NFL Playoff Picture: Standings & Potential Wild Card Matchups After Week 13

Antonio Brown

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown

Don’t look now, but the NFL regular season is winding down. It’s time to look ahead to the postseason, or in the case of the Browns, at a mock draft. Let’s stick with the former here, and examine the playoff landscape heading into Week 13.

As with any playoff discussion this generation, the conversation starts with the Patriots. They once again look like the team to beat in the AFC, especially after midseason defensive improvements. The Patriots have a three-game lead in the AFC East, and have home-field advantage in their sights. The only team in striking distance are the Steelers, who have lost four straight games to New England.

It looked like the Chiefs were on track to be the AFC’s alpha, but a 1-5 slide heading into Sunday has turned the conversation. The Chiefs now must be concerned with winning their own division, as the Chargers have found their stride and sit just two games back with a head-to-head scheduled.

The AFC Wild Card race is wide open, with a handful of teams still in the mix at 4-7. The Jaguars have the league’s best defense, but are the most inexperienced team among the contenders. The Chargers look like a team on the rise given recent performances, and a manageable schedule down the stretch should see the Chargers snark into the bracket.

In the NFC, clear-cut favorites set the stage for an incredible playoff bracket. The Eagles, Vikings and Rams are all playing one-seed football, but for now it’s the one-loss Eagles sitting above the rest. The Vikings demolished the Rams in Minnesota, but the Rams have otherwise looked formidable and meet the Eagles for a December test in Week 14.

The NFC Wild Card race makes me sad without Aaron Rodgers, but is still loaded with franchise quarterbacks. Carolina looks like a playoff lock at 8-3, and a healthy Cam Newton is a problem for the rest of the conference. Russel Wilson has been playing at a MVP level over the last month, but the Seahawks are so hobbled that it wouldn’t surprise me to see them fall out of the mix.

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

Here’s how the early playoff standings after the early games:

AFC Seeding

The Division Leaders:

1. New England Patriots — 10-2
2. Pittsburgh Steelers — 10-2
3. Tennessee Titans — 8-4
4. Kansas City Chiefs — 6-6

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. Jacksonville Jaguars — 8-4
6. Baltimore Ravens — 7-5
7. Buffalo Bills — 6-6
8. Chargers and Raiders — 6-6

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Ravens at Chiefs

Jaguars at Titans

NFC Seeding

The Division Leaders:

1. Minnesota Vikings — 10-2
2. Philadelphia Eagles — 10-2
3. Los Angeles Rams — 9-3
4. New Orleans Saints — 9-3

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. Carolina Panthers — 8-4
6. Seattle Seahawks — 8-4
7. Atlanta Falcons — 7-5
8. Detroit Lions — 6-6

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Panthers at Saints

Seahawks at Rams

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