2023-24 NFC Playoff Picture: Week 16

By Rockin’ Reese

NFC Playoff Picture

When week 15 of the 2023-24 NFL season ended, the San Francisco 49ers (who earned the very first berth in this season’s NFL playoffs, the previous week) became the first divisional champion of the season, by being the NFC West Champions for the 2nd season in a row. Despite losing their respective games, the Dallas Cowboys & Philadelphia Eagles clinched playoff spots…thanks to the 49ers & Detroit Lions winning and the Green Bay Packers & Atlanta Falcons losing. The Washington Commanders & Arizona Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention. As we enter this Christmas weekend, let’s take a look at the NFC playoff picture for week 16.

NFC

This week, the Lions could have a chance for a merry Christmas by clinching a playoff berth and/or becoming NFC North Champions. The 49ers could have the merriest Christmas, because they could end the week with home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. The Chicago Bears & New York Giants could have lumps of coal in their stocking, because their facing elimination from playoff contention. The scenarios for everybody are cut & dry.

At stake for the Lions is a playoff berth & a chance to win their 1st divisional championship in 30 years. To earn the playoff berth, they have to win or tie on the road against the Minnesota Vikings or hope that the Seattle Seahawks lose or tie on the road against the Tennessee Titans. They would much rather win or tie against the Vikings, because if that happens, then they will become the NFC North Champions.

For the 49ers, they would need 4 things to happen, if they want the NFC’s road to Super Bowl 58 to go through the Bay Area. On Sunday, they would need the Lions to lose to the Vikings & the Cowboys to lose to the Miami Dolphins. On Monday, they would need the Eagles to lose at home to the Giants, then the 49ers have to win at home against the Baltimore Ravens. If all 4 of those events happen, then the merriest Christmas in the NFL will be in the San Francisco area, especially at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

NFC

It should be noted that thanks to the Los Angeles Rams defeating the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night, the number of scenarios needed for the Giants and/or Bears to be eliminated were severely reduced. Now, some teams wins, losses, or ties won’t matter, because one scenario was Giants and/or Bears lose & Rams win or tie. To put this in its simplest form, both the Bears & the Giants must win their games to guarantee that they still have a chance to compete in this season’s playoffs.

For the Bears, they can be eliminated if they lose at home to the Cardinals. They can also be eliminated if they tie and…
-the Vikings, Packers, or Seahawks win.
-the Packers & Vikings tie.

For the Giants, they can be eliminated if they lose to the Eagles. They can also be eliminated if they tie and…
-the Seahawks or Vikings win.
-the Packers win & the Vikings tie.

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