NFL playoff scenarios, Week 16: Cowboys, Texans can clinch

NFL News

There could be a lot of playoff clinching taking place during Week 16, including division titles for Dallas and Houston. Here’s a look at what could go down.

If you’re from the state of Texas, and your NFL loyalties lie with one of your home state’s teams, this could be a very big week for you.

Heading into Week 16, both the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans have the opportunity to clinch their respective divisions, and thus a home playoff game next month. After starting the season 0-3, Houston has swarmed back to win 10 of its last 11 games, while Dallas has used its dominant defense to and a vulnerable NFC East division to win five of its last six.

The Texans travel to Philadelphia in Week 16 with a chance to clinch the AFC South, while the Cowboys host the Tampa Buccaneers at home, and the pressure will be on both teams to wrap up their divisions on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the NFL’s playoff picture as it currently stands heading into the weekend:


1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

2. Houston Texans (10-4)

3. New England Patriots (9-5)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3)

6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)


1. New Orleans Saints (12-2)

2. Los Angeles Rams (11-3)

3. Chicago Bears (10-4)

4. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

5. Seattle Seahawks (8-6)

6. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1)

Additionally, here is a complete look at every potential clinching situation that could become official during Week 16. First, in the AFC…

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs can clinch the AFC West and a first round bye in the playoffs with a win, and even the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC if the Chargers lose.

Houston Texans: The Texans can clinch the AFC South with a win over the Eagles. They can also clinch a first round bye if New England loses.

New England Patriots: The Pats have tried and failed to clinch the AFC East the last two weeks, but they can do so in Week 16 with a home win over the Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers can officially wrap up the AFC North, but to do so they would need to beat the Saints, and then would also need a Baltimore loss or tie.

Next: NFL quarterback rankings, Week 16: Jared Goff slides

As for the NFC…

New Orleans Saints: The Saints just need to beat the Steelers and they will secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams: The Rams could clinch a first round bye this week, but they would need to first beat the Cardinals, and then they would need the Bears to lose or tie in San Francisco.

Dallas Cowboys: If the Cowboys can beat the Buccaneers at home, the NFC East will officially be theirs.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks can clinch a playoff berth this weekend, but they would need some help to get it done. First, they would have to defeat the Chiefs at home, and then would need a loss by either the Redskins or Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings can also clinch a playoff berth, but like the Seahawks, they would need some help. They would have to first defeat the Lions, and then would also need losses from the Redskins and Eagles. (Note: A tie from the Eagles would work as well.)

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