The stretch run to the playoffs is on in the NFL.
With the calendar flipped to December, we have reached the part of the season where teams can start locking down playoff spots. Some teams just need a victory, while some teams can lock up a playoff spot with a win, along with some help.
Here are the playoff scenarios for Week 14 of the NFL season, along with information on each game involved. We can start in the AFC, with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City (9-3) travels to Denver this weekend to take on Russell Wilson and the Broncos, who enter this weekend with a 3-9 record. These teams have not met this season, and this will be the first time Wilson and Mahomes square off with Wilson in a Broncos’ uniform.
This game was also scheduled to be featured on Sunday Night Football, but was flexed out of that time slot, likely due to the struggles from the Broncos this season. Instead, the 6-6 Chargers will host the 8-4 Miami Dolphins in prime-time. That game is critical for both teams’ playoff chances, but most notably for the Chargers’ postseason hopes. According to 538.com, the Chargers currently have a 30% chance of making the playoffs. A loss to Miami would drop those odds to just 12%.
The Dolphins, who are trying to keep pace with the Buffalo Bills atop the AFC East, enter this weekend with an 87% chance to make the playoffs. A loss would drop Miami’s odds to 76%, but a win would improve their odds to 97%.
Two teams enter Week 14 with a chance to secure postseason spots.
For the 10-2 Vikings, they can lock up the NFC North with a win, or even a tie, on the road against the 5-7 Detroit Lions. If the Vikings were to lose this weekend, it would keep both Detroit and the Green Bay Packers alive to win the division. However, even if they lose this week, they are on the cusp of clinching the North. Should they lose to Detroit, Minnesota just needs one more win, or losses from Detroit and Green Bay next week, to clinch the division.
While the 11-1 Eagles cannot clinch the NFC East this weekend, thanks to the 9-3 Dallas Cowboys, they can clinch a playoff spot depending on how a few games turn out.
Philadelphia clinches a playoff spot with a win or a tie against the New York Giants, who are 7-4-1 on the year after last week’s tie with the Washington Commanders. This is the first of two meetings between the Giants and the Eagles, who will play again in the final week of the season.
Even if they lose to the GIants, the Eagles can still lock up a spot in the postseason. Philadelphia can also clinch a playoff spot if both the Seattle Seahawks, and the San Francisco 49ers, lose this weekend. The 7-5 Seahawks are hosting the 4-8 Carolina Panthers, while the 8-4 49ers are hosting Tom Brady and the 6-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brock Purdy looks to be under center for the 49ers in that game.