NFL Playoffs: 4 teams can clinch even with a Week 18 loss

Four teams vying for playoff spots have a chance to lose and still get into this year’s playoffs, including one that isn’t currently in a playoff position.

Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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Pittsburgh Steelers

With a loss…

-Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans non-tie
-Jacksonville Jaguars loss to Tennessee Titans
-Las Vegas Raiders loss to Denver Broncos

This is the most compelling scenario since the Steelers are actually seeded at No. 9 right now, so the fact that they can go from the outside looking in all the way up to the No. 7 seed – with a loss – is somewhat crazy.

This is basically the same scenario as the Jaguars’ scenario, but the Steelers would need the Broncos to create a three-way tie so that the tiebreaker would become strength of victory (as opposed to a head-to-head loss to the Jags). The tiebreaker would become strength of victory since all three teams would have 6-6 AFC records.

Again, even at 9-8, neither the Bengals nor the loser of the Colts vs. Texans game would pose a threat here, since a division cannot send a team to the playoffs that finishes behind a non-playoff team in the same division. Divisional tiebreakers trump all when it comes to multi-team Wild Card logjams, so these teams would not even be considered.