Don’t look now, everyone. December has arrived & we only have a few weeks left in the NFL regular season. Playoff time is right around the corner. It just so happens that week 13 happens to be the first week where teams can officially be in or out of the playoffs.
We could have our first team in the 2023-24 NFL playoffs, as early as today. The Philadelphia Eagles could be that team, but defeating the San Francisco 49ers won’t be enough for them to clinch a playoff spot. They will need some help to do so. In one scenario, they would also need the Cleveland Browns to go to Inglewood and either defeat or tie the Los Angeles Rams.
In another scenario, they would also need the New Orleans Saints to be victorious at home against the Detroit Lions and they would need the (defending Super Bowl Champion) Kansas City Chiefs to go to Lambeau Field & either defeat or tie the Green Bay Packers. If by some crazy circumstances, the 49ers @ Eagles game ends in a tie, then the Eagles could still clinch a playoff spot, but they would need 3 things to happen. The Packers would have to lose or tie, the Rams would have to lose, and either the Atlanta Falcons (who will visit the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium) or the Saints would have to lose or tie.
While the Eagles could have some good news, 3 teams could have some bad news, this week. The Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, & New England Patriots (the 3 teams with the worst records in the NFL) could officially be eliminated from playoff contention. For the Panthers, it’s plain & simple. A road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ends their season.
For the Cardinals, a road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be enough to guarantee their elimination. They will also need to avoid the following: a Packers win or tie & a Rams win. Wins from the Rams, Saints, & Falcons and a Buccaneers win or tie. Wins from the Rams, Saints, & Buccaneers and a Falcons tie. Wins from the Rams, Falcons, & Buccaneers and a Saints tie.
For the Patriots, losing at home to the Los Angeles Chargers will guarantee that they can’t win the AFC East, but it won’t be enough to guarantee their elimination. They will also need to avoid the following: Wins or ties from the Indianapolis Colts (who will visit the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium), Steelers, & Browns.
Wins or ties from the Steelers & Colts, as well as wins from the Cincinnati Bengals (who will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Stadium) & the Houston Texans (who will host the Denver Broncos). Wins from the Colts & Texans, a Steelers win or tie, and a Bengals tie. A Colts win, a Steelers win or tie, and Broncos @ Texans ending in a tie. Wins or ties from the Steelers & Bengals, as well as tie from the Colts & the Broncos @ Texans game. It should be noted that any scenario involving the Bengals would have to wait, until tomorrow night, since they’re involved in the Monday Night Football Game.
The Patriots & Jets could also be out of the AFC East race. While the Patriots could have their chances finished with a loss or tie, they could also fail to win the division if the Miami Dolphins (who will visit the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field).