2009 NFL Playoff Picture & Scenarios (Prior to Week 17)

Last Updated: December 30th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)
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The NFL heads into the final week of the regular season this Sunday and there are still playoff possibilities up for grabs. The NFC playoff race was decided when the Cowboys beat the Redskins with the help of a Giants loss. However, the AFC postseason race still has a ton of different possible outcomes that could unfold in week 17. We have updated the playoff picture and take a look at what is still on the line for each team heading into the final week of the season.

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (11-4) – Clinched playoff berth

The Eagles are still fighting for the NFC East crown when they travel to Dallas this weekend in a rematch from a 20-16 loss to the Cowboys in week 9. So what is the real significance of the win? Well not only will the Eagles win the division and host their first playoff game, but a win also grabs the Eagles a first round bye thanks to the Vikings meltdown over the past few weeks.

Dallas Cowboys (10-5) – Clinched playoff berth

The Dallas Cowboys clinched a playoff berth with a 17-0 shutout over the Redskins this weekend. The question everyone will be asking now is can the Cowboys end their postseason winless drought that dates all the way back to 1996. The Cowboys of course will also be battling for the division title against the Eagles this Sunday. A win will also earn the Cowboys the opportunity to host the first round of the playoffs.

New York Giants (8-7) – Out

Washington Redskins (4-11) – Out

NFC North

Minnesota Vikings (11-4) -Clinched division

The Vikings have now lost 3 of their last 4 games and may miss out on a first round bye if the Eagles beat the Cowboys. However, if the Eagles lose the Viking still wrap up the first round bye with a victory over the Giants this Sunday.

Green Bay Packers (10-5) – Clinched playoff berth

Chicago Bears (6-9) – Out

Detroit Lions (2-13) – Out

NFC South

New Orleans Saints (13-2) – Clinched division and first round bye

Even with a overtime loss to the Buccaneers last Sunday, the Saints still locked up home field advantage through the playoffs thanks to the Vikings loss to the Bears. However, the back to back losses are causing a lot of concern in regards to just how far the Saints can go in the playoffs.

Atlanta Falcons (8-7) – Out

Carolina Panthers (7-8) – Out

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-12) – Out

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals (10-5) – Clinched division

San Francisco 49ers (7-8) – Out

Seattle Seahawks (5-10) – Out

St. Louis Rams (1-14) – Out

AFC East

New England Patriots (10-5) – Clinched division

New York Jets (8-7) – The Jets had everything go right last week. The Jets ended the Colts dream of a perfect season with a 29-15 victory in Indianapolis. The Jets also got a ton of help in the wildcard race with losses from Miami, Jacksonville, and Denver. Once a long shot at the postseason, the Jets control their own destiny and will be in the playoffs with a win over Cincinnati this week.

Miami Dolphins (7-8) – The Dolphins postseason hopes were nearly destroyed after their 2nd straight loss this week. The Dolphins have to beat the Steelers who will also be fighting for postseason chances this weekend as well. However, even if the Dolphins win they will need the Jets, Ravens, Jaguars, and Texans to all lose.

Buffalo Bills (5-10) – Out

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals (10-5) – Clinched division

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) – The Ravens close loss to the Steelers last week was a big disappointment, but they still control their destiny for the playoffs. Baltimore simply needs to beat the struggling Raiders and they will lock down one of the wildcard sports in the postseason.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) – The Steelers once written off as dead have battled their way back into the playoff picture after big wins over Green Bay and Baltimore. The Steelers still need some help, but they can make the playoffs in 3 possible scenarios if they beat the Dolphins this weekend. These things have to happen if the Steelers win this weekend: Jets and Texans lose, Texans and Ravens lose, or Jets, Ravens, and Broncos lose.

Cleveland Browns (4-11) – Out

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (14-1) – Clinched Division and home field advantage throughout.

Houston Texans (8-7) – The Texans took care of business this week jumping all over the Dolphins early and then holding them off for a 27-20 victory. The Texans now need to beat the Patriots this week and get a little help. Even if the Texans win they will need these possible scenarios to play out: Jets and Ravens lose, Jets and Broncos lose, or Ravens and Broncos lose.

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8) – The Jaguars were embarrassed last week by the Patriots and only a late score kept them from being shutout 35-7. The Jaguars will now need to capture a win over the suddenly surging Browns this Sunday and get a lot of help. With a win over Cleveland the Browns will still need the following scenarios to play out: Steelers, Ravens, Broncos, and Texans lose, or Steelers, Ravens, Broncos and Jets lose, or Steelers, Ravens, Texans, and Jets lose, or Steelers, Broncos, Texans, and Jets lose, or finally Jets, Broncos, Texans, and Ravens lose.

Tennessee Titans (7-8) – Out

AFC West

San Diego Chargers (11-3) – Clinched division and first round bye

Denver Broncos (8-7) – The Broncos struggles continued after a close loss to the Eagles last week. The Broncos appeared as locks for the playoffs, but after losing 3 straight games suddenly need some help even if they can bring down a win this week against Kansas City. If the Broncos can beat the 3-12 Chiefs, the following events need to occur: Jets and Ravens lose, or Jets and Steelers lose, or Jets and Texans lose, or Ravens and Steelers lose, or Ravens and Texans lose, or Ravens lose and Texans win. If the Broncos do not beat the Chiefs they will need the Steelers to lose and the following to happen: Ravens, Texans, and Jaguars lose, or Ravens, Texans, and Jets lose, or Ravens, Jaguars, and Jets lose, or Texans, Jaguars, and Jets lose. One other long shot scenario could also get the Broncos into the playoffs regardless what happens against the Chiefs and that would be if the Dolphins, Jets, Ravens, Texans, and Jaguars all lose.

Oakland Raiders (5-10)
– Out

Kansas City Chiefs (3-12) – Out

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 @ 5:04 pm (EST)
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