National Football League
National Football League

The NFL Postseason Picture

Updated Dec. 28, 2020 12:42 p.m. EST

The NFL postseason is one week from being decided in its entirety, and Week 16 was a huge weekend for playoff positioning.

Let's dive into the the playoff picture heading into the final Week of the regular season.


1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1)
AFC West champions


The Chiefs earned their 10th consecutive win, a 17-14 triumph over Atlanta, and with it, Kansas City clinched the top spot in the AFC and a first-round bye.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
AFC North champions

The Steelers earned the AFC North crown by knocking off the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Pittsburgh, ending a three-game skid in the process. 

3. Buffalo Bills (11-3)
AFC East champions

The Bills clinched the AFC East, and own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pittsburgh Steelers for the No. 2 seed in the AFC. 

The Bills will travel to take on the New England Patriots (6-8) on Monday night, needing a win to keep pace with the Steelers.

4. Tennessee Titans (10-5)
AFC South leaders

The Titans are atop the AFC South, but with their loss to Green Bay on Sunday night, Tennessee was unable to secure a playoff berth or win the division.

All is not lost however, as the Titans can still clinch the AFC South with a win in Week 17, or a loss by the Colts, Ravens or Dolphins.

5. Miami Dolphins (10-5)
Wild Card No. 1

The Dolphins are second in the AFC East and kept their playoff hopes alive with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night.

Miami's 7-4 record in AFC games gives them the edge over the other squads in the wild card hunt. 

6. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
Wild Card No. 2

A fourth consecutive victory for the Ravens propelled them into second place in the NFC North, and their Week 9 win over the Colts – another wild card contender – puts Baltimore in the sixth spot.

The Ravens' path is simple – win, and they're in.

If the Ravens lose, they need either Indianapolis or Cleveland to lose for them to still qualify for the postseason.

7. Cleveland Browns (10-5)
Wild Card No. 3

The Browns (10-5) lost to the New York Jets (2-13) on Sunday, but are still in the hunt for a wild card spot. They also own the tiebreaker over Indianapolis due to a Week 5 victory over the Colts.

To end their 18-year postseason drought, Cleveland will have to defeat Pittsburgh in Week 17, or, the Colts will have to lose to Jacksonville. 

They can also earn a postseason spot in Week 17 with a Tennessee loss, a Ravens win, a Dolphins win, and a Colts win.

8. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
First Out

The Colts (10-5) are second in the AFC South, but are currently on the outside looking in, after falling to both Baltimore and Cleveland.

Indianapolis' fate is no longer in its own hands, as the team needs a victory in the final week of the regular season, and a loss by any the Titans, Ravens, Dolphins or Browns to make the postseason.

Eliminated AFC Teams
Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)
New England Patriots (6-8)
Los Angeles Chargers (6-9)
Denver Broncos (5-10)
Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1)
Houston Texans (4-11)
New York Jets (2-13)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14)


1. Green Bay Packers (12-3)
NFC North champions

The Packers have won the NFC North for the third straight season, but couldn't clinch home-field advantage on Sunday night because of Seattle's victory over the LA Rams. 

If they win next week, the No. 1 seed is theirs. If they lose, they need San Francisco to defeat Seattle, or else the Seahawks will take over the top seed. 

2. New Orleans Saints (11-4)
NFC South champions

It was a Merry Christmas for the Saints, who won the division for the fourth consecutive season with their demolition of Minnesota. 

The Saints can still clinch the top spot, and it would require a win next week and a Packers loss.

3. Seattle Seahawks (11-4)
NFC West champions

With their huge win over Los Angeles, the Seahawks earned the division title for the fifth time under Pete Carroll. Not to mention, they still have a chance to beat out the Packers for home-field advantage and the top seed in the NFC. 

It would require a Week 17 win and losses by both Green Bay and New Orleans.

4. Washington Football Team (6-9)
NFC East leaders

Due to a Week 16 loss to Carolina, Washington is now tied with Dallas for the division lead. However, WFT has a win-and-in scenario set up for Week 17 after sweeping the Cowboys in the regular season.

But if Dallas beats the Giants in Week 17, and Washington loses, the Cowboys will steal the spot.

If WFT loses to Philadelphia, and Dallas loses to New York, the Giants are in.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)
Wild Card No. 1

The Buccaneers clinched a playoff berth for first time since 2007 with their win over Detroit on Saturday, and will be locked into one of the three wild card spots.

6. Los Angeles Rams (9-6)
Wild Card No. 2

The Rams' loss at Seattle cost them the division title and prevented them from clinching a postseason berth. If LA loses in Week 17 and the Chicago Bears win, the Rams will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

If LA defeats Arizona in Week 17, its in.

7. Chicago Bears (8-7)
Wild Card No. 3

The Bears have won three in a row to climb back into playoff contention, and they now control their own destiny. A win over Green Bay in Week 17 means they're in. 

If they lose to Green Bay, the Bears will need Los Angeles to beat Arizona to qualify for the postseason.

8. Arizona Cardinals (8-7)
First Out

After losing a nail-biter to division rival San Francisco on Saturday, Arizona's fate is in Chicago's hands, as the Bears own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Arizona needs to beat LA, and needs Chicago to lose to Green Bay.

Eliminated NFC Teams

San Francisco 49ers (6-9)
Minnesota Vikings (6-9)
Carolina Panthers (5-10)
Detroit Lions (5-10)
Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1)
Atlanta Falcons (4-11)


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