NFL Playoff Picture 2022: Official AFC, NFC Clinching Scenarios for Week 15 Released

Adam WellsDecember 14, 2022

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) relays the play call in the third quarter during a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 11, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With four weeks remaining in the 2022 NFL regular season, five teams can clinch a playoff berth by the end of Week 15.

The San Francisco 49ers can become the first team to claim a division title if they defeat the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. The Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings can win their divisions with a victory or with losses by the Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Tennessee Titans) and Detroit Lions (vs. New York Jets).

The Buffalo Bills will clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Miami Dolphins. The Dallas Cowboys will make the playoffs with a victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars or with losses by the Seahawks and either the Lions or Washington Commanders.

Andrew Siciliano @AndrewSiciliano

Week 15 <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a> clinching scenarios. <a href="https://t.co/08uyT8JI5W">pic.twitter.com/08uyT8JI5W</a>

The Philadelphia Eagles, owners of the league's best record at 12-1, were the first team to clinch a playoff berth. They locked up their spot with Sunday's 48-22 victory over the New York Giants.

Odds are strongly tilted toward the Eagles winning the NFC East, but the Cowboys are making them work for it. Dallas' 10-3 record is tied with the Vikings for the second-best mark in the NFC.

The Eagles have a 26-17 victory over the Cowboys earlier this season. The two NFC East rivals will meet for the second time on Christmas Eve in a game that could swing the balance of power in the division to Dallas if the Cowboys beat the Jaguars and Philadelphia stumbles on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

The Chiefs have the easiest path to clinching a postseason berth this weekend. Their opponent, the Houston Texans, have the NFL's worst record (1-11-1). Houston did play well in a 27-23 loss to the Cowboys in Week 14.

Kansas City is coming off an uninspiring 34-28 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Patrick Mahomes threw a season-high three interceptions, though he also had 352 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The NFC West race seemed like it was going to be a battle all season. The Seahawks have been a pleasant surprise, while the 49ers have had to navigate losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries.

Instead, the 49ers have rattled off six consecutive wins, and Seattle has lost three of its last four games. A Seahawks victory would move them within one game of the Niners atop the division standings.

Despite losing to the Lions on Sunday, the Vikings have built up such a big cushion in the division that they would have to lose out and Detroit would have to win out for the NFC North to become a race.

The Dolphins-Bills game has lost some of its luster because of Miami's recent struggles on offense. Miami already holds a victory over the Bills, and sweeping the regular-season series would put pressure on Buffalo in its quest to win the AFC East for a third consecutive year.