NFL's Week 15 Winners and Losers & Playoffs Ramifications

Football ManiaxsSenior Writer IDecember 21, 2009

By Derek Lofland.

The NFC playoff picture came into full focus on Sunday. The New Orleans Saints need to beat the 2-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week to secure home field throughout the playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North with a loss thanks to the Green Bay Packers' loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But thanks to the Vikings' horrible showing against the Carolina Panthers, the Philadelphia Eagles are only a game back for a first round bye.

Philadelphia clinched a playoff spot, and the Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West. That leaves four of the six spots clinched with only Green Bay, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants left to fight for the remaining two spots.

Conversely, the AFC is a mess. Indianapolis has clinched home field and became just the third team to start a season 14-0. The San Diego Chargers have clinched the AFC West. New England needs one more win to clinch the AFC East. Cincinnati needs a win or a Baltimore Ravens loss to clinch the AFC North. That is the easy part.

The Ravens and the Denver Broncos are 8-6 and are the leaders in the wild card chase. Six teams (Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans) sit at 7-7 and just a game back. It is going to be a photo finish for those remaining two wild card spots.

Now, let us look at the rest of the action from the NFL’s Week 15.


MVPs of the Week

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger broke Eagles QB Donovan McNabb’s season high for passing yards (450) with a 503-yard performance that featured three touchdowns and no picks, which gave the Steelers a 37-36 win over the Packers and saved their season.

Cleveland Browns RB Jerome Harrison came within 10 yards of tying Vikings RB Adrian Peterson for the most rushing yards in a single game...

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