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NFL playoff scenarios: Who can clinch what in Week 16

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The Seahawks can clinch a bye with a few things, which could be pertinent for the 49ers in Week 17.

The NFL kicks off Week 16 on Thursday with the New York Giants traveling to face the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Giants win they clinch a playoff berth, and also remain within striking distance of the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC East. if the Giants lose, they only need a loss from one of the Lions, Packers, Bucs, or Falcons to clinch a wild card berth.

The Seattle Seahawks can clinch a first round bye with a win plus a Lions loss plus a Falcons loss or tie. This is notable because if they clinch this, they will have nothing to play for in Week 17. Even if Dallas and New York both lose this week, the Seahawks cannot get the top seed. If they have nothing to play for in Week 17, would we see them resting starters against the 49ers?

A huge game this week features the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. If the Cowboys win, they clinch home field throughout the NFC playoffs. If the Lions win, they need to help to clinch things. And even if they win, a Green Bay Packers win over the Minnesota Vikings sets up a Week 17 showdown for the NFC North.

Here’s a full rundown of playoff clinching scenarios in Week 16.

NFC

Dallas Cowboys

  • Clinches NFC East and HFA throughout playoffs with win/tie OR Giants loss/tie

Seattle Seahawks

  • Clinches first round bye with win + Lions loss + Falcons loss or tie

New York Giants

  • Clinches playoff berth with win OR Lions loss/tie OR Packers loss/tie OR Buccaneers loss/tie OR Falcons loss

Detroit Lions

  • Clinches NFC North with win + Packers/tie OR Lions tie + Packers loss
  • Clinches playoff berth with win + Buccaneers loss/tie OR Lions tie + Bucs loss OR Lions tie + Bucs tie + Falcons win OR Washington loss/tie + Bucs loss + Falcons win/tie

Atlanta Falcons

  • Clinches NFC South with win + Bucs loss/tie OR Falcons tie + Bucs loss
  • Clinches playoff berth with Falcons win + Falcons clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over DET OR Falcons win/tie + Packers loss or tie OR Falcons win + Lions loss/tie OR Falcons tie + Lions tie OR Washington loss/tie + Packers loss OR WAS loss/tie + GB tie + DET loss

Green Bay Packers

  • Clinches playoff berth with Packers win + Washington loss + Bucs loss + Falcons win/tie + Packers clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Bucs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Clinches playoff berth with win + Packers loss + Lions loss + Washington loss OR Bucs win + Packers loss + Lions loss + Washington tie + Bucs clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Lions
AFC

New England Patriots

  • Clinches HFA throughout playoffs with win + Raiders loss or tie OR Patriots tie + Raiders loss

Oakland Raiders

  • Clinches AFC West and first round bye with win + Chiefs loss or tie OR Raiders tie + Chiefs loss

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Clinches AFC North with win

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Clinches playoff berth with win/tie OR Ravens loss/tie

Houston Texans

  • Clinches AFC south with win + Titans loss

Miami Dolphins

  • Clinches playoff berth with win + Broncos loss/tie OR Dolphins tie + Ravens loss + Broncos loss + Titans loss/tie OR Dolphins tie + Ravens loss + Broncos loss + Titans loss/tie