The 2023 NFL regular season has one month remaining and teams are closing in on clinching playoff spots. But, this season is as close as any I can remember, with no teams truly getting a big lead on the competition. As Week 14 is wrapping up, we have only two teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention. Through 14 games, we have four teams with 10 wins and four losses and 11 teams with 7 or 8 wins. There will be plenty of teams fighting for a playoff ticket this season.
Below is each team that has clinched a berth into the 2023 playoffs.
Los Angeles Rams, 9-7
When clinched: Week 17, the Rams beat the New York Giants, and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks.
How they clinched: Kyren Williams put the team on his back and finished with 20 carries for 87 yards and three touchdowns. Puka Nacua had a great game, bringing in five of his eight targets for 118 yards, and Los Angeles was able to fend off a late comeback attempt from New York’s Tyrod Taylor. The Rams needed the Steelers to beat Seattle to officially clinch, and Pittsburgh delivered with the 30-23 win.
Cleveland Browns, 11-5
When clinched: Week 17, Browns beat Jets 37-20. They have clinched a playoff berth and are still in play for the AFC North.
How they clinched: Joe Flacco continued his campaign for Comeback Player of the Year. He torched the stout New York defense for 309 passing yards as Cleveland scored 34 points in the first half. They struggled coming out of halftime but held on for the win. They will finish the season against the Cincinnati Bengals and need the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers over the last two weeks to clinch the division title.
Miami Dolphins, 11-4
When clinched: Week 16, Dolphins beat Cowboys 22-20. They have clinched a playoff berth but have not yet locked down the AFC East.
How they clinched: Miami’s losing streak against teams with a winning record has come to an end with its win over Dallas. Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill brought in nine of his 14 targets for 99 yards to lead the team. Tua Tagovailoa finished 24-of-37 for 293 yards with a touchdown. Kicker Jason Sanders was the game MVP, connecting on five field goals, including the game-winning 29-yarder as time expired.
Detroit Lions, 11-4
When clinched: Week 16, Lions beat Vikings 30-24. They clinched both a playoff berth and their first NFC North division title since 1993.
How they clinched: Despite the Vikings having Nick Mullens under center and both Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson ruled out early, this game wasn’t clinched until late. The Lions went into halftime up 17-14, but Minnesota scored coming out of half to go up 21-17. Detroit scored back-to-back touchdowns to re-take the 30-21 lead. Mullens threw his fourth interception of the day late in the fourth so Detroit kneeled the game out with less than a minute to go. Jahmyr Gibbs finished with two touchdowns, David Montgomery added another on the ground, and Amon-Ra St. Brown came down with a receiving touchdown in the win.
San Francisco 49ers, 10-3
How they clinched: Brock Purdy and the 49ers offense have been unstoppable, as Purdy is on pace to break the 49ers passing yards record. He also leads the league in passer rating, completion rate, yards per attempt, TD to interception ratio, and is near the top across the board in the stats department. He of course has had plenty of help from an all star team of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle along with a top defensive unit. They are the favorite to win the Super Bowl and for good reason, as they’ve demolished the top contenders, Dallas and Philadelphia.
Dallas Cowboys, 10-3
How they clinched: The Cowboys have been in the mix as a top NFC contender for the entire season, but really hit the gas following their Week 9 loss to the Eagles. Dak Prescott has emerged as a top candidate for MVP while CeeDee Lamb has been putting up game-breaking performances at receiver. Meanwhile, Micah Parsons is a prime Defensive Player of the Year candidate, making Dallas one of the most well rounded teams in the entire league.
Baltimore Ravens, 11-3
When clinched: Week 15, the Ravens clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Jaguars
How they clinched: The Ravens started the season 3-2, and have gone 8-1 since then. Despite losing RB JK Dobbins early in the season, Baltimore has figured out a dependable rushing rotation, and has leaned on quarterback Lamar Jackson to do the rest. Jackson, a contender for this year’s MVP award, has been heavily targeting rookie Zay Flowers, who the Ravens picked up in the first round of the 2023 draft. Jackson leads the team in rushing yards.
Philadelphia Eagles, 10-3
When clinched: Week 15, the Ravens clinched a playoff spot with 49ers and Lions wins, Packers and Falcons losses
How they clinched: The Eagles dominated for the first half of the season, with a bizarre loss to the Jets serving as the only blemish on their record as they headed into December. The month hasn’t started well for them, with losses to the 49ers and Cowboys now on their record. They have wins over the Dolphins, Cowboys, and Bills. AJ Brown already has over 1,200 receiving yards from the hands of Jalen Hurts this season, and Devonta Smith recently surpassed the 900-yard mark.