NFL playoff image 2021 – Standings, brackets, situations after 49ers-Titans, plus Week 16 outlook

And now we’ve got two. The Cowboys have turn out to be the second NFL group to clinch a 2021 playoff berth, becoming a member of the Packers. Sure, we’re conscious that the Cowboys weren’t one of many groups on the sphere Thursday night time in Nashville, Tennessee. However the 49ers’ loss to the Titans secured the Cowboys’ spot, based mostly on playoff scenarios confirmed Thursday morning by the league. The Titans have not clinched something but, however they will safe the AFC South title as early as Sunday if the Colts lose to the Cardinals.

What follows is a preview of our weekly snapshot of the NFL’s playoff image, incorporating ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) and a little bit of our personal instincts to offer you a way of the stakes. We have threaded playoff and/or division clinching scenarios for a handful of groups, and we’ll replace the way it all labored out on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Notice: X denotes a group that has clinched a playoff berth, Y reveals a group that has clinched its division and Z signifies a group that has secured a first-round bye.

Soar to: AFC | NFC

AFC

FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 99%
FPI possibilities to win division: 93%

The Chiefs had been at one level 3-4, however they’ve received seven consecutive video games and are getting higher outcomes — if not higher play-to-play effectivity — than any group within the NFL. They now not have to fret about shedding the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Chargers, they usually can clinch the AFC West this weekend with a win over the Steelers and a Chargers loss to the Texans. They usually have a 53% likelihood to get the first-round bye, per ESPN’s FPI. The Chiefs may also merely clinch a playoff berth this week with a win.

Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers, at Bengals, at Broncos


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 97%
FPI possibilities to win division: 91%
Present projected first-round matchup: vs. Chargers

The Titans had misplaced three of their previous 4 video games earlier than Thursday night time’s comeback victory over the 49ers. The win knocked them up one spot within the AFC standings, however the Patriots will leapfrog them with a win Sunday in opposition to the Payments. In both occasion, the Titans will have the ability to clinch the AFC South with a Colts loss Sunday to the Cardinals. Even when the Colts win, the Titans will clinch a playoff spot with losses by the Dolphins, Payments, Broncos, Browns and Steelers, or losses by the Dolphins, Payments, Broncos, Browns and Ravens.

Remaining schedule: vs. Dolphins, at Texans

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The Titans take the fourth-quarter lead as Ryan Tannehill ropes a move to A.J. Brown for the 18-yard landing.


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 98%
FPI possibilities to win division: 55%
Present projected first-round matchup: vs. Payments

Week 15’s loss to the Colts snapped the Patriots’ seven-game successful streak and dropped them from the highest of the AFC. It additionally arrange an enormous AFC East sport on Sunday: The Patriots will host the Payments, with the winner taking management of the division. It will not be a real AFC East championship sport, as a result of neither group can clinch it with a victory alone. However the Patriots may clinch in the event that they win the sport and the Dolphins lose to the Saints on Monday. To clinch a playoff spot, the Patriots would want to win and get both losses by the Raiders and Chargers, or losses by the Colts and Bengals, or losses by the Colts, Ravens and Steelers, or losses by the Colts and Chargers, or losses by the Ravens, Browns and Steelers.

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Remaining schedule: vs. Payments, vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 53%
FPI possibilities to win division: 41%
Present projected first-round matchup: vs. Colts

The Bengals snapped their two-game shedding streak and ascended to the highest of the AFC North. They’ve the non permanent head-to-head tiebreaker over the Ravens, however as luck would have it, the groups will meet on Sunday. Neither would clinch the division title with a win, however it can clearly be an enormous leverage sport for each groups. If the Bengals win, their one-game lead within the win/loss column would actually be a two-game lead due to the everlasting head-to-head tiebreaker. So that they’ll win the AFC North in the event that they win their remaining video games.

Remaining schedule: vs. Ravens, vs. Chiefs, at Browns


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 83%
FPI possibilities to win division: 9%
Present projected first-round matchup: at Bengals

The Colts are nonetheless within the AFC South race. A division title continues to be a longshot — the FPI offers the Colts a 9% likelihood to do it — however not less than they don’t seem to be eradicated from it at this level. Regardless, they need to be driving excessive. They’ve an 83% likelihood to get into the playoffs, they usually have the highest wild-card berth within the AFC standings.

Remaining schedule: at Cardinals, vs. Raiders, at Jaguars


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 72%
FPI possibilities to win division: 6%
Present projected first-round matchup: at Patriots

The Chargers are in place for a wild-card playoff berth. It could be simply their second journey to the postseason previously eight years. That they had a authentic likelihood to overhaul the Chiefs within the AFC West final week, and it stays a statistical risk going ahead, nevertheless it’ll require assist from a Chiefs group that has developed a bunch of expertise in closing out postseason place throughout the previous few years.

Remaining schedule: at Texans, vs. Broncos, at Raiders


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 84%
FPI possibilities to win division: 45%
Present projected first-round matchup: at Titans

For the time being, the Payments maintain the common-games tiebreaker over Baltimore. The FPI is giving the Payments an amazing likelihood to make the playoffs, and their sport on the Patriots offers them an opportunity to take over the AFC East lead. The Patriots are favored in that sport for plenty of causes, and rightfully so, however when you had informed the Payments a couple of weeks in the past that they’d have an opportunity to retake the division lead in late December, they’d have thought-about themselves lucky. They’re going to win the AFC East in the event that they win their remaining video games.

Remaining schedule: at Patriots, vs. Falcons, vs. Jets


Within the AFC hunt

Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

The Ravens are so decimated by accidents and COVID-19 losses that coach John Harbaugh has felt compelled to go for a game-winning 2-point play twice previously three weeks quite than take his possibilities in extra time. They’ve misplaced each video games and at the moment are on a playoff-crushing three-game shedding streak. The Ravens may have an opportunity to show it round on the Bengals, however the FPI is giving them solely a 55% likelihood to make the playoffs, and their division title odds are simply 35%.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)

The Steelers’ stage of issue is about to go up. Sunday’s matchup on the Chiefs, the most popular group in soccer, just isn’t the type of sport they need whereas attempting to remain inside an affordable distance of the race. The FPI is giving Pittsburgh an 18% likelihood to make it to the postseason.

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Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)

The FPI now offers the Raiders a ten% likelihood of advancing to the postseason. All wins depend the identical within the standings, however when you watched the Raiders battle to beat a group of Browns backups final week, you in all probability do not have a lot confidence of their possibilities, given upcoming video games in opposition to the Broncos, Colts and Chargers.

Miami Dolphins (7-7)

Give some credit score to the Dolphins for merely moving into this dialog. They’ve adopted a seven-game shedding streak with a six-game successful streak and have one other winnable sport on Monday on the Saints. Their possibilities to make the playoffs are nonetheless fairly minuscule at 6%, per the FPI, however they exist.

Cleveland Browns (7-7)

The AFC North is clearly tight, and the Browns may have an opportunity to climb again into the race. The FPI has Cleveland at 16% to make the playoffs.

Denver Broncos (7-7)

The Broncos’ playoff possibilities at the moment are 9%, based on the FPI. They’ve a winnable sport this week on the Raiders, however with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) doubtless sidelined, their postseason outlook is bleak.

NFC

FPI possibilities to make playoffs: Clinched
FPI possibilities to win division: Clinched

Their Week 15 win in Baltimore gave the Packers the NFL’s first playoff berth, they usually clinched the NFC North on high of it. Now they’re going to flip their consideration to successful home-field benefit all through the playoffs; they’re 6-0 at Lambeau Discipline this season and 19-3 there in three common seasons below coach Matt LaFleur. Their subsequent two video games are house, and their season finale is at Detroit. So it is no marvel the FPI is giving them a 72% likelihood to safe the No. 1 seed.

Remaining schedule: vs. Browns, vs. Vikings, at Lions


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: Clinched
FPI possibilities to win division: 99%
Present projected first-round matchup: vs. Vikings

The 49ers’ loss Thursday night time clinched a playoff spot for the Cowboys. However Dallas has greater objectives in thoughts. The Cowboys have received three consecutive video games after shedding three of 4. They’ve moved forward of the Cardinals and Buccaneers because of a greater convention document, they usually proceed to be the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East. In actual fact, they will clinch the division on Sunday night time with a victory over Washington. They usually can safe the division title even when they lose to Washington — that may occur if the Eagles lose to the Giants or if the Cowboys clinch a strength-of-victory tiebreaker over the Eagles.

Remaining schedule: vs. Washington, vs. Cardinals, at Eagles


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 99%
FPI possibilities to win division: 99%
Present projected first-round matchup: vs. 49ers

The Buccaneers had been overtaken not less than in the interim by the Cowboys final weekend, however they will clinch the NFC South on Sunday with a win. How will they be affected by accidents suffered in Week 15 to receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and operating again Leonard Fournette? Regardless, the Buccaneers can clinch a playoff berth even with out wining. They’re going to achieve this if the Vikings and Eagles lose, or the Vikings lose and the Cowboys win, or the Vikings lose and the Cowboys clinch not less than a tie of their energy of victory tiebreaker with the Eagles.

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Remaining schedule: at Panthers, at Jets, vs. Panthers


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 99%
FPI possibilities to win division: 64%
Present projected first-round matchup: vs. Rams

The Cardinals are going within the incorrect course. They’ve tumbled as far down the NFC standings as they may, not less than whereas nonetheless holding on to the NFC West lead. However the injury is not as extreme because it might be, assuming they will get themselves again on monitor. They’ll clinch a playoff berth with a win, or losses by the Eagles or Saints. There are not any situations for successful the NFC West in Week 16, nevertheless.

Remaining schedule: vs. Colts, at Cowboys, vs. Seahawks


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 99%
FPI possibilities to win division: 35%
Present projected first-round matchup: at Cardinals

Tuesday’s victory over the Seahawks pulled the Rams right into a tie with the Cardinals within the NFC West, however the Rams stay behind the Cardinals within the standings due to Arizona’s higher successful proportion within the division. The Rams’ FPI possibilities to win the division stand at 35%. Additionally they have a number of situations for clinching a playoff spot this weekend. Most easily, they’re going to safe a spot in the event that they beat the Vikings. In the event that they lose in Minnesota, the Rams can nonetheless lock in a spot with losses by the Saints and Eagles. If nothing else, nevertheless, the Rams are maintaining the warmth on the Cardinals.

Remaining schedule: at Vikings, at Ravens, vs. 49ers


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 83%
FPI possibilities to win division: 1%
Present projected first-round matchup: at Buccaneers

Regardless of Thursday night time’s loss, the 49ers remained squarely within the NFC wild-card race. If each the Vikings and Saints win Sunday, they 49ers will transfer all the way down to the No. 7 spot, however there doesn’t seem like a situation through which they’d get knocked out of the highest seven. Plus, the Niners are lucky to have the Texans up subsequent on their schedule. If they can not beat the Texans at house in Week 17, then they in all probability do not should be within the playoffs.

Remaining schedule: vs. Texans, at Rams

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0:17

Jimmy Garoppolo finds Brandon Aiyuk at the back of the tip zone for the landing to tie the rating late.


FPI possibilities to make playoffs: 30%
FPI possibilities to win division: Eradicated
Present projected first-round matchup: at Cowboys

The Vikings maintain the widespread video games tiebreaker over the Eagles and the convention document benefit over the Saints. Regardless of being eradicated from the NFC North division race, they at present have the No. 7 seed and carry a 30% likelihood of creating the playoffs.

Remaining schedule: vs. Rams, at Packers, vs. Bears


Within the NFC hunt

Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

The Eagles saved their foot within the playoff door, and their FPI possibilities now they stand at 34%. They head into one other very winnable sport in opposition to the Giants.

New Orleans Saints (7-7)

The Saints secured an enormous victory in Week 15 that may assist them in myriad tiebreakers, together with division and convention document, and it is value noting that they do not have one other sport scheduled in opposition to a group that at present has a successful document. New Orleans’ FPI playoff odds are at 47%, and the Dolphins are up subsequent.

Washington Football Team (6-8)

Washington faces a quick-turn sport in opposition to the Cowboys, and its FPI playoff chances are high all the way down to 7%.

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