Heading to the penultimate week 16 of the NFL regular season, there are still plenty of places up for grabs for the NFL Playoffs.
While three teams have clinched their divisions and five others made it certain they’ll make it to the playoffs, four more spots remain and the looming possibility for resting a bit in the final round makes it even more appetizing.
In the AFC, Baltimore Ravens have clinched the North and Kansas City Chiefs the West. Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots have secured their playoff berths but still have to fight it out for their final position in the AFC East as they go head-to-head at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots are currently one win ahead, so if they do not lose to the Bills, the reigning champions will win their division. Elsewhere in AFC, Houston Texans are in for clinching AFC South with a win over Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road.
The NFC only has one division winner set and that is Drew Brees led New Orleans Saints, who have taken the NFC South by wide margin.
However, four teams in the NFC have the same 11-3 record so the battle for the first round bye rages on. Green Bay Packers is one of those four teams and they can secure their division by beating arch-rivals Minnesota Vikings, who then can secure a playoff berth by not losing that game.
The baffling 7-7 situation in NFC East might come to an end, if Dallas Cowboys beats rivals Philadelphia Eagles in the “City of Brotherly Love” – both teams are 7-7 with Dallas currently owning the tie-breaker due to winning the first encounter. Cowboys winning would mean they can enter the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
While plenty of teams are on the verge of clinching their places and easing on the pressure heading to the final week, there are five teams fighting for the two playoff spots in the AFC and four teams in the NFC.
Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers are the most likely candidates to proceed in AFC but the challengers Tennessee Titans and even Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders are still alive – barely, but alive. In NFC it comes down to Dallas and Philadelphia battle, while Los Angeles Rams still have an out in NFC West and Minnesota Vikings are still uncertain, if they lose to Packers this week.
Highlights of the NFL Week 16
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills – Fight for AFC East top spot
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers – Arch-rivals battle for NFC North
Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys – “The worst division in NFL” conclusion is near
San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams – This season’s comet vs last season’s comet