2019 NFL Playoff Picture Bracket, News, and Notes
You only LIV once. That was terrible, I’m sorry.
The postseason is near, meaning the 2019 NFL playoff picture is upon us. Which teams would be in the field right now?
If, based on the last few playoffs, you said “the New England Patriots,” you are correct. Depending on the day and who north and east of Meriden, Connecticut you ask, the Pats have had their struggles but Brady and Belichick will get it done. There are 31 teams trying to stop them, but aren’t there always?
Depending on who you ask in the rest of the United States, including discontiguous Alaska and Hawaii, the Pats are NOT the best team this year. You can see for yourself in the NFL playoff picture, updated weekly until the start of the playoffs in January 2020.
Twelve teams will fight their way into the playoffs, but just one will hold the Lombardi Trophy on February 2. If it were the Pats, how fitting that this Super Bowl is to be played on Groundhog Day. It’s a good movie; you should watch it.
2019 NFL Playoff Picture: Current Bracket
December 10 Playoff Picture
San Francisco and Baltimore lead the NFC and AFC, respectively, in what would be a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII if they both get there. Both teams are upstarts led by relatively inexperienced starting quarterbacks.
On the NFC side, you have Dallas sticking out like a sore thumb; the winner of the NFC East will get a home game, but that will hardly cover the stench of their win-loss record. Should Dallas or Philadelphia escape Wild Card Weekend, how far is an 8-8 team going to go, anyway? The Rams are 8-5 and they sit out behind the wild cards, while 9-4 is what it takes to get one in that conference.
Meanwhile, in the AFC, the worst playoff teams are 8-5. Tennessee is the only other contender at this point at 8-5 but tie-breakered out, while the Browns, Raiders, and Colts are below .500 and not threatening yet.
December 17 Playoff Picture
Teams in the hunt:
AFC Tennessee (8-6), Cleveland (6-8), Oakland (6-8)
NFC Los Angeles (8-6), Philadelphia (7-7)
The irony is that the Eagles at 7-7 have a better chance of making the playoffs than the Rams (8-6) because of how terrible the NFC East is. Buffalo catching and overtaking New England for the AFC East title is nothing more than an Orchard Park fever dream, but the fact that New England hasn’t clinched the division yet on December 17 is surprising in and of itself.
December 27 Playoff Picture
This is the situation entering Week 17, the final Sunday of the NFL regular season:
Just one playoff berth in each conference remains outstanding. In the NFC, San Francisco, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, and Minnesota have made the playoffs. As for the AFC, you will see Baltimore, New England, Kansas City, Houston, and Buffalo in the January postseason.
Baltimore has clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. No other team in the NFL has clinched a bye yet. The AFC’s second bye will be either New England or Kansas City’s; the Pats clinch it with a win, while the Chiefs have the tiebreaker over New England should they catch them in Week 17. If the Patriots fall to the number three seed, it would be their first game on Wild Card Weekend since the 2009 season.
Dallas is the only non-playoff team mathematically alive in the NFC, with their sole path being the NFC East. They need to beat the Redskins and then hope the Giants defeat the Eagles.
Both Pittsburgh and Oakland are alive for the sixth seed, occupied by Tennessee. The Titans are in with a win. Pittsburgh gets in with a win and a Titans loss, among several ways. Finally, the Raiders can make it as an 8-8 wild card, but they need to win and hope many bad things happen to the other two teams, but that’s not all. The amount of help the Raiders need in order to make the playoffs would be the football equivalent of running a three-minute mile.