How every NFL team still in the hunt can make the playoffs this week

The NFL Playoff Picture will be finalized by the end of Sunday's games. In the meantime, there are still plenty of teams in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

The NFL Playoff Picture is starting to come into focus following two crucial results on Saturday, including the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Baltimore Ravens to stay alive, the the Houston Texans victory against the Indianapolis Colts to clinch a postseason spot.

Houston's win puts them in the field, while they could possible clinch the division with a Jaguars loss to the Titans on Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, needs to root for the Titans win over Jacksonville, or for the Dolphins to beat with Buffalo Bills in Miami.

Entering Sunday's games, there are still nine teams which haven't clinched a spot in the field. Here's how each can achieve just that.

How can the Steelers make the playoffs?

The Pittsburgh Steelers can make the playoffs with some help. Following their victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday afternoon, Pittsburgh needed a Texans-Colts tie (which did not occur), a Jaguars loss to the Titans on Sunday, or a Bills loss to the Dolphins on Sunday night football. The latter two of those results are still a possibility, with the Buffalo-Miami game seemingly a toss-up at this juncture with the AFC East on the line.

How can the Bills make the playoffs?

The Buffalo Bills easiest path to the playoffs is the one I will highlight here -- win and you're in. Buffalo's odds looked slim just a few short weeks ago, but Josh Allen has turned his season around and limited his turnover output. Sean McDermott's team has rallied around him, as the Bills head coach was on the hot seat earlier this season. A win over Miami would put the Bills in the field and clinch the AFC East.

How can the Jaguars make the playoffs?

If the Jaguars defeat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, they will make the playoffs and win the AFC South. The Texans and Colts applied some late-season pressure on Trevor Lawrence and Co., but the Jags have not played good football of late. Mike Vrabel and the Titans have something to prove, even though there isn't much to gain in victory this time around. Vrabel needs to prove to his bosses that he should remain the head coach long term.

How can the Buccaneers make the playoffs?

The easiest path forward for the Buccaneers would be to defeat the lowly Carolina Panthers -- who have virtually nothing to play for but what little pride they have left -- and clinch the NFC South in the process. While far from the most challenging division, an NFC South title will gift the Buccaneers a home playoff game against the top Wild Card team.

How can the Packers make the playoffs?

Like the Bucs, the Green Bay Packers can make the postseason if they defeat the rival Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon. For the Bears, the aspect of knocking their longtime rival out of the playoffs is an appetizing one. Also, Chicago has the Panthers No. 1 pick, which is slated to be first overall next April, so they have little reason to lose minus a talent deficiency on the field.

How can the Seahawks make the playoffs?

The easiest way for the Seahawks to make the playoffs is a win over the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately for Seattle, a loss to Pittsburgh last week means they will need some help to make the field. Along with their victory, they need the Packers to lose or tie the Chicago Bears. If the Seahawks were to tie against the Cardinals, then matters would get tricky. They would need the combination of a Packers loss or tie with a Saints or Buccaneers loss or tie.

How can the Saints make the playoffs?

The Saints can make the playoffs in one of two ways. First, they could defeat or tie the Falcons on Sunday while the Buccaneers would have to lose to the Panthers. New Orleans would then win the NFC South. New Orleans could clinch a wild card spot even if the Bucs defeat the Panthers, but it gets a little complicated. First Green Bay must lose to Chicago. Second, Seattle must lose to Arizona.

How can the Vikings make the playoffs?

The Vikings lost to the Packers last week, yet somehow still have a chance to make the NFL Playoffs. To make a surprising postseason appearance, Minnesota must defeat the Lions on Sunday. They also need the Bears to beat the Packers so they can finish second in the NFC North. In the same early window, the Falcons or Panthers must defeat one of the Saints or Buccaneers. Lastly, the Cardinals need to beat the Seahawks. That's a mouthful.

How can the Falcons make the playoffs?

The Falcons path to the playoffs is surprisingly easy to comprehend. Thanks to divisional standings and tiebreakers, the best and only way for Atlanta to make the postseason is by winning the NFC South. In order to achieve that, the Carolina Panthers must beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which would shock the football world. Beyond that, they will need a win over the New Orleans Saints.