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NFL Playoff Picture 2022: Official AFC, NFC Clinching Scenarios for Week 16 Released

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on October 16, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Playoff spots will be on the line during Week 16 of the NFL season.

The league released the various playoff-clinching scenarios for the upcoming slate Monday:


AFC

  • Buffalo Bills: Clinch AFC East with win over Chicago Bears OR Miami Dolphins loss (to Green Bay Packers)
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Clinch playoff berth with win over New England Patriots OR New York Jets loss (to Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • Baltimore Ravens: Clinch playoff berth with either 1. win over Atlanta Falcons paired with losses by the Jets and Patriots OR 2. win over Falcons paired with losses by the Jets and Dolphins OR 3. win over Falcons paired with losses by the Patriots and Dolphins
  • Los Angeles Chargers: Clinch playoff berth with win over Indianapolis Colts paired with losses by the Jets, Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders (to Pittsburgh Steelers)

NFC

  • Philadelphia Eagles: Clinch NFC East and NFC's No. 1 seed with win over Dallas Cowboys
  • New York Giants: Clinch playoff berth with either 1. win over Minnesota Vikings paired with losses by the Detroit Lions (to the Carolina Panthers) and Seattle Seahawks (to Kansas City Chiefs) OR 2. win over Vikings paired with losses by Lions and Washington Commanders (to San Francisco 49ers) OR 3. win over Vikings paired with losses by Seahawks and Commanders

There are a number of games with playoff implications that stand out, but the headliner is the showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

It is a marquee matchup whenever these two rivals square off, and Philadelphia can send a message by clinching the top seed with a head-to-head victory. Fortunately for the Eagles, they will likely end up with the No. 1 seed even with a loss since they would still be two games ahead of the Cowboys and at least one game ahead of the Minnesota Vikings.

As if the rivalry and playoff stakes weren't enough, Cowboys pass-rusher Micah Parsons added another layer to this contest with comments he made during a discussion with Von Miller on The Voncast:

Parsons suggested Philadelphia's "system and team" is more responsible for Jalen Hurts' MVP candidacy than the quarterback's individual talents.

There is something to be said about Hurts benefiting from a strong offensive line while throwing to the likes of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, but the comments will be framed as bulletin-board material for Hurts and the Eagles as they look to clinch a division crown.

And Parsons will be under plenty of pressure to perform well for a Cowboys team looking to bounce back from a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.