NFL playoff clinching scenarios already are in play, and we still have five weeks remaining in the 2019 regular season. This is a testament to how strong the league’s best teams have been this season.
It should come as no surprise that the two teams with 10-1 records, the Patriots and 49ers, are among those that have the year’s first chances to clinch spots in the NFL playoff picture. But the 9-2 Saints will have the first chance.
New Orleans will play in Atlanta on Thanksgiving Night, and the Saints with a win would clinch the NFC South title for the third consecutive year. Even if the Saints and Falcons tie Thursday night, New Orleans still could clinch the division this week with a Carolina loss to Washington on Sunday.
Because they have divisional competition from the Seahawks and Bills, respectively, the 49ers and Patriots can’t clinch their divisions this week, but they can secure playoff spots. Both will need a little help, with San Francisco needed just a win and a LA Rams loss to Arizona to officially reach the postseason.
Easier said than done, though, for the 49ers against the red-hot Ravens. Baltimore is sitting pretty at 9-2, and although it can’t clinch a playoff spot in Week 13, the Ravens will have some clinching scenarios next week should they take care of the 49ers at home.
Below are all the clinching scenarios for the 49ers, Saints and Patriots in Week 13.
NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 13
San Francisco 49ers
49ers clinch playoff berth with:
- 49ers win and Rams loss or tie OR
- 49ers tie and Rams loss
New Orleans Saints
Saints clinch NFC South title with:
- Saints win OR
- Saints tie and Panthers loss or tie
New England Patriots
Patriots clinch playoff berth with:
- Patriots win and Raiders loss or tie OR
- Patriots win and Steelers loss or tie OR
- Patriots tie and Raiders loss and Steelers loss OR
- Patriots tie and Raiders loss and Colts loss OR
- Patriots tie and Steelers loss and Colts loss
AFC playoff picture
- Patriots (10-1)
- Ravens (9-2)
- Texans (7-4)
- Chiefs (7-4)
- Bills (8-3)
- Steelers (6-5)
In the hunt: Raiders (6-5), Colts (6-5), Titans (6-5), Browns (5-6)
NFC playoff picture
- 49ers (10-1)
- Saints (9-2)
- Packers (8-3)
- Cowboys (6-5)
- Seahawks (9-2)
- Vikings (8-3)
In the hunt: Rams (6-5), Bears (5-6), Eagles (5-6), Panthers (5-6), Buccaneers (4-7)