Matt Ludtke/AP/Press Association Images If the Bears and Packers both win this week they face a winner takes all encounter next week.

The Redzone: Week 16 and still all to play for

There are lots of playoff clinching scenarios this weekend, we try guide you through the confusion.

WITH NO THURSDAY Night Football and a myriad of possible playoff-clinching scenarios to wade through, this week’s NFL preview will be a little different than normal as we try to guide you through who needs to do what to continue playing competitive football in January.


AFC West
It looks virtually certain that Denver will take the number one seed in the AFC after the Patriots fell to divisional foes Miami last weekend. With just Houston (2-12) and Oakland (4-10) to come for Peyton Manning and company, the biggest question over the Broncos remains Peyton Manning’s ability to win in wintery playoff conditions.

It’s still possible for the Chiefs to win the division, but it’s more likely they’ll pick up the fifth seed and face a trip to Indianapolis to meet the consistently inconsistent Colts.

AFC North
If the Bengals win out, the division is theirs. However, if they lose to the Ravens on the final day of the season, and Baltimore beat New England this weekend, the defending Super Bowl champions will take the North. Even if they don’t win the division, Baltimore are currently in possession of the sixth seed in the AFC but need to match or better the Dolphins’ record over the final to weeks to set up, potentially, a third encounter with Cincinnati this season.

AFC East
New England just need a win in one of their final two games to clinch the division but must match or better the Bengals if they are to hold on to the number two spot and a first round bye. The Dolphins must better the Ravens’ record in the next two games to take the sixth seed as Baltimore holds the tiebreaker from their week five encounter.

AFC South
Interestingly, if both the Patriots and Bengals go 1-1 or worse over the next two weeks and the Colts — who have already won the division — win both their games, a scenario that’s not beyond the realms of possibility, it will be Andrew Luck and company who own the second seed in the AFC.


NFC West
Who’d be a Cardinals fan? Even if they beat both the Seahawks and 49ers in the last two weeks, they’ll still need help to get to into the postseason as — if San Francisco also finish on 11-5 — the 49ers have a better record in the division. Seattle will win the division and home field advantage if they beat Arizona this Sunday while the 49ers can jump to the fifth seed spot with a win over Atlanta.

NFC North
If both the Packers and Bears win this week, they’ll face off in week 17 in a winner takes all game to decide which of them makes the postseason. If the Lions win out — and they should with games against the Giants and Vikings — they need Green Bay and Chicago to lose a game each in order to win the division.

NFC East
If the Cowboys lose to Washington on Sunday and, lets face it, they’re both terrible football teams, then the Eagles can win the division with victory over Chicago in Sunday’s late game. If the Cowboys win, then the division will come down to a one game, win and you’re in decider between Philadelphia and Dallas in week 17.

NFC South
The winner of Sunday’s game between the Panthers and Saints will probably take the NFC’s number two spot while the loser will likely fall all the way to the number six seed. Such a fall is especially worrying for the Saints, who have lost four of their last five on the road.

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