Updated NFL playoff scenarios

There are two games remaining on the Week 16 schedule (Saints vs. Falcons on Monday and Vikings vs. Eagles on Tuesday), but we know what teams have to do to clinch playoff berths, divisions, sixth seeds and everything else that’s clinchable. (Clinchable?)

Here’s a breakdown for each of the two conferences.


Pittsburgh can clinch the AFC North and a first-round bye with a win or tie and Baltimore loss or tie. They also accomplish the same feat with a Baltimore loss this Sunday.

Baltimore clinches the AFC North and a first-round bye with a win and a Pittsburgh loss or tie. They can also clinch with a tie and a Pittsburgh loss.

Indy can clinch the AFC South with a win or tie against the Titans, or a Jaguars’ loss or tie.

Jacksonville clinches the AFC South with a win and an Indianapolis loss to Tennessee at home.


Philadelphia has clinched the NFC East and still ha sa chance to earn a first-round bye and homefield advantage next week depending on what happens Monday night in the Falcons-Saints game, as well as the Bears-Packers matchup on Sunday. As of right now, there are too many scenarios to list, so I’ll have another update next Monday.

Chicago clinched the NFC North and much like the Eagles, can earn a first-round bye and homefield advantage next week.

If Atlanta beats the Saints on Monday night, it’ll win the NFC South and clinch the top seed in the playoffs. If the Falcons lose to the Saints but beat the Panthers on Sunday, they’ll accomplish the same feat.

The Saints can clinch a playoff spot with a win or tie against the Falcons on Monday and still has a chance to win the NFC South, a first-round bye and homefield advantage next week.

Green Bay just has to beat the Bears on Sunday and it’ll earn a playoff spot. They can also clinch a playoff berth with a tie and a Giants’ loss or tie to the Redskins, as well as a Bucs loss or tie to the Saints on Sunday. If all three teams lose this Sunday, the Packers would get it.

New York can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Redskins and a Packers’ loss or tie to the Bears. They can also clinch with a win and two New Orleans losses, or with a tie against the Redskins and a loss by both the Packers and Bucs.

Tampa Bay can clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Saints’ loss to the Falcons, as well as a Giants’ loss or tie to the Redskins. They can also clinch with a win, a Saints loss to the Falcons and a Packers loss to the Bears. Or…a win and a Giants’ loss or tie, plus a Packers’ loss or tie. Or…with a tie, and losses by the Giants and Packers. Or…wait, no – that was it.

Rams & Seahawks
Which ever team wins this Sunday in Seattle will win the NFC West (also known as the greatest division known to man).

Sorry, if your team is not mentioned above, they have been eliminated. You may begin crying………………now.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Giants implode as Packers roll to convincing win

Here are five quick-hit observations from the Packers’ convincing 45-17 win over the Giants on Sunday.

1. If they make the playoffs, the Packers will be a tough out.
Green Bay still needs to beat the Bears next Sunday at Lambeau Field to make the playoffs, but if they do they’re going to be one of the tougher sixth seeds to have ever made the postseason. Pundits often remark how they can’t run the ball, but they won’t need to run the ball if Aaron Rodgers continues to play at a MVP level. I don’t want to downplay the need of a good rushing attack but Rodgers found Jordy Nelson on an 80-yard touchdown on their first possession on Sunday and the Packers were able to turn the game into a track meet. Then they kept throwing late in the second half even though they were up two touchdowns. With the weapons they have in the passing game, they can be aggressive – that can be their game. Granted, the opposing team won’t always turn the ball over six times but the Packers will be a dangerous matchup for any team in the postseason. People seem to forget how good this team is.

2. Turnovers once again kill the Giants.
It’s pretty simple: Turn the ball over six times against any team, regardless of whether or not they’re a quality opponent, and you’re going to lose. Turn the ball over six times against a good team and you’re going to get your face pounded in. Not all of the Giants’ turnovers mattered because one or two came in garbage time when the Packers already had the win wrapped up. But the majority of them hurt. When teams don’t iron out their issues throughout the season, they can come back to haunt them. The Giants started coughing the ball up in Week 1 and have never stopped.

3. The Giants weren’t over last week’s collapse.
The players said they were over their loss to the Eagles and maybe they thought they were. But it sure looked like the Giants needed a quarter to focus after what happened to them last Sunday. They spotted Green Bay a 14-0 lead in the first quarter when Jordy Nelson caught an 80-yard touchdown on the Packers’ first offensive possession when he got by Antrel Rolle at the line of scrimmage. Then Rodgers hit James Jones for a three-yard touchdown with 1:53 remaining in the quarter and all of a sudden it looked as if the rout was on. Credit Tom Coughlin’s squad for snapping out of their funk to tie the game at 14-14, but the Packers just kept coming. Once they took a two-touchdown lead late in the second half, you got the feeling New York was done. Last week was just too much for the G-Men to overcome.

4. Tom Brady, Michael Vick…Aaron Rodgers.
All week it seems as though the sports radio talk shows have discussed who should win the MVP this year: Tom Brady or Michael Vick. But even though the Packers have yet to clinch a playoff spot, Rodgers should at least be in the discussion – even if his name is only briefly mentioned. This was Rodgers’ 10th career game with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions, which is the most in NFL history for quarterbacks within three years of their first start. Nothing against Matt Flynn (he played well last Sunday night in New England), but take Rodgers off this team and they don’t even sniff a winning record. He has no running game, he lost his tight end in the first half of the season and his offensive line can be very inconsistent. Yet, he continues to put up outstanding numbers. He’s unreal.

5. What now?
The Packers will host the Bears next Sunday in Green Bay and as previously mentioned, if they win they’ll clinch a playoff spot. The Eagles clinched the NFC East with the Giants’ loss and now they’ll fight for playoff seeding. The Giants will wrap up their season next week against the Redskins and they must win. If they win and Green Bay loses to Chicago, then New York is in. The G-Men better not overlook Washington, which has suddenly become pesky.

Are the Bears and Jets’ defenses overrated?

Here are five quick-hit thoughts on the Bears’ wild 38-34 win over the Jets in Week 16.

1. Are the Bears and Jets’ defenses overrated?
Not to take anything away from Jay Cutler (who has played well for most of the season) or Mark Sanchez (who has played well for most of his last two games), but what happened to the defenses for these two teams? The Bears came into this game with the 30th-ranked offense and Sanchez was playing with torn cartilage in his shoulder. Yet you would have sworn that this was an Arena League game with the way both teams went up and down the field. In the Jets’ embarrassing loss to the Patriots on Monday night a few weeks ago, their pass rush was non-existent. It was the same case on Sunday, as their front seven failed to lay a hand on Cutler in most situations. New York’s vaunted secondary was brutal in coverage as well, and the entire defense had a poor day tackling. In the past two games, the Jets have allowed 700 total yards, which is a concern to say the least (especially now that they’ve managed to back into the playoffs again). The Bears defense was no better, as it allowed Sanchez to complete 24-for-37 pass attempts for 269 yards and a touchdown. Granted, Chris Harris came up with a huge interception to seal the game for the Bears late in the fourth quarter, but Lovie Smith can’t be too pleased that his defense gave up 393 total yards of offense. With the way both teams played on Sunday, it makes you wonder whether these defenses are living off past reputations.

2. Teams still haven’t learned not to kick to Hester.
It’s amazing how teams foolishly believe week after week that they’ll be the ones to negate what Devin Hester can do in the return game. And I blame the kickers, because no coach that wants to retain his job is ordering his team to kick to the former Miami product. Jets coach Rex Ryan said earlier in the week that the Jets wouldn’t punt to Hester, but Steve Weatherford did it anyway. After successfully playing keep-away in the first half, Weatherford booted a line drive right to Hester in the third quarter, who returned the gift 32 yards to New York’s 32-yard-line. He caught a 25-yard touchdown three plays later to give the Bears a 31-24 lead. Later in the third quarter, he returned a kickoff 40 yards to set up a Cutler touchdown pass to Johnny Knox. The impact that Hester is having this year is eerily similar to the one he had when they went to the Super Bowl in 2006. Given how much more explosive the Bears are offensively than they were back then, teams that could play Chicago in the postseason better figure out a way to keep it out of his hands.

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