NFL teams to clinch playoff spot: Updated 2023 playoff bracket with 49ers, Cowboys clinching in Week 15

There are just four weeks to go in the 2023 NFL season and the league’s playoff race is starting to heat up in a big way.

The AFC and NFC playoff races are expected to be tightly packed to close the regular season. Entering Week 15, there were 11 AFC teams within at least one game of a playoff berth with records of 7-6. The same was true in the NFC, where 11 teams had records of at least 6-7 and were, at most, one game out of a playoff berth.

It will be hard to project exactly who will make the playoffs in each conference because of the crowded nature of the field. Still, several teams will have clinching opportunities over the next month, and one postseason berth has already been clinched.

The 49ers are postseason-bound and have been since the Packers lost to the Giants on “Monday Night Football” in Week 14. Now, they are jockeying for position in the NFC playoff race and have the inside track to the No. 1 seed.

MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture for Week 15

The 49ers can clinch their division in Week 15 while several other teams may also be able to join them as playoff-bound. Here’s everything to know about the NFL teams that have clinched playoff spots so far.

NFL teams to clinch playoff spot

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles

The 49ers entered play on Sunday as the only team that had clinched a playoff berth. They did so after beating the Seahawks in Week 14 and seeing the Giants upset the Packers on “Monday Night Football.” But by winning against the Cardinals, they also clinched the NFC West, becoming the first NFL team to wrap up its division in 2023.

The Cowboys became the second team to guarantee passage to the postseason after the Panthers beat the Falcons 9-7. The Cowboys are still battling to clinch the NFC East and the conference’s No. 1 seed, but they have at least put themselves into the playoffs with a month left in the 2023 season.

The Eagles also managed to backdoor their way into the playoffs. They did so by virtue of the Falcons’ loss to the Panthers and the 49ers’ win over the Cardinals. Now, they can focus on trying to win Monday night to take control of the NFC East after the Cowboys lost to the Bills. 

Who could clinch a playoff spot in Week 15?

Two other teams could clinch playoff spots in Week 15. They are as follows:

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Detroit Lions

The Ravens need only to win on “Sunday Night Football” against the Jaguars to qualify for the postseason. They had several clinching scenarios entering the week, but losses by the Broncos and Steelers on Saturday set them up with a win-and-in scenario.

As for the Lions, they have already won in Week 15, so now, they just need some help to get in. A loss by the Seahawks on Monday would be the simplest way for them to qualify for the postseason.

To see all of the NFL clinching scenarios in NFL Week 15, click here.

MORE: Why certain NFL players have green dots on their helmet

Projected NFL playoff bracket 2023

Below is a look at the NFL’s projected playoff bracket as it stands in Week 15. This will be updated as the week’s results are finalized.


1. Baltimore Ravens (BYE)
2. Miami Dolphins vs. 7. Indianapolis Colts
3. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 6. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. 5. Cleveland Browns


1. San Francisco 49ers (BYE)
2. Philadelphia Eagles vs. 7. New Orleans Saints
3. Detroit Lions vs. 6. Minnesota Vikings
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. 5. Dallas Cowboys

Updated NFL playoff picture

Here’s how the standings in both conferences break down entering Week 15, along with the other teams that are still in the playoff hunt. 

Rank Team Record Clinched
1 Ravens 10-3 N/a
2 Dolphins 10-4 N/a
3 Chiefs 9-5 N/a
4 Jaguars 8-5 N/a
5 Browns 9-5 N/a
6 Bengals 8-6 N/a
7 Colts 8-6 N/a

In the hunt: Texans (8-6), Bills (7-6), Steelers (7-7), Broncos (7-7), Raiders (6-8), Chargers (5-9)

Rank Team Record Clinched
1 49ers 11-3 NFC West champions
2 Eagles 10-3 Playoff berth
3 Lions 10-4 N/a
4 Buccaneers 7-7 N/a
5 Cowboys 10-4 Playoff berth
6 Vikings 7-7 N/a
7 Rams 7-7 N/a

In the hunt: Saints (7-7), Seahawks (6-7), Falcons (6-8), Packers (6-8), Giants (5-9), Bears (5-9)


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