NFL Week 14 playoff and elimination scenarios


Get excited, because it is crazy elimination scenario time.

Here are the playoff and elimination scenarios for Week 14 of the NFL season, along with information on each game involved. To keep things relatively simple, on the elimination side of things we are focusing purely on playoff elimination, not elimination from division titles or first-overall seeding.

We will start in the NFC, which has the only playoff-clinching scenarios.

NFC

Playoff-clinching scenarios

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles enter Week 14 at 10-2, and while they missed out on clinching a playoff spot last week in their loss to the San Francisco 49ers, they can still clinch this week.

The easiest path starts with a win over the Dallas Cowboys. Should Philadelphia beat Dallas, they would then clinch a spot in the playoffs with:

  • A Rams loss or tie to the Ravens, OR
  • A Seahawks loss or tie to the 49ers, OR
  • A Vikings loss or tie to the Raiders AND a Packers loss or tie to the Giants, OR
  • A Packers loss or tie to the Giants AND a Lions loss or tie to the Bears

The Eagles can also clinch a postseason spot if their game against Dallas ends in a tie. In that scenario they would need:

  • A Rams loss and a Seahawks loss, OR
  • A Rams loss and a Packers loss, OR
  • A Seahawks loss and a Vikings loss or tie, OR
  • A Seahawks loss and a Packers loss or tie, OR
  • A Seahawks loss and a Packers loss

San Francisco 49ers

Things are relatively simple for the 49ers to clinch a playoff spot. First, they would need to beat the Seahawks. Then, a few different combinations would get them into the dance. A win, plus a Vikings loss, and the 49ers are in. A win, plus a Vikings tie and a Packers tie, and the 49ers are in. Finally, a win coupled with a Packers loss, and San Francisco is in.

Dallas Cowboys

Thanks to their win over the Seahawks on Thursday night, and the Eagles’ loss to San Francisco, the Cowboys are back in the thick of things for the NFC East. With those two storied rivals meeting on Sunday Night Football, a Dallas win over the Eagles would see the Cowboys slide into the top spot in the division. Both teams would have matching 10-3 records, and with the season series then split 1-1, the next tiebreaker is division record.

A Dallas win Sunday night would put them at 4-1, while it would drop the Eagles to 3-1.

However, that would be temporary, and as this piece from USA Today notes, if Dallas wins on Sunday night, and then both the Eagles and the Cowboys win their remaining games, Philadelphia would eventually own the tiebreaker edge based on who is left on their schedule.

For our purposes here, let’s focus on how a Dallas win Sunday night, coupled with a lot of help, could clinch them a playoff spot. A win on Sunday Night Football gets Dallas in provided:

  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers lose to the Falcons, the Rams lose or tie, the Packers lose, and the Vikings lose or tie, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers lose, the Seahawks lose, the Rams lose or tie, the Packers tie, and the Vikings lose, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers lose, the Seahawks lose, the Saints lose or tie, the Packers lose, and the Vikings lose or tie, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers lose, the Seahawks lose, the Saints lose or tie, the Packers tie, and the Vikings lose, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers lose, the Seahawks tie, the Rams lose, the Saints lose or tie, the Packers lose, and the Vikings lose or tie, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers lose, the Seahawks tie, the Rams lose, the Saints lose or tie, the Packers tie, and the Vikings lose, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers tie, the Seahawks lose, the Packers lose, and the Vikings lose or tie, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers tie, the Seahawks lose, the Packers tie, and the Vikings lose, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers tie, the Seahawks tie, the Rams lose, the Packers lose, and the Vikings lose or tie, OR
  • The Lions win or tie, the Buccaneers tie, the Seahawks tie, the Rams lose, the Packers tie, and the Vikings lose.

Got it?

Good.

Now catch your breath, and we will walk through some elimination scenarios.

Elimination scenarios

And now, some bad news.

Again, to keep things simple we are focused purely on playoff elimination scenarios. There are some teams (Chicago and Seattle) that can be eliminated from winning their divisions this week. In addition there are teams (Seattle, Minnesota, Green Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles) that can be eliminated from contention for the top spot in the conference.

If you want to see those scenarios, we strongly recommend NFL Playoff Scenarios as a resource.

Arizona Cardinals

While the Cardinals are on a bye week, if some results go against them they will officially be eliminated from the playoffs. If the Rams and Packers both win, Arizona is eliminated. If the Rams win, the Packers tie, and the Vikings win or tie, the Cardinals are eliminated.

Eliminated teams

Carolina Panthers

With their loss last week, the Carolina Panthers were the first team eliminated from playoff contention.

AFC

Playoff-clinching scenarios

There are no AFC playoff-clinching scenarios

Elimination scenarios

As noted above, we are focusing on straight playoff elimination, and not on seeding. Again, if you want to dive into more scenarios we highly recommend NFL Playoff Scenarios. There you can learn how the Titans and Bengals can be eliminated in their respective divisions, as well as how numerous teams can be eliminated from the top-overall seed.

New England Patriots

The Patriots kept their slim playoff hopes alive Thursday with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, they can still be eliminated today if any of the following results happen:

  • The Texans win or tie against the Jets, OR
  • The Bengals win or tie against the Colts, OR
  • The Raiders win against the Vikings and the Bills win or tie against the Chiefs, OR
  • The Raiders tie the Vikings and the Bills beat the Chiefs

At least Bill Belichick had the time of his life Saturday before Army-Navy.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans can also be eliminated from playoff contention, although this would take a few things going against them. First, they would need to lose to the Dolphins on Monday Night Football. Then, they would need the Colts to beat the Bengals, the Steelers to beat the Patriots, and the Texans to win or tie against the Jets.

As well as a tie between Cleveland and Jacksonville.



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