How Far Do NFL Teams Advance After Clinching Playoffs In Final Week?

How Far Do NFL Teams Advance After Clinching Playoffs In Final Week?
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Vikings put themselves in a tough spot with last week’s loss at home against the Packers. Minnesota enters the final week of the NFL regular season at 7-9 and not only must win to stay in playoff contention but also needs some help from elsewhere.

You can track Minnesota Vikings playoff chances going into the final weekend with us at – Sunday’s game against the Lions is at noon Central on Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit. The Vikings situation got us thinking: How do teams do when they clinch a playoff spot in the final week of the season?

So we turned to the Champs or Chumps website to look at how teams ended up performing after clinching a playoff spot in the last week of the season since 2013 NFL season. In those 10 seasons, 29 teams have clinched a playoff spot in the last week. Before 2021, the data refers to Week 17.

As part of our Minnesota sports betting coverage, here are our results:

Performance of Teams Clinching in Last Week

SituationNumber of Teams Percentage
Winning Wild Card Round15 of 2951.7%
Winning Divisional Round2 of 296.9%
Winning Conference Championship0 of 290.0%
Winning Super Bowl0 of 290.0%

As you can see, according to the research, the excitement of clinching a playoff berth in the final week of the season is quickly tempered by the reality that a long postseason run does not ensue for these teams, at least not in the past 10 years.

Of the 29 teams that sewed up a postseason berth in the season’s final week, none of them had a first-round bye. A bit more than half (15, or 51.7%) won their game in the wild card round, but only two won in the division round. Neither of those teams won the conference championship. It makes sense; these teams would pretty much always be on the road in the first round or certainly by the second round, and would be facing better teams.

Minnesota Vikings Playoff Chances

There are no legal Minnesota sportsbook apps where folks can bet on this weekend’s action. If there were, the Vikings would have very long playoff odds indeed. CBS Sports analysis gives Minnesota a 1.5% chance of making the postseason. Caesars Sportsbook has the Vikings as a 3.5-point underdog against the Lions, who have clinched the NFC North division title.

Coach Kevin O’Connell’s team must win on Sunday at Detroit, then they must have Green Bay lose to Chicago and Seattle lose against Arizona. Even after that, the Vikings also need a loss by either Tampa Bay (against Carolina) or New Orleans (against Atlanta) to reach the postseason.

If the very longest of longshots comes in, you can check the latest Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl odds with us at



Jim Tomlin
Contributing Editor

Jim Tomlin is a contributing editor for Jim has 30-plus years of experience writing and editing stories about sports, gambling and the intersection of those two industries. He has worked at the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturday Down South and Saturday Tradition and now lends his expertise to, among other sites.