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AFC Playoff Scenarios: Reviewing the upcoming clinching scenarios for several teams

The Pittsburgh Steelers can clinch the AFC North this Sunday with a win, but see who else is facing playoff scenarios in Week 16.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers fans know all too well what needs to happen on Christmas Day at Heinz Field when the Baltimore Ravens come to town for them to clinch a playoff spot. Plain and simple: Win and you win the AFC North, and clinch a playoff berth.

Simple enough, but what about the rest of the AFC Playoff Picture. What needs to take place for other teams to clinch a playoff spot, or seeding, this weekend?

Before we get into the scenarios, let’s look at the current AFC Playoff Picture:

AFC Playoff Picture (Week 15)

1. New England Patriots xz - 12-2 - Remaining Games: vs. Jets (4-9), at Dolphins (9-5)
2. Oakland Raiders z - 11-3 - Remaining Games: vs. Colts (7-7), at Broncos (8-6)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers - 9-5 - Remaining Games: vs. Ravens (8-6), vs. Browns (0-14)
6. Miami Dolphins - 9-5 - Remaining Games: at Bills (7-7), vs. Patriots (12-2)

4. Houston Texans - 8-6 - Remaining Games: vs. Bengals (5-8-1), at Titans (8-6)
5. Kansas City Chiefs - 10-4 - Remaining Games: vs. Broncos (8-6), at Chargers (5-8)

x - Clinched 1st round bye
z - Clinched Playoff Spot

In the hunt:

7. Baltimore Ravens - 8-6 - Remaining Games: at Steelers (9-5), at Bengals (5-8-1)
8. Tennessee Titans - 8-6 - Remaining Games: at Jaguars (2-12), vs. Texans (8-6)
9. Denver Broncos - 8-6 - Remaining Games: at Chiefs (10-4), vs. Raiders (11-3)
10. Indianapolis Colts - 7-7 - Remaining Games: at Raiders (11-3), vs. Jaguars (2-12)
11. Buffalo Bills - 7-7 - Remaining Games: vs. Dolphins (9-5), at Jets (4-9)

With that knowledge in hand, time to take a look at the scenarios entering Week 16:

New England Patriots

Clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the 4-10 Jets AND a Raiders loss/tie against the Colts OR
a tie against the Jets and a Raiders loss.

Oakland Raiders

Clinch the AFC West title and a first-round bye with a win over the Colts AND a Chiefs loss/tie OR
a tie and a Chiefs loss.

Houston Texans

Clinch the AFC South title by beating the Bengals (2-4-1 in their last seven games) AND a Titans tie/loss against the woeful, coach-less, 2-12 Jaguars.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Clinch the AFC North title by beating the Ravens at home. Baltimore already has a head-to-head victory in this matchup, but that was back in Maryland.

Kansas City Chiefs

Clinch a playoff spot with a win/tie against the Broncos, currently fighting for their postseason lives after going 2-4 in their last six games, OR
a Ravens loss/tie.

Miami Dolphins

Clinch a playoff spot by beating the Buffalo Bills, who are potentially in the process of firing head coach Rex Ryan, AND and a Broncos loss/tie OR
a tie and a Ravens loss AND a Broncos loss AND a Texans loss/tie OR
a tie and a Ravens loss AND a Broncos loss AND a Titans loss/tie.