ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 24: Eddie Royal #19 of the Denver Broncos runs back a kickoff against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 40-14. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
If the Denver Broncos win, they're in. For the Oakland Raiders, it's not quite as easy.
With the Denver Broncos losing in Week 16 to the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders narrowly defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, both teams sit tied atop the AFC West at 8-7 heading into the season's final week. With the Broncos taking on the Chiefs, and the Raiders hosting the Chargers, a few different playoff scenarios are in play. Let's take a look at what would happen, or might happen, based on all four potential outcomes of next week's games involving the Broncos and Raiders.
Broncos win, Raiders lose:
The Broncos would be in the playoffs as AFC West champions, and the Raiders would be going home at 8-8.
Broncos win, Raiders win:
If Denver wins, they're in the playoffs as AFC West champions on account of holding the tiebreaker over Oakland. If Oakland also won, they'd still be in position at 9-7 to snag the last AFC Wild Card. According to Pro Football Talk, in order to grab that final Wild Card spot, the Raiders would need a win and Bengals and Titans losses, or a win and a Bengals loss and Jets victory. Crazier things have happened.
Broncos lose, Raiders win:
Oakland would be in as AFC West Champions, and the Broncos would be out at 8-8.
Broncos lose, Raiders lose:
Denver would sneak in as AFC West Champions at 8-8, thanks to the tiebreaker they hold over Oakland. The Raiders would miss the playoffs at 8-8.