The NFL playoff picture on The Bracket Yard. Which teams get on the road to the Super Bowl? Updated as frequently as possible.
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NFL Playoff Picture: The Bracket
FINAL UPDATE — Standings last updated December 31, 2017
X: Clinched Playoff Berth
Y: Clinched Division
Z: Clinched First-Round Bye
H: Clinched Conference Home Field Advantage
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC East
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC North
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC South
|4 (X)||5 (X)||6 (X)|
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC West
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 15
The Eagles have reasserted themselves as the NFC’s top seed, and elsewhere, we have the NFC South asserting dominance with three teams in the field. It’s most likely going to take 10 or perhaps 11 wins to get into the playoffs in the NFC. Atlanta is the six seed at 9-5, while Detroit, Seattle, and Dallas are 8-6. Is it possible, however, that 9-7 happens for a wild card? Yes, and here’s just one way it could happen:
Detroit beats Cincinnati; New Orleans beats Atlanta; Dallas beats Seattle.
Carolina beats Atlanta; Green Bay beats Detroit; Philadelphia beats Dallas; Seattle beats Arizona.
Atlanta gets 6th seed at 9-7.
Here’s one more scenario, out of many possibilities:
Green Bay beats Minnesota; Cincinnati beats Detroit; New Orleans beats Atlanta; Dallas beats Seattle.
Carolina beats Atlanta; Green Bay beats Detroit; Philadelphia beats Dallas; Arizona beats Seattle.
…again, Atlanta gets 6th seed at 9-7.
It’s very possible for the Falcons to back in at 9-7, but it’s hard to craft scenarios in which another 9-7 team gets in over them. Detroit, Dallas, and Seattle need to think about getting to 10-6 and hope Atlanta gets tripped in their difficult closing games.
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 13
Philadelphia was passed by Minnesota for the top seed in the NFC. Both look like very safe playoff bets, and both have active clinching scenarios next week. They are:
- PHI clinches NFC East with: (1) Win OR (2) DAL loss
- MIN clinches NFC North with: (1) Win OR (2) DET loss + GB loss
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 12
Philadelphia is the leader in the NFC at 10-1, the first team to hit double digits. Clinching is not far behind for the Eagles, who lead a top-heavy NFC. Minnesota is just a game behind them at 9-2, while New Orleans, Carolina, and the Rams are all 8-3. Even 7-4 Atlanta is playing better football the last few weeks in hopes of making a run, but here’s the thing. You probably noticed that Carolina, New Orleans, and Atlanta are all in the same division. We could have three NFC South teams in the playoffs this year. This is to the exclusion of other divisions and teams.
Add Seattle and six of those seven are your playoff teams. There is not much competition otherwise. Detroit sits there at 6-5, while everyone else is below .500. Through Week 12, we’re at the point of playing musical chairs in the NFC. We basically know the teams, but now we must organize them. The Eagles and Vikings are locks. New Orleans, Carolina, and Los Angeles are all almost certainly going to be there, save for late collapses. There is not much room for anyone else to get involved.
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 10
In a twist that really isn’t that notable, the division standings did not change at all from last week. Not one shimmy from third to second was found in all the land. While the NFC’s divisional picture looks the same, the seeding shifted a bit. Minnesota is in position for a first-round bye while the New Orleans Saints move back to third. That’s it.
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 7
We still have the Philadelphia Eagles as the top team in the NFC, and the National Football League through seven weeks. The “changing of the guard” we previously mentioned continues. It’s the Rams, Saints, and Vikings making early playoff pushes, while Dallas and Atlanta are still struggling for air. Both can get there, but their second halves must be better.
New Orleans is surprisingly one of the hottest teams in the NFC, but the best offense so far? The Los Angeles Rams. Believe it.
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 6
Everyone who isn’t an Eagles fan: raise your hand if you thought Philadelphia would have the best record in the NFC after Week 6. Put your hand down, you pathetic liar. I see that Donovan McNabb jersey hanging over your chair.
There has been a real shift in the NFC this season, at least through six games. Dallas, the Giants, Detroit, and Atlanta are all on the outside, while the Rams and Saints are in position. There’s too much time left in the season, however, and teams can fold or surge.
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 5
We expected the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons to be near the top of the NFC. The Carolina Panthers are a decided maybe. As for the Philadelphia Eagles, that’s a surprise. It’s too early to say how the seeding will shake out, and frankly, if you’re thinking seeds after Week 5, you have too much time on your hands.
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 4
At this point, we don’t know who will make the playoffs, but we know who’s done. The San Francisco 49ers never had a shot, but for the New York Giants to be 0-4 is a crime. They are without a doubt the biggest disappointment of the season so far.
NFL Playoff Picture: NFC Analysis After Week 1
What analysis? We’re a week into the season, and admittedly, this is filler material. Wait a few games for the numbers to pile up, and then we’ll talk.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC East
|1 (H)||6 (X)|
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC North
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC South
|3 (Y)||5 (X)|
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC West
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 15
In the NFC, it’s impossible for an 8-8 team to make the playoffs through Week 15. With two games to go, it’s still possible there will be MORE than one in the AFC. Here’s one way that could happen:
Miami beats Kansas City; New England beats Buffalo; NY Jets beat LA Chargers; LA Rams beat Tennessee.
Miami beats Buffalo; Jacksonville beats Tennessee; Denver beats Kansas City; LA Chargers beat Oakland.
Kansas City wins AFC West at 8-8; Miami is six seed at 8-8.
Playoff math is fun, isn’t it?
New England, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville are the best teams in the AFC in that order. It would be a surprise if the Super Bowl representative wasn’t one of those three squads.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 13
Not one team changed position in the AFC’s playoff standings from last week. We are, however, at the point in the season where teams could start locking in bids. There is only one team that can do it in the AFC, and take a wild guess.
- NE clinches the AFC East with: (1) Win OR (2) BUF loss
Kansas City clinging to their four seed at 6-6, in the midst of a gigantic meltdown, is cute. Baltimore’s not even that good and they would beat the Chiefs like an old area rug if that ever ended up being the game. Jacksonville, the team they would face, is much better than them right now.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 12
Pittsburgh and the Pats are in a tight battle for the AFC’s top seed, and both of those teams have a bit of breathing room from the other AFC division leaders. Tennessee is the next-best at 7-4, while nobody would bet on Kansas City getting anywhere. It appears likely that at least one of the Steelers or Patriots will get a first-round bye; probably both of them.
Much like in the NFC, you have Buffalo at 6-5, but then the rest of the field is under even-par. This is not what I would consider a crop of serious contenders.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 10
Absolutely nothing changed in the AFC from Week 9. Buffalo is hanging onto their playoff bid, barely.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 7
Little change to the AFC through seven weeks, but the Tennessee Titans now own first place in the AFC South. That division continues to be a race to the bottom, but admittedly, it’s pretty interesting. Meanwhile, fans in Buffalo probably wish the season ended today.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 6
Kansas City retains their top spot, but a very strange Pittsburgh team, coming off of a horrible loss, beat up the Chiefs this week. New England also finds themselves back in first place, but is it crisp football out of Foxboro? Crisp weather, but not football.
Buffalo and Miami also own very early playoff positions in the AFC. A team to watch is Jacksonville: with the AFC South looking like crap, and Houston sans JJ Watt, why can’t the Jags go 8-8 or 9-7 and win the division? That might be all it takes.
The AFC is a tight cluster of teams this early in the season. Only Cleveland is out of the race.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 5
Kansas City has a leg up on the AFC, but after that, it’s a blue. We expected the Pittsburgh Steelers to be up there, but they’re shaky so far. The same goes for the New England Patriots, who are 3-2 but suffering through bad defense. Oakland, with an injured Derek Carr, is falling out of the AFC West race. Finally, the Houston Texans, now sans JJ Watt, are in big trouble.
Twelve weeks left in the season means nothing is over, unless you’re the Cleveland Browns. Extrapolating this out to the rest of the season, however, there could be a changing of the guard in the AFC.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 4
It sure feels like the whole National Football League is chasing Kansas City. They are the only 4-0 team, and with some big wins already, they look to be the team to beat.
If you’re freaking out about the New England Patriots, please don’t. The defense sucks, sure, but they have Tom Brady. 11-5 is basically a given.
NFL Playoff Picture: AFC Analysis After Week 1
Like we said: we need more data. We know who looked good and who didn’t. And the Pats will be fine.