Where has the season gone? You wait in anticipation for weeks on end and then it arrives and sails by so quickly. Anyway we are now at tipping point, with an awful lot in the balance. Only one single seeding in either conference has been sorted, which for the league in general is great as the schedulers have done a great job in ensuring that the majority of the last round of matches have something riding on them.
So what does every team that is still in the playoff mix have to do to get in to the postseason?
For some its complicated, for others its quite easy. Of course some are already in but they need to secure vital bye weeks and home field.
Lets break it down then so that when you are watching tonight you know exactly what to look for when your team attempts that game winning kick that could be so crucial.
DENVER BRONCOS – clinch a first round bye with a NE win or tie, or a CIN loss or tie and a IND loss or tie.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – clinches home field advantage with a win and a DEN loss,
CINCINNATI BENGALS – clinches a first round bye with a win and a NEP loss.
INDIANAPLOIS COLTS – clinches a first round bye with a win and a loss by NEP and a loss or tie by CIN.
MIAMI DOLPHINS – clinches a playoff spot with a win and a BALT loss, or a win and a SAN D win, or a tie and a BAL loss and SAN D loss or tie, or a tie and a BAL and SAN D tie.
BALTIMORE RTAVENS – clinches a playoff spot with a BALT win and a SAN D loss or tie, or a win and a MIA loss or tie, or a tie and a MIA loss and a SAN D loss or tie, or a tie and a MIA tie and a SAN D loss, or a MIA loss and a SAN D loss and a PITT loss or tie.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS– clinches a playoff spot with a win and a MIA loss or tie and a BALT loss or tie, or a tie with a BALT and MIA loss.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS – clinch a playoff spot with a win and losses for all MIA, BALT and SAN D.
Note that Denver, New England, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Kansas City are already in the playoffs, it is in fact the Chiefs that cannot change their playoff seeding – number 5 – and will be on the road on wild card weekend.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – clinch West division and home field with a win or tie and a SF loss or tie.
CAROLINA PANTHERS – clinch home field advantage with a win and SEA loss and a SF win.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – clinch the East division with a win or tie.
CHICAGO BEARS – clinch the North division with a win or tie.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – clinch the West division and a first round bye with a win and SEA loss. Can also clinch West division and home field advantage with a win and SEA loss and CAR loss or tie.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – clinches the South division with a win and a CAR loss. Clinches a playoff spot with a win, or a tie with ARI tie, or and ARI loss.
ARIZONA CARDINALS – clinches a playoff spot with a win and a NO loss or tie, or a tie and a NO loss.
DALLAS COWBOYS – clinches the East division with a win.
GREEN BAY PACKERS – clinches the North division with a win.
Note that Seattle, Carolina and San Francisco are in the postseason already but no seeding’s have been determined.
The big games to watch out for then are as follows –
DENVER BRONCOS at Oakland Raiders
Buffalo Bills at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
BALTIMORE RAVENS at CINCINNATI BENGALS
Jacksonville Jaguars at INDIANANPOLIS COLTS
New York Jets at MIAMI DOLPHINS
Kansas City Chiefs at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Cleveland Browns at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
St.Louis Rams at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
CAROLINA PANTHERS at Atlanta Falcons
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at DALLAS COWBOYS
GREEN BAY PACKERS at CHICAGO BEARS
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS at ARIZONA CARDINALS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS