NFL Week 15 playoff clinching scenarios

The National Football League logo is seen during the Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos football game in the second half at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on September 19, 2010. The Broncos defeated the Seahawks 31-14.  UPI/Aaron M. Sprecher Photo via Newscom

Through 14 weeks, only one team — the New England Patriots — has clinched a playoff spot for 2010, but as many as eight of the remaining 11 open postseason slots could be claimed in Week 15 according to the NFL and the Elias Sports Bureau, which tabulates all of the possibilities each week.

A total of 23 teams remain in playoff contention with three weeks left in the regular season.

For the first time since realignment in 2002, seven of the eight divisions have two teams either in or within one game of first place through the first 14 weeks of the season.

Here are the playoff-, division- and first-round bye-clinching scenarios, broken down by conference:

AFC
CLINCHED: New England – playoff spot

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches AFC East division and a first-round bye with:
1. NE win + NYJ loss or tie OR
2. NE tie + NYJ loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division with:
1. PIT win + BAL loss + PIT clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over BAL

Pittsburgh clinches a first-round bye with:
1. PIT win + BAL loss + PIT clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over BAL and JAX OR
2. PIT win + BAL loss + JAX loss or tie + PIT clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over BAL

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff spot with:
1. PIT win or tie OR
2. IND loss or tie + SD loss or tie OR
3. IND loss or tie + KC loss
There are other scenarios in which the Steelers may clinch a playoff spot if they clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker over certain teams this weekend.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Jacksonville clinches AFC South division with:
1. JAX win

NEW YORK JETS
New York Jets clinch a playoff spot with:
1. NYJ win + MIA loss or tie + IND loss or tie + KC loss OR
2. NYJ win + MIA loss or tie + IND loss or tie + SD loss or tie OR
3. NYJ tie + MIA loss + IND loss or tie + SD loss
There are other scenarios in which the Jets may clinch a playoff spot if they clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker over certain teams this weekend.

BALTIMORE RAVENS
Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with:
1. BAL win + IND loss or tie + SD loss or tie OR
2. BAL win + IND loss or tie + MIA loss or tie + KC loss OR
3. BAL tie + MIA loss or tie + SD loss + IND loss
There are other scenarios in which the Ravens may clinch a playoff spot if they clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker over certain teams this weekend.

NFC
CLINCHED: None

ATLANTA FALCONS
Atlanta clinches a playoff spot with:
1. ATL win or tie OR
2. NYG loss or tie OR
3. CHI loss or tie OR
4. GB loss or tie

CHICAGO BEARS
Chicago clinches NFC North division with:
1. CHI win + GB loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
New Orleans clinches a playoff spot with:
1. NO win + TB loss or tie + NYG loss or tie OR
2. NO win + TB loss or tie + CHI loss or tie OR
3. NO win + TB loss or tie + GB loss or tie OR
4. NO tie + TB loss + GB loss OR
5. NO tie + TB loss + NYG loss + CHI loss

NEW YORK GIANTS
New York Giants clinch a playoff spot with:
1. NYG win + CHI loss + GB loss + TB loss + NYG clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over TB

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