Things are heating up in the NFL playoff race in both the AFC and NFC. The top six teams in each conference will make the postseason. The division winners automatically clinch a playoff spot, leaving two Wild Card positions in each conference.
Football Outsiders has detailed projections of each team’s playoff chances. The projections give the current top six teams in each conference the best chance to make the playoffs, but there are plenty of teams within striking distance.
There were a number of Week 14 matchups that had playoff implications. The Cowboys needed an overtime touchdown to hold off the Eagles and extend their lead in the NFC East. The Amari Cooper trade continues to pay dividends for the Cowboys. Cooper finished with 10 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including the TD that won the game.
New Orleans and Kansas City were the latest teams to clinch playoff births. The Rams, Saints and Chiefs are the only teams that have clinched a playoff spot leaving 9 of the 12 positions up for grabs. While they have not officially secured a postseason spot, the Texans and Patriots both sit in a great position to be the next in line to punch their ticket despite upset losses in Week 14.
The Chargers now have the second-best record in the AFC but still remain at No. 5 because they are a game back from the Chiefs in the AFC West. The three other division leaders are seeded ahead of the Chargers despite having an inferior record.
“We’re in a position right now that we feel good about,” Rams coach Sean McVay told the Times Union after clinching a playoff birth. “If we take care of our business, all the rest of that stuff takes care of itself.”
If the Bears are able to hold onto a win against the Rams, Chicago will continue to control the No. 3 seed in the NFC, keeping a potential bye within reach albeit improbable. With a loss, the Rams would be tied with the Saints for the No. 1 seed.
Here’s a look at the latest NFL playoff standings in both the AFC and NFC. Teams in bold would make the playoffs if the postseason started today. Teams in italics have clinched their spot. We will continue to update the playoff picture as the Week 14 games go final.
NFC Playoff Standings
|1. New Orleans Saints||11||2||0|
|2. L.A. Rams||11||2||0|
|3. Chicago Bears||9||4||0|
|4. Dallas Cowboys||8||5||0|
|5. Seattle Seahawks||7||5||0|
|6. Minnesota Vikings||6||5||1|
|7. Philadelphia Eagles||6||7||0|
|8. Washington Redskins||6||7||0|
|9. Carolina Panthers||6||7||0|
|10. Green Bay Packers||5||7||1|
|11. New York Giants||5||8||0|
|12. Tampa Bay Bucs||5||8||0|
|13. Detroit Lions||5||8||0|
|14. Atlanta Falcons||4||9||0|
|15. Arizona Cardinals||3||10||0|
|16. San Francisco 49ers||3||10||0|
NFC Playoff Matchups Based on Current Standings
No. 1 New Orleans Saints (Bye)
No. 2 Los Angeles Rams (Bye)
No. 6 Minnesota Vikings vs. No. 3 Chicago Bears
No. 5 Seattle Seahawks vs. No. 4 Dallas Cowboys
AFC Playoff Standings
|1. Kansas City Chiefs||11||2||0|
|2. New England Patriots||9||4||0|
|3. Houston Texans||9||4||0|
|4. Pittsburgh Steelers||7||5||1|
|5. L.A. Chargers||10||3||0|
|6. Baltimore Ravens||7||6||0|
|7. Miami Dolphins||7||6||0|
|8. Indianapolis Colts||7||6||0|
|9. Tennessee Titans||7||6||0|
|10. Denver Broncos||6||7||0|
|11. Cleveland Browns||5||7||1|
|12. Cincinnati Bengals||5||8||0|
|13. Buffalo Bills||4||9||0|
|14. New York Jets||4||9||0|
|15. Jacksonville Jaguars||3||10||0|
|16. Oakland Raiders||3||10||0|
AFC Playoff Matchups Based on Current Standings
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (Bye)
No. 2 New England Patriots (Bye)
No. 6 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 3 Houston Texans
No. 5 L.A. Chargers vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh Steelers