The 2023 NFL season is quickly passing us by. For almost every NFL team, five games are remaining in the regular season. Despite having so many games remaining, three teams can potentially clinch playoff spots after their Week 14 games.
What three teams can clinch these spots? What has to happen for each of these teams? Let’s take a look.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)
The Philadelphia Eagles have perhaps the easiest road to clinching a playoff spot after Week 14. Despite their humiliating 42-19 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, they still have the best record in the NFL. Because of this, there are very realistic scenarios where they can clinch the playoffs by the end of next week.
Obviously, they need to win their game on the road against the Dallas Cowboys. This can admittedly be a task easier said than done. However, if they succeed, the Eagles do not need much else to happen.
The most straightforward scenario involves the Seattle Seahawks or Los Angeles Rams not winning their games this week. They play the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens respectively. Given their opponents are two of the best teams in the NFL, Philadelphia can likely lock up a playoff spot with a win next week.
If both of those teams somehow win, there is another way the Eagles can clinch with a win. That involves the Green Bay Packers losing. Philadelphia would need that to happen along with either a Minnesota Vikings or Detroit Lions loss.
2. San Francisco 49ers (9-3)
The 49ers are another team with a rather simple path to clinching a playoff spot. First, they must win at home against the Seahawks on Sunday. Given the result of their previous meeting and the fact they are more than 10-point favorites, this looks pretty feasible.
If San Francisco can win their game, they only need one of two things to happen. Assuming one of the Minnesota Vikings or Green Bay Packers lose their road games in Week 14, the 49ers can clinch their playoff spot. These teams play the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants respectively.
3. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)
Finally, we have America’s Team. Believe it or not, the Cowboys can already clinch a playoff spot despite not leading their division at the time of writing. However, they can change that quickly with a win over their rival Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys have several things attached to a division win for them to clinch by the end of Week 14. They need the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to lose in all scenarios. Plus, they strangely need the Detroit Lions to win or tie in all scenarios.
Then, Dallas needs one more thing to happen. That likely involves either a Tampa Bay tie, a Los Angeles Rams loss, or a New Orleans Saints loss.
Admittedly, the Cowboys are the least likely to clinch the playoffs next week, given everything they need to have happen. However, the fact that it is possible at this stage says a lot about Dallas, along with the rest of the NFC.