This time of year, though the playoff picture has taken shape, it’s outer edges remain muddied and convoluted. As always, there is the messy business of tiebreakers and who must win what in order in sneak into the playoffs. If the last few years are any indication, it will be those teams that eventually vie for a Super Bowl title. So even if you’re talking about the sixth seed, the stakes are still high. Thankfully, KSK has gone to the trouble of sorting it out for you, with the caveat that the Jets are technically very much alive for a playoff berth, because this year is a mess.
The Falcons can clinch homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs if:
They get the f*ck off the Panthers’ field. Not only because they were instructed to do so, but because none of their remaining games take place there. Seriously, best to move on, guys.
The 49ers can clinch homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs if:
Nobody’s got it better than them
The 49ers can clinch a first-round bye if:
Only the Falcons have got it better than them.
The 49ers can clinch the NFC West if:
The inky tide of San Quentin tats spares the Bay Area when it overtakes the West Coast.
The Packers can secure a first-round bye if:
Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings can appear in six new national television commercials by Week 16.
Someone actually constructs a Clay Matthew Fathead man cave then kills himself.
The Packers can clinch the NFC North if:
Their division rivals continue doing shit like this against them.
The Bears can clinch the NFC North if:
Charles Tillman lands a concussive fumble punch on Aaron Rodgers on the opening play Sunday.
The Bears can clinch a Wild Card spot if:
Jay Cutler is able to work his kitty charms on the NFL Mobile cat lady to draw her out of Packers fandom.
The Seahawks can win the NFC West if:
Division titles are distributed based on most references to your quarterback’s height.
The scab refs return.
The Seahawks can clinch a playoff spot if:
Russell Wilson has medium-uber to super-uber precociousness. And doesn’t get into his teammate’s Adderall.
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants can clinch a first-round bye if:
Teammates can bring themselves to not be distracted by the scrote skin on the back of Victor Cruz’s head.
The Giants can win the NFC East if:
They follow the same pattern of foundering near the end of the season just to pull a Super Bowl run out of their ass come January AND ARRRGGGHHHHH I’M GETTING SO TIRED OF IT, IT ALMOST MAKES THE REDSKINS A SYMPATHETIC TEAM.
The Redskins can win the NFC East if:
Alfred Morris finds out what Santa wants for Christmas.
Alfred Morris finds out what Santa wants for Griffmas.
The Redskins can clinch a playoff spot if:
As Peter King predicted, Kirk Cousins makes the New Yorker’s next 20 Under 40: Summer Fiction issue.
The Cowboys can win the NFC East if:
The rest of their practice squad dies.
At least one per week before the end of the season.
The Cowboys can clinch a playoff spot if:
Jay Ratliff does the sensible thing and kicks the shit out of Jerry Jones next time the Double J screams at him in the locker room.
The Vikings can clinch a playoff spot if:
Adrian Peterson runs for 2,300 yards and single-handedly cripples every player on all the NFC contenders. So, still a real possibility.
The Texans can clinch homefield advantage in the AFC if:
They don’t play any more really good quarterbacks in prime time.
The Texans can clinch the AFC South if:
They wait to sew division title patches on their letterman jackets until after they defeat the Colts.
The Patriots can clinch homefield advantage in the AFC playoffs if:
“WHO FACKIN CAY-AHHS!? HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOVES THE RAYS HAVE BEEN MAKING IN THE AWF-SEASON!? IT’S A FACKIN INJUSTICE TO BE IN THE AL EAST WITH THEM!”
The Patriots can clinch a first-round bye if:
“THE FACKIN GENIUSES IN THE FRONT AWFFFICE HURRY UP AND LAWK DOWN DANNY AMENDOLA ONCE THE SEASON IS OVAH! HE’S FACKIN’ FEWT-CHA WELKAH!”
The Broncos can clinch a first-round bye if:
Peyton Manning gets Papa John’s to offer stem cells as toppings on his two million free pizzas.
Von Miller seduces one of the two teams ahead of them into tanking with his come-hither stare.
The Ravens can win the AFC North if:
They manage to stop playing like shit at some point.
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati never manage to stop playing like shit.
The Ravens can clinch a playoff spot with:
A new offensive coordinator who isn’t a terrible, failed head coach.
A loss or tie by Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The Colts can clinch the AFC South if:
They win out.
Ron Howard agrees to direct their future Hollywood movie, adapted for the lofty screen by PK.
The Colts can get a playoff spot if:
Precocious architect Andrew Luck contructs them a playoff berth out of plywood and scattered takeout contained located around Indianapolis.
The Steelers can clinch a playoff berth if:
Calling yourseld “The World’s Team” isn’t actually the most obnoxious thing ever. Because it sounds like the most obnoxious thing ever.
Mike Wallace can be useful for more than one play per game.
The Bengals can clinch a Wild Card spot if:
I don’t know the exact circumstances, but it’ll probably involves A.J. Green doing just about everything on offense.
NEW YORK JETS
The Jets can clinch a playoff spot if:
They can’t. I mean, they still technically can. But really they can’t. They can’t be allowed to. Oh God, this is going to happen, isn’t it?