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2023-2024 NFL playoffs clinching scenarios: Bills head to Miami with hopes of securing AFC No 2 seed

2023-2024 NFL playoffs clinching scenarios: Bills head to Miami with hopes of securing AFC No 2 seed

Tooba Shakir 4 months ago 0

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The race to the playoffs comes down to this.

The NFL is entering the final week of the regular season and nine teams have already clinched their spot in the postseason. With just one game left on the schedule and five spots remaining, fans can expect to see some of the most exciting football of the year.

Dameon Pierce celebrates

Texans running back Dameon Pierce (31) celebrates a kickoff return for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium in Houston on Dec. 24, 2023. (Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Among the scenarios heading into the weekend, the Buffalo Bills have one of the more interesting breakdowns. 

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A win against the Miami Dolphins would guarantee the Bills the division title and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Without a win, Buffalo could also advance with a loss or tie by the Pittsburgh Steelers, a loss or tie by the Jacksonville Jaguars, or a tie between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts. 

Interestingly, there is a scenario (a complicated one) that could see Buffalo go in the opposite direction.

If Pittsburgh were to pull off a victory over the top-seed Baltimore Ravens, and the Jaguars defeated the Titans, and the Texans-Colts game ended in anything but a tie, and the Bills fell short on Sunday, Buffalo’s season would come to an end.

Josh Allen and the team

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Dallas Cowboys, Dec. 17, 2023, in Orchard Park, New York. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

All four things would need to happen for this outcome, but nothing is guaranteed.

LIONS’ DAN CAMPBELL ADMITS TRYING TO CONFUSE COWBOYS DEFENSE BEFORE CONTROVERSIAL PENALTY

The Bills have had an up-and-down season. Entering the bye week, the Bills held a 6-6 record and their hopes of reaching the playoffs were in question. But after returning to the field, Buffalo pulled ahead, winning four straight.

“I really think it’s just about our players continuing to grow every week,” head coach Sean McDermott told reporters Monday after a win over the New England Patriots on Sunday. 

“Our coaches have done a phenomenal job of working on things with them, developing players at the individual level and then at the unit level as well. I really believe that the players have taken on that challenge head-on, and they’ve come together and formed an identity as a football team. I’ve just been very impressed by that over the last few weeks in particular.”

Several other teams face similar situations with just one game left. Read below to see which teams are sitting comfortably, which will be waiting on the final whistle, and which teams will have to watch the playoffs from home, per the NFL.

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MOVING ON

AFC

Lamar Jackson slaps hands

Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens high-fives a fan at halftime of the game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, on Dec. 25, 2023. (Loren Elliott/Getty Images)

1. Baltimore Ravens

Record: 13-3, AFC North division title

2. Miami Dolphins

Record: 11-5, 1st in AFC East

3. Kansas City Chiefs 

Record: 10-6, AFC West division title

4. Cleveland Browns 

Record: 11-5, 2nd in AFC North

NFC

Christian McCaffrey vs Cardinals

Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a rushing touchdown against the Cardinals, Dec. 17, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

1. San Francisco 49ers 

Record: 12-4, NFC West division title

2. Dallas Cowboys

Record: 11-5, 1st in NFC East

3. Detroit Lions

Record: 11-5, NFC North division title

4. Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 11-5, 2nd in NFC East

5. Los Angeles Rams 

Record: 9-7, 2nd in NFC West

IN THE HUNT

AFC

Case Keenum hands ball off

Case Keenum (18) of the Houston Texans hands the ball off to Devin Singletary during the second half, Dec. 17, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Houston Texans clinch AFC South division title with:

1. HOU win + JAX loss or tie

Houston clinches playoff berth with:

1. HOU win OR

2. HOU tie + JAX loss + PIT loss or tie

Indianapolis Colts clinch AFC South division title with:

1. IND win + JAX loss or tie OR

2. IND tie + JAX loss

Indianapolis clinches playoff berth with:

1. IND win OR

2. IND tie + PIT loss or tie

Jacksonville Jaguars clinch AFC South division title with:

1. JAX win OR

2. JAX tie + HOU-IND tie

Jacksonville clinches playoff berth with:

1. JAX tie + PIT loss or tie OR

2. PIT loss + DEN loss or tie + HOU-IND doesn’t end in tie

Pittsburgh Steelers clinch playoff berth with:

1. PIT win + BUF loss OR

2. PIT win + JAX loss or tie OR

3. PIT win + HOU-IND tie OR

4. PIT tie + JAX loss + HOU-IND doesn’t end in tie OR

5. JAX loss + DEN win + HOU-IND doesn’t end in tie

NFC

Tyler Allgeier takes the ball

Taylor Heinicke of the Falcons hands the ball off to Tyler Allgeier during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts, Dec. 24, 2023, in Atlanta. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Atlanta Falcons clinch NFC South division title with:

1. ATL win + TB loss

Green Bay Packers clinch playoff berth with:

1. GB win OR

2. GB tie + SEA loss or tie + NO loss or tie OR

3. GB tie + SEA loss + TB loss OR

4. GB tie + SEA tie + TB loss or tie OR

5. MIN loss or tie + SEA loss + TB loss OR

6. MIN loss or tie + SEA loss + NO loss

 –

Minnesota Vikings clinch playoff berth with:

1. MIN win + GB loss + SEA loss + TB loss OR

2. MIN win + GB loss + SEA loss + NO loss

New Orleans Saints clinch NFC South division title with:

1. NO win + TB loss or tie OR

2. NO tie + TB loss

New Orleans clinches playoff berth with:

1. NO win + SEA loss or tie + GB loss or tie OR

2. NO tie + SEA loss + GB loss

 ​

Seattle Seahawks clinch playoff berth with:

1. SEA win + GB loss or tie OR

2. SEA tie + GB loss + TB loss or tie OR

3. SEA tie + GB loss + NO loss or tie 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinch NFC South division title with:

1. TB win OR

2. TB tie + NO loss or tie

Tampa Bay clinches playoff berth with:

1. TB tie + SEA loss + GB loss or tie

Week 18 kicks off with the Ravens hosting the Steelers on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET and closes out with the Bills in Miami on Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET.

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