Three NFL teams could be eliminated from playoff contention in Week 12 and here's what has to happen

When it comes to the NFL playoffs, there has only been one team officially eliminated from contention through the first 11 weeks of the season, and in news that probably won't surprise you, that team is the Cincinnati Bengals

Although the Bengals are currently the only team that has no shot of reaching the playoffs, they could have some company after this week's slate of games, and that's because there are a total of three teams that could be eliminated from playoff contention in Week 12. 

So which three teams could see their postseason dreams die on Sunday (even though they probably technically died way earlier this season)? That would be the Buccaneers, Giants and Redskins

The biggest winner of Week 12 could end up being the Dallas Cowboys, and that's because they could end up playing a hand in eliminating two of their NFC East rivals. 

To find out how each team could be eliminated, let's take a look at the scenarios, starting with the 1-9 Redskins. 

For Washington to get knocked out, one of two things has to happen: If the Redskins lose to the Lions on Sunday, they'll officially be out of the playoff race. The Redskins could also be knocked out if they beat the Lions, but that can only happen if the Cowboys beat the Patriots

On the Giants' end, two things have to happen for New York to be eliminated this week: The 2-8 Giants have to lose to the Bears in Chicago AND the Cowboys have to win. This means that the Giants could lose and still stay alive in the playoff race as long as the Cowboys also lose. 

As for Tampa Bay, things are a bit more complicated for the 3-7 Buccaneers. For Tampa to get knocked out this week, four things would have to happen: The Bucs would have to lose to the Falcons, the Lions would have to lose to the Redskins, the Packers would have to win or tie against the 49ers, plus the Seahawks would have to win or tie against the Eagles. If just one of those things doesn't happen, then the Bucs will survive for at least one more week. 

For all three teams to get eliminated, two things would have to happen -- the Redskins beat the Lions and the Cowboys beat the Patriots (the Redskins would be eliminated in this situation due to the Cowboys winning) -- along with everything else listed above. 

For a more in-depth look at the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 12, be sure to click here. For a look at the 12 teams that we're projecting to make the playoffs, make sure to click here. Finally, you can click here for an updated look at the NFL standings and the current playoff seeds. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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