Sixteen weeks of the NFL season is in the books and the playoff picture is becoming clearer by the second.
While many teams have known for a long time, they weren’t going to make it into the postseason tournament, some teams are still trying to grab that last spot or to secure their position to prepare for a run at the Super Bowl.
Seven Teams in Each Conference for the First Time
The only thing better than the former playoff scenario is to add more teams and make it more compelling. In previous years, there were six teams from each NFL converse that made it into the playoffs, but the 2020 season gives us seven. Instead of the top two teams in each conference earning a bye week to start the playoff round, only the top-seeded team will receive this benefit, which makes for more drama and interest in the NFL playoff picture.
The AFC Standings
The top three teams in the AFC are set with the Kansas City Chiefslocking up the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills also have clinched their respective divisions and might change spots but are the second and third-seeded teams overall. The real interest for the AFC begins at the fourth seed.
Tennessee Titans Should be Division Winners
The AFC South features the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts, which are both vying for position in the playoffs. After losing to the Packers in Week 16, the Titans are still in the driver’s seat to win the division. This can happen with a win over the Houston Texans in Week 17 or with a loss by the Ravens, Colts, or Dolphins.
Several Teams Still in the Hunt
The three wild card spots in the AFC aren’t clear at all in regard to the NFL playoff picture. The Miami Dolphins can make the playoffs with a Week 17 win over the Bills, or a loss by the Ravens, Browns, or Colts. The Baltimore Ravens can secure a spot in the playoffs by beating the Bengals but could also get in if the Browns or Colts lose. The Cleveland Browns are in a similar position and can clinch a playoff spot if they beat the Steelers in Week 17. They can also secure a spot if the Colts lose or the Titans lose and the Ravens, Colts, and Dolphins all win.
Currently, the Indianapolis Colts are on the outside looking in but could still make the playoffs. They first need to win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and then need a loss by either the Titans, Ravens, Browns, or Dolphins. A win and a Titans loss will give the Colts the fourth seed and the AFC South division title.
Looking to the NFC at a Muddled NFL Playoff Picture
The Green Bay Packers hold the current top position and have won their division, thus ensuring a home game in the playoffs. The Packers can secure home-field advantage throughout with a win over the Bears or a Seattle Seahawks loss to the San Francisco 49ers. If the Packers lose and the Seahawks win, Seattle will hold the top seed.
Stories for the Second and Third Seeds to Move to the Top Spot
Both the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks have a chance at the top spot in the NFC if the Packers lose and they win. The Saints would need the Packers to lose and the Seahawks to win to secure the top spot as long as the Saints also win. The Seahawks would need the Packers and Saints to lose while winning their game.
Remaining NFL Playoff Picture Scenarios
The NFC is extremely interesting when it comes to the playoffs. There could be a lot of drama or none at all. The NFC East is still up for grabs and even though this division has been the worst in the history of the NFL, one of these teams has to win it. Currently, the Washington Football Team is in the driver’s seat and will be in the playoffs with a win over the Eagles. If they lose, however, the winner of the Giants and Cowboys game will be the division winner and in the playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have secured a spot among the wild card teams, which means no drama for that team. The Los Angeles Rams can secure a spot as a wild card by winning in Week 17 against the Cardinals, but if they lose and the Chicago Bears win, they will be out of the picture.
The Chicago Bears need a little help to get into the playoffs and can secure a spot with a win over the Packers or a Cardinals loss to the Rams. The Arizona Cardinals can also make the playoffs by beating the Rams in Week 17.
The NFL playoff picture sets up a lot of drama going into the final week of the season, which is perfect for avid NFL fans.