AFC, NFC fields could come into focus

The NFL playoff field had its first entrant last week in the Green Bay Packers, and the Dallas Cowboys joined them on Thursday. But those two could have company in short order.

Heading into Week 16, seven different teams had a way to punch their postseason ticket with the latest round of games. The Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all had win-and-in scenarios, though the Cardinals will again need help after falling to the Indianapolis Colts. And though the Tennessee Titans did not clinch anything off Thursday night’s win over the San Francisco 49ers and were denied a shot at wrapping up the AFC South due to the Colts’ win, the Cowboys made it into the field thanks to the 49ers’ loss.

Here are the playoff clinching scenarios for Week 16 after Saturdays games:

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) celebrates after scoring a touchdown with teammates Mac Jones (10) and David Andrews (60) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass.

AFC (clinched: none)

Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) [vs. Pittsburgh (7-6-1), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET]

Chiefs clinch AFC West division title with:

1. Chiefs win + Chargers loss or tie OR

2. Chiefs tie + Chargers loss

Chiefs clinch playoff berth with:

1. Chiefs win OR

2. Chiefs tie + Bills loss OR

3. Chiefs tie + Bengals-Ravens does not end in a tie

New England Patriots (9-5) [vs. Buffalo (8-6), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET]

Patriots clinch AFC East division title with:

1. Patriots win + Dolphins loss or tie

Patriots clinch playoff berth with:

1. Patriots win + Raiders loss or tie + Chargers loss OR

2. Patriots win + Ravens loss + Steelers loss or tie

Tennessee Titans (9-5) [def. San Francisco 49ers 20-17]

Titans clinch playoff berth with:

1. Dolphins loss or tie + Bills loss + Broncos loss or tie + Steelers loss OR

2. Dolphins loss or tie + Bills loss + Broncos loss or tie + Ravens loss or tie

NFC (clinched: Green Bay Packers – NFC North division title, Dallas Cowboys – playoff birth)

Arizona Cardinals (10-4) [lost to Indianapolis Colts 22-13]

Cardinals clinch playoff berth with:

1. Eagles loss or tie

2. Vikings loss or tie

3. Saints loss or tie

Dallas Cowboys (10-4) [vs. Washington (6-8), Sunday night, 8:20 p.m. ET]

Cowboys clinch NFC East division title with:

1. Cowboys win or tie OR

2. Eagles loss or tie OR

3. Cowboys clinch at least a tie in strength-of-victory tiebreaker over PHI

(Cowboys clinched playoff berth with 49ers loss)

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) [at Minnesota (7-7), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET]

Rams clinch playoff berth with:

1. Rams win or tie OR

2. Eagles loss or tie + Saints loss or tie

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-4) [at Carolina (5-9), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET]

Buccaneers clinch NFC South division title with:

1. Buccaneers win or tie OR

2. Saints loss or tie

Buccaneers clinch playoff berth with:

1. Vikings loss or tie + Eagles loss or tie OR

2. Vikings loss or tie + Cowboys win or tie OR

3. Vikings loss or tie + Cowboys clinches at least a tie in strength-of-victory tiebreaker over PHI

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL playoff clinching scenarios: AFC, NFC stakes in Week 16