By Danny Cox
Eighteen teams are still alive for one of 12 NFL playoff spots in this year’s postseason. Only four have actually clinched a spot, so that means 14 teams are still fighting for the eight remaining spots.
Denver, Indianapolis, and Kansas City have all clinched spots in the AFC. Over in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks have clinched a berth, but there is still so much more to be decided.
The Indianapolis Colts are the AFC South champions and pretty much relegated to a seed that will be fourth or fifth.
The Denver Broncos can clinch the AFC West and a first-round bye with a win and a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs. Should the New England Patriots lose or tie, the Broncos will also clinch home-field advantage.
Speaking of the Patriots, they can clinch the AFC East with a win or tie of their own or a loss or tie by the Miami Dolphins. There are opportunities for the Patriots to also receive a first-round bye, but they only need the Cincinnati Bengals to lose or tie and they receive a playoff spot.
Things get a bit more complicated for the Baltimore Ravens, Bengals, and Dolphins, but all can clinch a playoff berth this weekend.
Over in the NFC, the Seahawks can win the NFC West and home-field advantage with a win or tie of their own or having the San Francisco 49ers lose or tie.
Currently second in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints can clinch the NFC South and a first-round bye should they defeat the Carolina Panthers. The Saints have four other scenarios in place by way of which they can clinch a playoff berth.
The Panthers, 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles can also clinch playoff spots by way of a number of scenarios as well. Philly also has the possibility of winning the NFC East depending on what the Dallas Cowboys do.
The Chicago Bears can win the NFC North by winning their game, Detroit losing or ending in a tie, and Green Bay losing.
Looking at things, it seems almost clear-cut, but it is far from it.
In the AFC, the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers are still technically alive for a playoff berth. Looking at the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals, Packers, Lions, and Cowboys are all still mathematically alive.
Depending on what happens these next two weeks, the current match-ups and seeding could change drastically. With so many teams still alive and so little locked in place, prepare for the final two weeks of the 2013 NFL regular season to be exciting, thrilling, and down to the wire.
For more NFL news and updates, visit NFL Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.