For the first time of the 2021 NFL season, there are playoff clinching scenarios on the table for a few teams.
Nothing has been locked up in the NFL playoff picture so far, but that could changed quickly in Week 14. The Buccaneers, Cardinals and Packers are all positioned to potentially stamp their postseason tickets — if things go well for them. Almost every team will need a win (or tie) to guarantee that they will be able to play past Week 18, but the Cardinals do have a few complicated scenarios in which they can advance to the postseason while losing.
The Cardinals have a lot on the line as they play the Rams, but no matter what happens, they won’t be able to clinch a division title. They would take a three-game lead and own the tiebreaker over the Rams with four games to play, but they would still have to wait until Week 15 to officially wrap up the NFC West. And if they lose, it will still be wide open.
While they are lower in the standings than the Cardinals entering Week 14, both the Packers and Buccaneers have divisional-title-clinching scenarios on the table in Week 14. If they can get one of those scenarios — which range from fairly simple to extremely complex — to unfold, the Packers and Bucs will each be locked into top-four seed and will just be fighting for the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye the rest of the NFL season.
On the AFC side, there aren’t any clinching scenarios yet, and it may take a while to sort through the wreckage on that side of the bracket. There are still 12 teams with records of .500 or better in the AFC heading into Week 14, so until someone separates from the back, clinching scenarios will be few and far between.
Here are all of the NFL playoff clinching scenarios for teams that can guarantee themselves a postseason berth in Week 14. And also, a complete look at the NFL playoff picture.
NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 14
Arizona Cardinals (10-2)
Remaining games: vs. Rams, at Lions, vs. Colts, at Cowboys, vs. Seahawks
Arizona clinches playoff berth with:
- Cardinals win or tie OR
- Vikings loss or tie AND 49ers loss OR
- Vikings loss or tie AND Saints loss or tie AND Panthers loss or tie OR
- 49ers loss AND Saints loss or tie AND Falcons/Panthers tie
Green Bay Packers (9-3)
Remaining games: vs. Bears, at Ravens, vs. Browns, vs. Vikings, at Lions
Green Bay clinches NFC North division title with:
- Packers win AND Vikings loss or tie OR
- Packers tie AND Vikings loss
Green Bay clinches playoff berth with:
- Packers win AND Saints loss or tie AND 49ers loss OR
- Packers win AND Saints loss or tie AND Rams loss AND 49ers tie
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
Remaining games: vs. Bills, vs. Saints, at Panthers, at Jets, vs. Panthers
Tampa Bay clinches NFC South division title with:
- Buccaneers win AND Saints loss or tie AND Panthers loss or tie
Tampa Bay clinches playoff berth with:
- Buccaneers tie AND Panthers loss AND Saints loss AND Vikings loss AND 49ers loss or tie AND Washington loss or tie
NFL playoff picture 2021
|1.||New England Patriots||9-4||N/a|
|4.||Kansas City Chiefs||8-4||N/a|
|5.||Los Angeles Chargers||7-5||N/a|
In the hunt: Steelers (6-5-1), Colts (7-6), Raiders (6-6), Browns (6-6), Broncos (6-6), Dolphins (6-7)
|2.||Green Bay Packers||9-3||N/a|
|3.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9-3||N/a|
|5.||Los Angeles Rams||8-4||N/a|
|6.||Washington Football Team||6-6||N/a|
|7.||San Francisco 49ers||6-6||N/a|
In the hunt: Eagles (6-7), Vikings (5-7), Panthers (5-7), Falcons (5-7), Saints (5-7), Giants (4-8), Bears (4-8), Seahawks (4-8)