason Manning had a chance to come back is because Ridley fumbled on the drive before. Pats had been going up and down on your D all day up until that point. McGahee just evened out the fumbles.

  40. eessppnn says: Dec 2, 2012 10:58 PM

    The Patriots, now 9-3, currently share an identical record to both the Broncos and Ravens. Despite the fact that the Patriots were beaten by Baltimore earlier this season, they own the second seed in the current AFC playoff picture by virtue of the NFL’s three-way tie breaking system (click here for all of the tiebreaker rules). The Patriots own the best conference record (8-1) of the three teams, meaning that if the playoffs started today, they would earn a first-round bye via a top two seed.
    Educated!

  41. billharford31 says: Dec 2, 2012 10:59 PM

    A Pats and Broncos matchup is highly likely and would probably come down to the wire. One thing is sure, Manning doesn’t want to go to Foxborough in January given his history playing there under rough weather.

  42. themagicman1223 says: Dec 2, 2012 11:02 PM

    I can’t see the Ponder’s noodle arm beating out Seattle for the wild card spot at the end of the season. Tampa Bay is too talented to be 6-6.

  43. golonger says: Dec 2, 2012 11:14 PM

    Please, Broncos are on and done in the playoofs..per usual under Manning!

  44. wikidpissah says: Dec 2, 2012 11:24 PM

    elrock7 says: Dec 2, 2012 10:44 PM

    And the Pats wont be playing the Bills, Jets or Phins either.
    ————————————————–
    Hahaha…. says the fan of a team who plays the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders twice each

  45. curtainclosed says: Dec 2, 2012 11:29 PM

    ha ha ravens suk

  46. tedmurph says: Dec 2, 2012 11:33 PM

    eessppnn says:Dec 2, 2012 10:58 PM

    The Patriots, now 9-3, currently share an identical record to both the Broncos and Ravens. Despite the fact that the Patriots were beaten by Baltimore earlier this season, they own the second seed in the current AFC playoff picture by virtue of the NFL’s three-way tie breaking system (click here for all of the tiebreaker rules). The Patriots own the best conference record (8-1) of the three teams, meaning that if the playoffs started today, they would earn a first-round bye via a top two seed.
    Educated!
    ———————————————————-
    Three way tie:
    First tiebreaker: Head to head. Balti(1-0), Denver(0-1), Pats(1-1). Denver out (Balti/Denv play later this yr). Denver out.

    Second tiebreaker: Balti/ Pats head to head. Pats out. Balti #2 seed.

    That’s how it works. If Balti beats Denver later this year and there is a 3 way tie, Balti wins by virtue of 2-0. If Denver beats Balti, they all go 1-1. Then conf record comes into play.

  47. friscokid49 says: Dec 3, 2012 12:20 AM

    IF the playoffs started TODAY, the Pats would be #2 seed because the three teams have NOT played each other. So next step is Conf Record.

    2.Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)

  48. vikingfan1971 says: Dec 3, 2012 12:24 AM

    the vikings are still in the hunt from what I understand

  49. ivyleaf98 says: Dec 3, 2012 1:40 AM

    Steelers are 2 games behind Ravens, 8 turn overs in a loss to Cleveland and they talk trash? Give me a break. Ravens are garbage? Wow!!

  50. sc5000 says: Dec 3, 2012 2:11 AM

    What happened in that first Patriots/Broncos game is totally irrelevant. It wasn’t just the McGahee fumble inside the pats 10 yard line, he also dropped a would be first down to keep a drive going in Patriots territory, and D Thomas also fumbled after a long gainer from Manning in the first half. Its pretty foolish to think that will happen again.

    That game is also irrelevant because Joe Mays got abused by Brady at MLB and he is now gone. Ever since he got injured the Broncos defense has went from bad to amazingly good!

    You also have to factor that was what, only Peyton’s 4th game with Fox and company in Denver and it was what, Brady’s 200th plus game with his team and coach. Those things matter a lot. I’m not gonna take anything away from the Pats for winning that game, but if you think that a whole year of playing together hasn’t helped Manning and the rest of the Broncos your crazy. Any rematch with the Pats/Broncos or Broncos/Texans isn’t going to play out exactly the same, it never does.

  51. pats1stfan1 says: Dec 3, 2012 2:14 AM

    @Mr Wright 212:

    What gimmicks did the Patriots use in that game?

    Denver made it look close only because it was garbage time !

  52. pats1stfan1 says: Dec 3, 2012 2:18 AM

    And a Ridley fumble.

  53. pleasefirecam says: Dec 3, 2012 2:32 AM

    So tired of Steeler fans…Pittsburgh is a dead town filled with morons. Ravens beat themselves and didn’t you guys lose to the Raiders? Go spray some Soul Glo on your Troy wig, ya wankers

  54. rythestunner says: Dec 3, 2012 7:34 AM

    If we’re going to say the Packers lead the NFC North (even though technically, a 1-0 record in head-to-head will not cut it yet, so it’s still technically tied), then the Seahawks are NOT in the lead for the Wild Card.

  55. ch1ggs says: Dec 3, 2012 10:18 AM

    The Patriots used the Oregon no huddle offense.

  56. avoidtheboyd says: Dec 3, 2012 1:24 PM

    If we get another Patriots/Giants Super Bowl, I’m never watching football again.

  57. richwizl says: Dec 3, 2012 3:22 PM

    We all seem to forget that the Patriots are four points short of being undefeated; got ripped off by replacement refs twice and lost on a great, last-second play by Seattle. Houston has the best record in the AFC and seem to be the real deal; we’re bout to find out Monday. The Broncos are very impressive, to me, and I think there is a good chance they’ll play NE for the AFC Championship. I would give Denver the edge at home, but not at NE. I think the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals and Colts are all a notch under these first three. Obviously, the road to the Super Bowl goes through Houston this year.

  58. richwizl says: Dec 3, 2012 3:26 PM

    I also would add that either Houston, Denver or New England will beat any NFC team that goes to the SB, except, maybe, the Giants.

  59. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 3, 2012 4:11 PM

    Here’s a question for Broncos fans… what’s your signature win… They have lost to the really good teams (HOU, NE, ATL) that they’ve played.

    HOU has wins over 9-3 Bal(home), 9-3 Den (road), 8-4 Bears (road).

  60. ahmedbakarr says: Dec 4, 2012 6:47 PM

    Why are the patriots the 2nd seed when the ravens beat them and have the same record? I mean shouldn’t that make the ravens the second seed?

  61. ahmedbakarr says: Dec 4, 2012 6:56 PM

    Joe Flacco >>>>>>>>>>>>>>Charlie Batch that roughing the passer by paul kruger put the steelers in position to win that game

  62. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 4, 2012 7:23 PM

    ahmedbakarr says: Dec 4, 2012 6:47 PM

    Why are the patriots the 2nd seed when the ravens beat them and have the same record? I mean shouldn’t that make the ravens the second seed?
    ——————-

    It’s just the “if the season ended today” scenario. It means nothing now, but because the Patriots have clinched their division and the Ravens have not, they are “technically” the #2 seed. If they both finish with identical records and the Ravens win the AFC North, the Ravens would be the #2.

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