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NFL playoff scenarios, Week 16: Who can clinch?

With 15 weeks of the NFL regular season fully in the books, we know some things about who is going to be in the playoffs, and what can happen in Week 16 to make the picture even clearer.

Going into the weekend ahead, we know this much: the Philadelphia Eagles have clinched the NFC East and at least a top two seed in the NFC playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings have also cliched the NFC North and currently sit second in the conference standings.

In the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers are AFC North champions and also sit second in the AFC. The New England Patriots are the current top seed and AFC East champs.

So what can be clinched this week? Let’s run down the games and teams involved.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have already secured their first playoff berth since 2007 with a 10-4 record, but they can put away the AFC South title with a win against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are 4-10 but won’t be an easy mark, with Jimmy Garoppolo winning all three of his starts in San Fran. Jacksonville would also win the South even if they lose, provided the Los Angeles Rams take care of business on the road against the Tennessee Titans.

The Kansas City Chiefs can wrap up the AFC West after seemingly imploding for two months before knocking off the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers in consecutive weeks. Kansas City only needs to beat the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium, a game it is 10-point favorites in. The Chiefs would also clinch the West with the Chargers losing away from home against the New York Jets. Los Angeles is favored by a touchdown.

In the NFC, the Rams can win the NFC West with either a loss by the Seattle Seahawks on the road to the Dallas Cowboys, or with a victory of their own against the Titans. If Los Angeles wins, it will stay at a minimum in the third seed of the NFC playoff picture.

In the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints can clinch the division with a win over the Atlanta Falcons coupled with a loss by the Carolina Panthers to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Meanwhile, if Atlanta wins and Carolina picks up a victory, the Panthers would move into first place. Finally, if the Falcons win and the Panthers lose, Atlanta would be in first place with New Orleans in the fifth slot and Carolina in the sixth position.

Those are the teams and results to watch for as we head into the final two weeks of the regular season.

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