Updated NFL Playoff Picture: Seeds, Scenarios, & Potential Matchups 2015

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A last-second Hail Mary on Thursday could jumpstart the Packers down the stretch. (Getty)

Week 12 has provided excitement from wire-to-wire so far, starting with Thursday night and culminating thus far with Cam Newton and Drew Brees dueling in the Superdome.

There was a major shakeup in the AFC bracket, as a second consecutive Patriots loss has sent them tumbling. New England is now positioned for the three seed, due to a head-to-head loss to Denver and a worse conference record than Cincinnati. The Bengals are now the number one seed. The New York Jets find themselves sneaking into the postseason tonight, following a comeback win today against the rival Giants. The win was boosted by a loss from the Texans, who were bested in Buffalo on a late Tyrod Taylor TD.

In the NFC, Green Bay’s miracle win over Detroit gave them important footing in the NFC North. The Packers have the head-to-head advantage over the Vikings, and now move into sole possession of first place after Minnesota’s loss to Seattle. The teams play again in Week 17. Tampa Bay has also vaulted itself into relevance, as they improve to 3-1 in the division after completing the season sweep of the Falcons. They now control the tiebreaker over Atlanta, and are just one game back of Seattle for the final NFC Wild Card spot.

The NFL’s playoff format gives the top two seeds in each conference bye weeks. The remaining teams are then matched up 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5. After the first round, the bracket is re-seeded so that the top seed in each conference is matchup up with the lowest remaining seed.

For a full list of NFL tiebreaking procedures, click here.

Here’s how the playoff standings look right now:

AFC Seeding

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The Patriots are battling injuries, but could clinch the AFC East by day’s end. (Getty)

The Division Leaders:

1. Cincinnati Bengals — 10-2
2. Denver Broncos — 10-2
3. New England Patriots — 10-2
4. Indianapolis Colts — 6-6

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. New York Jets — 7-5
6. Kansas City Chiefs — 7-5
7. Pittsburgh Steelers — 7-5
8. Houston Texans — 6-6


– Colts have tie break over Houston based on head-to-head

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Chiefs at Patriots

Jets at Colts

NFC Seeding

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A healthy Carson Palmer has the Cardinals ready to go deep into the postseason. (Getty)

The Division Leaders:

1. Carolina Panthers — 12-0 — clinched NFC South
2. Arizona Cardinals — 10-2
3. Minnesota Vikings — 8-4
4. Washington Redskins — 5-6

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. Green Bay Packers — 8-4
6. Seattle Seahawks — 7-5
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 6-6
8. Atlanta Falcons — 6-6


– Buccaneers have tie break over Atlanta based on head-to-head, have tie break over both NY Giants and Bears based on win percentage in conference games.

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Seahawks at Vikings

Packers at Redskins

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