2009 NFL Playoff Picture & Scenarios (Prior To Week 16)

Last Updated: December 23rd, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)
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Last week a lot of NFL team’s postseason chances came to an end primarily in the NFC. However, the AFC wildcard race is still completely up for grabs with a host of teams lingering at the 7-7 mark on the season. Among those teams are the defending Super Bowl Champions in the Pittsburgh Steelers who kept their chances alive with a Ben Roethlisberger game winning touchdown pass as time expired in a big victory against the Green Bay Packers. However, the odds may be stacked against the Steelers to find a position in the playoffs. Find out the Steelers chances to make the playoffs along with all the other teams in the NFL as we continue to breakdown the postseason playoff picture.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) – Philadelphia clinched a playoff berth with their 27-13 win over the 49ers this weekend. However, the Eagles can still do more damage. They currently sit a top the NFC East and could clinch the division with another win combined with a Dallas loss. The Eagles could also lose to the Broncos this week and still win the division with a victory against Dallas in the finale. Also, the Eagles could still get a first round bye in the playoffs with another Vikings loss as long as they continue to win.

Dallas Cowboys (9-5) – The Cowboys stunned the football world with a big victory over the previously unbeaten Saints last weekend. The milestone victory ended at ever going talk of the December slump and kept the Cowboys in the wildcard position for the playoffs. Dallas is currently in a race with the Giants for the final wildcard spot. The Giants would win the tie breaker due to the head to head sweep, but the Giants trial by one game currently. Dallas also has the same record as Green Bay meaning they could also guarantee a spot in the playoffs with one more victory if the Packers lost their remaining two. However, all those scenarios are given if the Cowboys lose another game but they still control their destiny if they continue to win. Also, if the Cowboys get by Washington this weekend they will have the chance to take down the division against the Eagles in week 17.

New York Giants (8-6) – The Giants just crushed Washington this past Monday 45-12 in an all around impressive effort. The Giants would currently be out of the playoffs if the season ended today, but they are also the only team still alive outside of the 6 teams that are currently in the playoffs. The Giants could close the door with another Dallas loss if they were to win out. Also, if the Packers lose their last two games the Giants could earn a spot with two more victories. If the Giants just split the last two games, they would need Dallas to lose both games.

Washington Redskins (4-10) – Out

NFC North

Minnesota Vikings (11-3) – Clinched Division

The Vikings loss to the Panthers opened the door for the Eagles to have a chance at taking their first round bye. Minnesota would lose the tie breaker for 2nd best record in the NFL with another loss (given the Eagles win) due to their conference record.

Green Bay Packers (9-5) – The Packers last second loss to the Steelers this week was a setback in regards to the postseason. However, the Packers still have a good chance to lock in a spot with just one more victory due to their head to head victory over Dallas and two game advantage over the Giants. However, if they lost their remaining two games they would need Dallas or New York to at least lose one game.

Chicago Bears (5-9) – Out

Detroit Lions (2-12) – Out

NFC South

New Orleans Saints (13-1) – Clinched Division and first round bye.  New Orleans pursuit of a perfect season ended last week to the Cowboys. However, they are still poised for a deep playoff run and another victory would wrap up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Atlanta Falcons (7-7) – Out

Carolina Panthers (6-8) – Out

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12) – Out

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals (9-5) – Clinched Division

San Francisco 49ers (6-8) – Out

Seattle Seahawks (5-9) – Out

St. Louis Rams (1-13) – Out

AFC East

New England Patriots (9-5) – The Patriots definitely have not been the dominating New England team we are accustomed to this time a year. However, last week’s 17-10 victory over Buffalo puts the Patriots just one victory away from clinching the division. The Patriots could also clinch the division guaranteeing a postseason berth with another Miami loss.

Miami Dolphins (7-7) – The Dolphins are just one of six teams currently sitting at 7-7. The Dolphins could still advance if a few scenarios play out. One of course would be if the Patriots lost their last two and the Dolphins win out to steal the division title. For Miami to capture a wildcard spot, they would need either Denver and/or Baltimore to lose their final two games while winning their last two games.

New York Jets (7-7) – The Jets are also at the 7-7 mark on the season after a 10-7 loss to the Falcons last week. The Jets can not win the division so their only option is to somehow win a wildcard position. The Jets absolutely have to win their remaining two games and hope for the following: Jacksonville loses to New England and Miami loses to Houston, plus either of the following: have Baltimore lose at Pittsburgh or Denver lose at Philadelphia.

Buffalo Bills (5-9) – Out

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) – The Bengals dropped their 2nd straight game last week in an emotional 27-24 loss to the Chargers keeping the door open in the division race. Cincinnati still needs one more victory to clinch the AFC North or a Baltimore loss.

Baltimore Ravens (8-6) – The Ravens blew out Chicago last week 31-7 to strengthen their playoff chances. Baltimore is also still alive in the division, but would need the Bengals to lose their remaining two games to reach that goal. The Ravens could clinch a playoff berth with a win this week with the following scenarios playing out: Jacksonville loss along with Jets or Broncos loss. Ravens could also earn a spot with losses by Jets, Broncos, and Dolphins this week as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) – The Steelers kept their postseason chances alive last week with a clutch victory against the Packers. Pittsburgh still has an uphill battle to climb given their 4-6 conference record. There are tons of scenarios that could play out. One interesting scenarios would be if the Steelers win out they would need Houston, Jacksonville, Denver, and New York to lose at least one game. (All of those teams are underdogs for week 16) Of course there are many other scenarios given all the teams fighting for wildcard spot, but one thing is certain that is the Steelers must win.

Cleveland Browns (3-11) – Out

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (13-0) – Clinched Division and home field advantage throughout.

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7) – The Jaguars played really well against the Colts last week nearly ending their undefeated season. However, the loss put them right in the middle of a pack of 7-7 teams. Still, the Jaguars chances are pretty good or at least better than other teams with the same record. The Jaguars control their own destiny with another Denver or Baltimore loss.

Tennessee Titans (7-7) – The Titans kept their slim postseason chances alive with a 27-24 victory over Miami last Sunday. Tennessee must win their final two games of the season and get a lot of help. The Titans need both Denver and Baltimore to lose their final two games. Also, Tennessee would nearly need to finish ahead of all the current teams at 7-7 given they have the worse conference record of every team except Houston.

Houston Texans (7-7) – The Texans are also still alive for just one more week, but they need more help than anyone. Houston needs Denver and Baltimore to lose out. The Texans will also need the Jets to possibly lose out along with losses from both Pittsburgh and Jacksonville. All of those scenarios have to play out and the Texans must win their final two just to be eligible of a few of the tie breaker scenarios.

AFC West

San Diego Chargers (11-3) – Clinched Division

The Chargers may just be the hottest team in the AFC even with the Colts still undefeated. San Diego’s winning streak in December is now 17 straight games and they have also posted 9 straight wins currently. The Chargers are already in the postseason, but need just one more victory to capture a first round bye and home field advantage in their first playoff game.

Denver Broncos (8-6) – Denver’s postseason chances took a big hit with an unexpected loss to Oakland last week. The Broncos still currently own the final wildcard position and control their own destiny. However, they would lose tie breakers to Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh in the wildcard race meaning another loss would really devastate their chances. If the Broncos had to take a loss, they can not afford to lose to the Chiefs in the finale considering that would really damage their conference record. A win over Kansas City would increase their chances at 9-7, but there are too many scenarios that could play out if that happens. The main thing for Denver is to approach each game as a “must win.”

Oakland Raiders (5-9) – Out

Kansas City Chiefs (3-11) – Out

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 @ 8:01 am (EST)
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