So, after 14 NFL Sundays, there’s only one team that has clinched a playoff spot, while no one has clinched a division as of yet. Week 15, is going to change that scenario.
There are a number of teams either with division-clinching (or near division-clinching) possibilities entering this week’s games.
NFL 49ers vs. Seahawks Thursday Odds by BetUs
|49ers||-3½ ( -105 )||43½ ( -110 )||-180|
|Seahawks||+3½ ( -115 )||43½ ( -110 )||+150|
Because San Francisco 49ers already beat Seattle, a win on the road Thursday night clinches the NFC West. The division lead would then be three games over the Seahawks, plus the tiebreaker.
If Seattle wins, it will extend its battle in the division, but they’ll need some help to win the West.
San Francisco has Washington, Las Vegas, and Arizona after this, while Seattle plays Kansas City, the Jets and the Rams.
Remember, none of that will matter if the 49ers get the W.
Before the season kicked off, the 49ers were paying +150 to win the NFC West. They’re now at -2500, according to NFL division odds.
NFL Colts vs. Vikings Saturday Odds by BetUs
|Colts||+4 ( -110 )||47½ ( -110 )||+175|
|Vikings||-4 ( -110 )||47½ ( -110 )||-210|
The Vikings need just one win to clinch the NFC North. This Saturday, they have a game with offensively-challenged Indianapolis. Minnesota’s also four games in front of Detroit in the NFC North, so any win by Minnesota, or loss by the Lions, give the Norsemen a first title since 2017.
That last Viking championship in the division led to a trip to the NFC title game. They lost to the Eagles. As the current NFC No. 2 seed, and with the Eagles No. 1, perhaps there’s a rematch.
A loss to Indy Saturday would then have Minny turning its attention to the Lions game with the Jets Sunday at the Meadowlands. A Jets win there will also clinch Minnesota’s title in the North.
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills Saturday Odds by BetUs
|Dolphins||+7½ ( -115 )||41½ ( -110 )||+275|
|Bills||-7½ ( -105 )||41½ ( -110 )||-345|
This was more anticipated a week ago, with the winner moving into first place in the AFC East. Miami lost twice in California (49ers and Chargers) in its last couple, so won’t draw even should it defeat Buffalo.
However, a Dolphins’ victory would give them the tiebreaker against the Bills, pulling them to within one game of first. A Buffalo win bumps the division lead to three, while splitting the season series. Buffalo then also has the best record within the AFC East.
Summarizing, a Buffalo win does clinch a playoff spot, with the division title a mere formality.
Currently, Buffalo Bills remain tepid favorites (4-1, or +400) to win the title, as per Super Bowl odds.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans Sunday Odds by BetUs
|Texans||+14 ( -110 )||49 ( -110 )||+610|
|Chiefs||-14 ( -110 )||49 ( -110 )||-860|
The Chiefs are about to wrap a seventh consecutive title in the AFC West. The worst team in the NFL is their opponent Sunday. It wasn’t pretty, but Kansas City won in Denver last Sunday, at least 10 wins eight seasons in a row. Take down the Texans and clinch the division.
A loss (to the Titans) by the homestanding Chargers would also conclude things. LA is three games behind the Chiefs in the standings, but KC has the season sweep over the Bolts.
It’s the Chiefs with games against the Seahawks, Broncos and Raiders after this. As was mentioned, the Chargers play the Titans this week, then the Colts, Rams and Broncos. Oddly, the Chargers are currently in the playoffs at No. 7, meaning a wild-card date against the Chiefs.
As has been the case, first tiebreaker used in determining division champs, wild-card berths and playoff seedings is head-to-head play during the season. That’s why the Bills have the top seed (over Kansas City) in the AFC. Should the Eagles and Vikings end with the same record, Philly would get the top seed in the NFC.
A split of the division series means record inside the division is the next factor. Teams not playing one another invoke the conference record.