NFL Playoff Picture: Teams That Have Already Clinched Postseason Spots

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IDecember 21, 2011

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18:  The New England Patriots take the field to face the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 41-23.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The following NFL teams have already clinched their spot in the 2011 postseason:

Green Bay Packers (13-1): Green Bay has already clinched a first-round bye (by virtue of head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints should both teams finish with 13 wins), and another Packers' win or 49ers' loss clinches home-field advantage.   


San Francisco 49ers (11-3): The 49ers were the first team to clinch their division title, which ensured San Francisco's first trip to the postseason since 2002. If the Packers lose their final two games—home against Chicago and Detroit—and the 49ers win out against Seattle and St. Louis, San Francisco would be the NFC's No. 1 seed. 


New Orleans Saints (11-3): The Saints have yet to clinch the NFC South, but they can accomplish that this weekend when the Atlanta Falcons come to New Orleans. A win or tie in that game clinches the division. The Saints need the 49ers to lose one of their final two games to secure the NFC's No. 2 seed, as New Orleans loses that tiebreaker based on conference record.


New England Patriots (11-3): The Patriots secured a playoff spot by clinching the AFC East division last weekend. At 11-3, the Patriots are also the AFC's No. 1 seed. Wins over the Bills and Dolphins ensures that the AFC playoffs will go through Gillette Stadium.


Baltimore Ravens (10-4): The Ravens have clinched a playoff berth, but that's about it. While Baltimore is currently the No. 2 seed, both the Texans and Steelers have the chance to take it away. Winning out against the Browns and Bengals clinches the No. 2 seed. 


Houston Texans (10-4): The AFC South is already clinched, but the Texans need help to get a first-round bye. The Ravens need to lose a game (Baltimore holds a head-to-head tiebreaker) for the Texans to have a chance. Houston does hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers, however. 


Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4): The Steelers' loss on Monday night makes it difficult for them to claim a playoff position outside of the No. 5 seed. The Ravens hold two head-to-head tiebreakers, as do the Texans.