NFL Playoff Picture: Week 16

NFL Playoff Picture for Week 16
by Badger of

With two weeks to play in the regular season the National Football
League playoff picture is nearly complete, as far the teams that will
be participating in the second season. What is left to be determined
is the seeding of the teams in the AFC, and the final spot and home-
field advantage for the NFC.

The NFC: Who Gets Home Cookin’?

With their landslide victory over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Tampa
Bay (9-5) joined the playoff party by winning the NFC South Division
title. The joined the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Seattle
Seahawks as divisional winners.

All four can sit and wait to see what happens, although the Cowboys
and Packers are still playing for the coveted home-field advantage
throughout the entire playoffs. Dallas can clinch it with a win at
Carolina on Saturday. Otherwise Green Bay plays at Chicago on Sunday.

The New York Giants (9-5) will have to work hard again this week,
following their loss to the Washington Redskins last week. The Giants
can finally clinch a spot with a win over Buffalo this week, or a
Washington loss (or tie) and a New Orleans loss (or tie). The Giants
would be wise to win it this weekend, as they finish the season
versus New England.

The Minnesota Vikings (8-6) increased their chances with a win over
the Bears on Monday night, while eliminating Arizona, Philadelphia,
Detroit and Chicago in the process. The Vikings have the biggest game
in the NFC this week when the host Washington in the Metrodome. A win
would eliminate the Redskins from the picture as well as push the
Vikings one step closer to paydirt.

The New Orleans Saints (7-7) and the Washington Redskins (7-7) both
stayed alive with wins, but their hopes faded farther when Minnesota
won on Monday Night Football. Both teams are still in win-out mode,
as the Saints host Philly while the Redskins travel to Minnesota.

The AFC: Two Runaways and a Logjam

In the AFC the pieces of the puzzle are basically complete, its just
where the pieces belong that is the question.

This much is still known, New England (14-0) will be home throughout
the playoffs and the Indianapolis Colts (12-2) also clinched a first-
round bye with their win Sunday over Oakland.

San Diego (9-5) clinched the AFC West this weekend, but they can
overtake Pittsburgh as the No. 3 seed in the division if they
continue to win. The Chargers host the rival Broncos on Monday Night
Football this week.

The rest of the AFC playoff picture is where it gets murky.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) failed to win the AFC North this week,
so they will try again this week when they travel to St. Louis. The
Steelers can clinch a birth in multiple ways though: with a win, with
a Cleveland loss, or a Tennessee loss.

The Cleveland Browns (9-5) just wont go away, or so the Steelers
must think. Their chances at the AFC North title are slim due to two
losses to the Steelers head-to-head this year. But the Browns will go
to the playoffs if they win this week at Cincinnati and Tennessee loses.

Jacksonville (10-4) is not officially in yet, but they are one of the
hottest teams right now and they would have to completely fall apart
to miss out. The Jaguars can officially clinch this week with a win
over Oakland (or tie), or a Tennessee loss (or tie), or a Cleveland

The Tennessee Titans (8-6) are the only team outside the playoffs
looking in that still has a chance. The Titans must beat the New York
Jets this weekend, then have one of the teams in front of them lose
to delay things into the final week.