GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 09: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers rushes past Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field on August 9, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 16

All 12 playoff spots are capable of being locked up during Week 16 of the 2015 NFL season.

Six postseason berths have already been finalized, while the six others have reasonable clinching scenarios during the year’s penultimate week. If all 12 teams are decided by the end of Monday, Week 17’s drama will be centered around nothing more than playoff seeding.

Here’s an in-depth look at the NFL’s postseason picture as the schedule hits Week 16:

AFC

1. New England Patriots (12-2)*

2. Cincinnati Bengals (11-3)+

3. Denver Broncos (10-4)

4. Houston Texans (7-7)

5. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)

Other contenders: New York Jets (9-5), Indianapolis Colts (6-8), Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9)

* Clinched AFC East and first-round bye
+ Clinched playoff berth

Biggest games in Week 16:

Patriots at Jets

New England can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win. New York needs a victory to keep pace in the wild card hunt, especially with the Chiefs playing the 3-11 Cleveland Browns and the Steelers taking on the 4-10 Baltimore Ravens.

Texans at Titans

Amazingly, the AFC South can be decided in Week 16. Houston will win the division by beating Tennessee and getting a Dolphins win over the Colts in Miami.

Chiefs at Browns

Kansas City is in the postseason with a win over the Browns and either a Jets loss to New England or a Steelers loss to Baltimore.

Steelers at Ravens

Pittsburgh can clinch a playoff spot with a win in Baltimore and a Patriots win over the Jets.

Bengals at Broncos

Cincinnati is capable of both locking up the AFC North title and a first-round bye by winning in Denver. The Broncos can clinch the AFC West with a win and a Chiefs loss to the Browns. Even if Kansas City wins, Denver can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Jets or Steelers loss.

 

NFC

1. Carolina Panthers (14-0)*

2. Arizona Cardinals (12-2)+

3. Green Bay Packers (10-4)x

4. Washington Redskins (7-7)

5. Seattle Seahawks (9-5)x

6. Minnesota Vikings (9-5)

Other contenders: Atlanta Falcons (7-7), Philadelphia Eagles (6-8), New York Giants (6-8)

* Clinched NFC South, first-round bye
+ Clinched NFC West
x Clinched playoff berth

Biggest games in Week 16:

Redskins at Eagles

It’s pretty simple in Washington: Beat the Eagles in Philadelphia on Saturday, and the Redskins win the NFC East.

Panthers at Falcons

Carolina can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win or Cardinals loss. Atlanta needs a win plus losses from both the Seahawks and Vikings to stay alive.

Packers at Cardinals

Green Bay can win the NFC North with a win and a Vikings loss to New York. Arizona clinches a first-round bye with a victory.

Giants at Vikings

New York needs a win and a Washington loss to avoid elimination. The Vikings can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Giants, a Falcons loss to Carolina or a Seahawks win over the St. Louis Rams.

Zach Kruse

About Zach Kruse

Zach is the associate editor at The Sports Daily. He also covers the NFL for Bleacher Report and CheeseheadTV.

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