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NFL Playoff Scenarios, Week 14: Jets, Patriots, Steelers, Falcons Can Clinch

The 9-3 New York Jets are, obviously, still smarting from the national embarrassment of Monday night’s 45-3 lathering by the New England Patriots. The Jets can go a long way toward soothing their wounded feelings this weekend, however, if they can defeat the Miami Dolphins.

That is because the Jets are one of four teams that clinch playoff berths this weekend. The others are New England, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Let’s break down the scenarios:

New England Patriots:
A victory in Chicago against the Bears and they are in. Even a tie will do. A Miami loss or tie combined with a Jacksonville loss or tie would get the Pats into the dance, as would a Miami loss or tie combined with an Indianapolis loss or tie.

New York Jets:
They need some help to clinch a playoff berth this weekend, but it could happen. A Jets’ victory combined with a loss or tie by both San Diego and Jacksonville will get the Jets in. A victory, plus losses or ties by San Diego and Indianapolis will also do the trick. If the Jets tie, an Oakland loss or tie plus losses by the Chargers and Colts would get them in.

Pittsburgh Steelers: This one is guaranteed to have you reaching for the Excedrin. There are five ways the Steelers can get in this week. 1. A Pittsburgh win plus Jacksonville loss/tie, New England win/tie and Miami loss/tie. 2. Steelers win, plus Indianapolis loss/tie, Patriots loss/tie and Miami loss/tie. 3. Pittsburgh wins, plus the Colts lose or tie, the Patriots win or tie and both Oakland and San Diego lose or tie. 4. Steelers win, and Oakland, Miami and Indianapolis lose or tie. 5. Steelers tie, Indainapolis loses and Miami, Oakland and San Diego lose or tie. Phew!

Atlanta Falcons: Here are the four most likely scenarios for the Falcons to become the first NFC team to grab a playoff berth. First: Falcons win, Giants and Eagles lose. Second: Falcons win, Giants and Packers lose. Third: Falcons win, Eagles and Packers lose (Giants fans should love this scenario). Fourth: Falcons tie, Giants, Eagles and Packers lose, Tampa Bay loses or ties.