NFL playoff picture: Seeds, standings and division titles on the line in Week 14

The NFL has had its share of lackluster prime-time games in the first three-quarters of the season, but Week 14’s slate features both conferences’ top seeds in matchups that should set the tone for the final month’s sprint to the postseason. The Cowboys visit the Giants on Sunday night trying to avenge their only loss of the season (and lock up a division title in the process), while the Patriots host the Ravens on Monday with a chance to open up some breathing room in the AFC.

If the playoffs started today, which teams would be in, and which teams would be on the bubble? Here’s how the playoff seeds shake out, plus a breakdown of the teams on the outside looking in as of Week 14’s action. Teams with an asterisk (*) have clinched a playoff berth.​


AFC

  • 1
    1New England Patriots
     
    record: 10–2 (AFC: 7–1)
    AFC East leader. Week 13: vs. Ravens.

  • 2
    2Kansas City Chiefs
     
    record: 10–3 (AFC: 7–2)
    AFC West leader. Week 14: Beat Raiders, 21–13.

  • 3
    3Baltimore Ravens
     
    record: 7–5 (AFC: 7–2)
    AFC North leader. Week 14: at Patriots.

  • 4
    4Houston Texans
     
    record: 6–6 (AFC: 4–4)
    AFC South leader. Week 14: at Colts.

  • 5
    5Oakland Raiders
     
    record: 10–3 (AFC: 7–2)
    First wild card. Week 14: Lost to Chiefs, 21–13.

  • 6
    6Denver Broncos
     
    Record: 8–4 (AFC: 5–3)
    Second wild card. Week 14: at Titans.

In the hunt

  • 7
    7Miami Dolphins
     
    record: 7–5 (AFC: 5–4)
    Week 14: vs. Cardinals.

  • 8
    8Pittsburgh Steelers
     
    record: 7–5 (AFC: 5–3)
    Week 14: at Bills.

  • 9
    9indianapolis colts
     
    record: 6–6 (AFC: 4–5)
    Week 14: vs. Texans.

  • 10
    10tennessee titans 
     
    RECORD: 6–6 (AFC: 3–5)
    Week 14: vs. Broncos.

  • 11
    11buffalo bills
     
    RECORD: 6–6 (AFC: 3–5)
    Week 14: vs. Steelers.

NFC

  • 1
    1Dallas Cowboys*
     
    record: 11–1 (NFC: 7–1)
    NFC East leader. Week 14: at Giants.

  • 2
    Seattle Seahawks
     
    Record: 8–3–1 (NFC: 4–3–1)
    NFC West leader. Week 14: at Packers.

  • 3
    3Detroit Lions
     
    record: 8–4 (NFC: 6–2)
    NFC North leader. Week 14: vs. Bears.

  • 4
    4Atlanta Falcons
     
    RECORD: 7–5 (NFC: 5–3)
    NFC South leader. Week 14: at Rams.

  • 5
    5New York Giants
     
    record: 8–4 (NFC: 5–3)
    First wild card. Week 14: vs. Cowboys.

  • 6
    6Tampa Bay Buccaneers
     
    record: 7–5 (NFC: 5–3)
    Second wild card. Week 14: vs. Saints.

In the hunt

  • 7
    7Washington Redskins
     
    record: 6-5-1 (NFC: 4–4)
    Week 14: at Eagles.

  • 8
    8Minnesota Vikings
     
    record: 6–6 (NFC: 4–6)
    Week 14: at Jaguars.

  • 9
    9Green Bay Packers
     
    record: 6–6 (NFC: 4–4)
    Week 14: vs. Seahawks.

  • 10
    10Arizona Cardinals
     
    record: 5-6-1 (NFC: 4-4-1)
    Week 14: at Dolphins.

  • 11
    11New Orleans Saints
     
    Record: 5–7 (NFC: 4–4)
    Week 14: at Buccaneers.

  • 12
    12philadelphia eagles
     
    record: 5–7 (NFC: 3–6)
    Week 14: vs. Redskins.

The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win over the Giants on Sunday Night Football, and they can secure home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if both the Seahawks and Lions lose in Week 14. If only one of those two teams loses, Dallas is assured a first-round bye. The Seahawks also have a path to clinching their division this weekend; the simplest route is if they beat Green Bay and the Cardinals lose in Miami. Both the Vikings and Packers need to make their move soon if they want to run down Detroit in the NFC North—the Lions host the hapless Bears, who edged out a three-point win in the teams’ first meeting in October. Meanwhile, the Eagles and Redskins meet in Philadelphia for what is essentially a wild-card elimination game.

In the AFC wild-card race, the Dolphins and Steelers lurk just one game behind the Broncos for the No. 6 seed. The Chiefs’ Thursday night win over Oakland vaulted them into the AFC West driver's seat and landed them a first-round bye in the process. Now the Raiders joins Denver in those precarious wild-card spots, knowing they can clinch a playoff spot for themselves by winning two of their last three. The AFC South race hinges on the Texans–Colts game in Indianapolis, which will temporarily break the three-team tie atop the division and could leave one team alone in first if the Titans stumble against the Broncos.

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