So far, the 2018 NFL playoff party is sparsely populated.
Seven of the 12 postseason spots remain unclaimed entering Week 16. Once this slate is finished, though, the playoff picture could be close to peak capacity.
Nine different squads can sew up something this weekend, be it a playoff berth, division title or even a No. 1 seed.
We'll run through all of the clinching scenarios below, while also examining the latest standings and Super Bowl odds.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)
2. Houston Texans (10-4)
3. New England Patriots (9-5)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)
5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3)
6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
8. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
9. Miami Dolphins (7-7)
10. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1)
1. New Orleans Saints (12-2)
2. Los Angeles Rams (11-3)
3. Chicago Bears (10-4)
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
5. Seattle Seahawks (8-6)
6. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1)
7. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)
8. Washington Redskins (7-7)
9. Carolina Panthers (6-8)
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs would lock up the AFC West division title and a first-round bye with a win and a Chargers loss. Couple that combination with a Texans loss or tie—or Kansas City clinching the strength of victory tiebreaker over Houston—and the Chiefs would have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Win or tie, and the Texans clinch the AFC South division crown. Lose, and it's still possible with both a Colts loss or tie and Titans loss or tie. Win while the Patriots lose or tie (or tie while they lose), and Houston would secure a first-round bye.
If any of the following three things happen, the Texans get into the playoffs:
- Ravens lose or tie
- Steelers lose
- Titans lose or tie, while Texans clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Ravens
New England Patriots
A win or tie would give the Patriots their 10th straight AFC East division title. So, too, would a Dolphins loss or tie.
The Steelers are AFC North division champs if they win while the Ravens lose or tie. Tying while the Ravens lose would also do the trick.
Pittsburgh can also clinch a playoff berth by winning while both Indianapolis and Tennessee lose.
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans has three different paths to the NFC's No. 1 seed. The first is the simplest: win over Pittsburgh. The other options would be tying while Los Angeles loses or ties, or having L.A. lose and Chicago lose or tie.
The Saints have three other ways of clinching a first-round bye: tie, Bears loss or tie or Rams loss.
Los Angeles Rams
Win while the Bears lose or tie—or tie while the Bears lose—and the Rams will receive a first-round bye.
The Cowboys are one win away from clinching the NFC East. Tying while the Eagles and Redskins both lose or tie—or simply having those teams both lose—would also give the division to Dallas.
The Seahawks need help to land their playoff spot this weekend, but there are five ways it can happen:
- Seahawks win, Redskins lose or tie
- Seahawks win or tie, Vikings lose
- Seahawks win and clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Redskins
- Seahawks win, Vikings tie and Seahawks clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Vikings
- Seahawks tie, Redskins lose, Eagles lose or tie
The Vikings join the playoff party with a win, a Redskins loss and an Eagles loss or tie.
Super Bowl Odds
New Orleans Saints: +260 (Bet $100 to win $260)
Los Angeles Rams: +425
Kansas City Chiefs: +550
New England Patriots: +700
Los Angeles Chargers: +750
Chicago Bears: +800
Houston Texans: +1800
Pittsburgh Steelers: +1800
Baltimore Ravens +2700
Dallas Cowboys +2700
Indianapolis Colts +3300
Seattle Seahawks +3800
Philadelphia Eagles +4000
Minnesota Vikings +4500
Tennessee Titans +6000
Cleveland Browns +15000
Carolina Panthers +20000
Washington Redskins +20000
Miami Dolphins +25000
The top of those odds look scary.
Even if the Saints are the best team in the NFL, you won't win much money for saying so. The Rams are basically in the same boat, which feels wild when the team is on a two-game losing streak and Jared Goff has one touchdown against six interceptions this month.
It's a similar story with the AFC. The Chiefs have lost some of their offensive mojo since jettisoning running back Kareem Hunt, and they always had a small margin for error with such a problematic defense. The Patriots, losers of two straight, could be headed to the Wild Card Round, a game they last played in 2009, when they were on the wrong end of a 33-14 rout against the Ravens.
That's not to suggest the aforementioned quartet lacks talent. They're favorites for a reason, but if you're looking for value wagers, scan a bit lower down the list.
The Chargers only have the fifth-best odds. Has any team played better over the past two months? The Bears are right behind. When they're at their peak, they dominate both sides of the ball.
If deep sleepers are your thing, how about the Colts at +3300?
They're heating up at the right time (7-1 in their last eight games), and they've done a good job of getting weapons around Andrew Luck.
Between Marlon Mack (855 scrimmage yards, eight touchdowns), T.Y. Hilton (67 receptions for 1,071 yards and six touchdowns) and Eric Ebron (12 touchdown catches), the Colts can dismantle defenses in a variety of ways.