On Sunday, the Packers and 49ers punched their tickets to the 2011 playoffs. This week, another four teams could join the playoff party.
In the NFC, the Saints win the NFC South with a victory over the Titans and a loss by the Falcons, who face the Panthers in Carolina.
In the AFC, the team that currently holds the inside track toward the No. 1 seed is the only 9-3 team that can’t nail down a playoff berth. The Ravens have the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Texans (whom the Ravens beat), Steelers (whom the Ravens swept), and Patriots (via their record in common games). But it’s the Texans and the Steelers and the Pats who can lock up playoff berths in Week 14.
The Pats win the AFC East with a win over Redskins and a loss by the Jets to the Chiefs. The Texans win the AFC South if they beat the Bengals in Cincinnati, and if the Titans lose to the Saints in Nashville. Finally,the Steelers get in with a win and: (1) a Bengals loss, Jets loss, and Titans loss; or (2) a Bengals loss, Jets loss, Broncos loss, and Raiders loss; or (3) a Bengals loss, Titans loss, Broncos loss, and Raiders loss.
Also, the Packers clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Raiders at Lambeau Field.
There are other ways that the Packers can do it, but let’s just assume they’ll get a win over the Raiders at Lambeau Field.