So far this season, only one team has clinched its place in any division: The Saints, who have clinched first place in the NFC South. But this week, in addition to six teams having a chance to clinch the playoffs, four teams have a chance to clinch last place in their respective divisions.
Those four teams are the Bengals, Jaguars, Lions and Cardinals.
The 1-11 Bengals would clinch last place in the AFC North with a loss to the Browns. If the Bengals lose, the best they can finish is 4-12, and in that scenario every other team in the AFC North would have at least six wins.
The 4-8 Jaguars would clinch last place in the AFC South if they lose to the Chargers and the Colts and Titans both win. In that scenario, the Jaguars would have nine losses, and although it would still be possible for the Jaguars to finish tied with the Colts at 7-9, the Jaguars would lose a tiebreaker because the teams split their head-to-head meetings, and the Colts have clinched a better division record.
The 3-8-1 Lions would clinch last place in the NFC North with a loss to the Vikings. With a loss, the Lions could finish this season no better than 6-9-1. Everyone else in the NFC North already has at least seven wins.
The 3-8-1 Cardinals would clinch last place in the NFC West with a loss to the Steelers. With a loss, the Cardinals could finish this season no better than 6-9-1. Everyone else in the NFC West already has at least seven wins.
Finishing in last place guarantees a last-place schedule, which in theory ought to give those teams a decent chance to get out of the cellar next year. Unfortunately, the Bengals, Jaguars, Lions and Cardinals all finished in last place last year, too. The last-place schedule didn’t help them this year.