NFL Playoff Picture: Primetime Results Topple Top Seeds In AFC, NFC


Here’s an updated look at the NFL playoff picture entering Week 14:

AFC
1. Baltimore Ravens (10-2; AFC North leader)
2. New England Patriots (10-2; AFC East leader)
3. Houston Texans (8-4; AFC South leader)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4; AFC West leader)
5. Buffalo Bills (9-3; first wild card)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5; second wild card)

In the hunt: Tennessee Titans (7-5), Oakland Raiders (6-6), Indianapolis Colts (6-6), Cleveland Browns (5-7)
Long shots: Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8), Denver Broncos (4-8), Los Angeles Chargers (4-8), New York Jets (4-8)
Eliminated: Miami Dolphins (3-9), Cincinnati Bengals (1-11)

NFC
1. New Orleans Saints (10-2; NFC South winner)
2. Seattle Seahawks (10-2; NFC West leader)
3. Green Bay Packers (9-3; NFC North leader)
4. Dallas Cowboys (6-6; NFC East leader)
5. San Francisco 49ers (10-2; first wild card)
6. Minnesota Vikings (8-4; second wild card)

In the hunt: Los Angeles Rams (7-5), Chicago Bears (6-6), Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
Long shots: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7), Carolina Panthers (5-7), Washington Redskins (3-9)
Eliminated: Detroit Lions (3-8-1), Arizona Cardinals (3-8-1), Atlanta Falcons (3-9), New York Giants (2-10)

Some observations:

— Sunday night’s result caused a shift at the top of the AFC standings. The Patriots fell to second place following their 28-22 loss to the Texans, and the Ravens vaulted into first after dispatching the 49ers 20-17 earlier in the day in what might have been the Game of the Year thus far.

Baltimore owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with New England, so in order to secure home-field advantage, the Patriots would need to win one more game than the Ravens over the final four weeks. If that does not happen, the road to Super Bowl LIV will run through Maryland.

Here are the remaining schedules for both teams:

Patriots: vs. Chiefs, at Bengals, vs. Bills (Saturday), vs. Jets
Ravens: at Bills, vs. Jets (Thursday night), at Browns, vs. Steelers

— The Monday night outcome was similarly impactful in the NFC, as the Seahawks beating the Vikings 34-30 knocked the Niners from the conference’s driver’s seat. If the season ended today, San Francisco would be playing on the road on wild-card weekend.

— The NFC East is a total mess. The Cowboys were embarrassed by the Bills on Thanksgiving, and the Eagles surrendered 37 points in a loss to the Dolphins. (The Dolphins!) It wouldn’t be surprising if an 8-8 team wound up winning that dumpster fire of a division.

— Speaking of the Bills, they’re not going away in the AFC East. They’re now just one game back of the Patriots and playing great football of late. We’ll see if their formidable defense can handle Lamar Jackson when they host the Ravens this Sunday.

— Sunday’s 40-9 shellacking of the Raiders was a return to form for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who’d dropped two of their previous four games and hadn’t won by more than a touchdown since mid-October. Kansas City played two wildly entertaining games against its Week 14 opponent, New England, last season.

— Keep a close eye on the Titans, who have won three straight and five of their last six since Ryan Tannehill took over starting duties from Marcus Mariota.

— The Saints became the first team to clinch their division this weekend. San Francisco’s loss bumped them up to the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

— The Dolphins, Lions, Cardinals, Falcons and Giants all were eliminated from playoff contention this week.

— Marquee games this week: 49ers at Saints, Chiefs at Patriots, Ravens at Bills.

Thumbnail photo via Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports Images

Source: NESN

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