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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Buffalo Bills

With a loss…
-Pittsburgh Steelers loss or tie to Baltimore Ravens OR
-Jacksonville Jaguars loss or tie to Tennessee Titans OR
-Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans tie

Unlike the Jaguars and the Steelers, the Bills have some leeway with a loss; they don’t need a list of other results to all go in their direction. They simply need one of three things to happen.

The reason why the Bills haven’t already clinched is because they are lacking when it comes to owning tiebreakers. If both the Steelers and Bills finish 10-7, the Steelers would own a better AFC record (7-5 vs. 6-6).

If the Jaguars beat the Titans and thus win the AFC South, that would set up the winner of the Colts vs. Texans game to be a 10-7 Wild Card team as well. The Colts’ AFC record would be 8-4, while the Texans’ would be 7-5, both better than that of the Bills.

So a Steelers loss or tie, a Jaguars loss or tie, or a Colts vs. Texans tie would send the Bills to the playoffs even before their Week 18 AFC East championship showdown against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night.

Of the four teams on this list, the Bills have by far the best chance of getting into the playoffs with a loss in Week 18, with ESPN FPI calculating that possibility at over 85% -- only around 8% lower than their overall chance entering the week. The Jaguars are next highest, all the way down at just under 43%.