NFL Playoff Picture
The NFL season has now hit December and the league is beginning to distance itself from contenders and pretenders. The NFC playoff picture is far from clear, specifically the woeful NFC East, with five weeks left to play. On the other side, the AFC still has nine teams fighting for seven playoff sports.
The top-3 teams from each conference, Steelers, Chiefs, and Titans in the AFC, and the Saints, Packers, and Seahawks in the NFC, appear to be guaranteed to finish in the top-3 of their divisions. How does the rest fare in the NFL playoff picture? As we rundown the seeds, we will always start with the representative from the AFC and follow that with the representative from the NFC.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) December 1, 2020
The Indianapolis Colts and the Arizona Cardinals take up the last postseason spot for now. However, the Cardinals are hanging on by a thread and have the hardest schedule left. Even though the team has the talent to make the playoffs, we shouldn’t expect this team to be on the table for Super Bowl squares. At 6-5, the Cardinals still have to play the Rams twice and the 49ers once. Winning two out of three will be difficult. The Colts (7-5) should get to 10 wins as the team plays the Texans twice and the Jaguars once.
The Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Bucs are both trending in the wrong direction. The Bucs have lost two straight games after taking over as the No. 1 seed at one point. It appears the Saints are going to wrap up the division. Meanwhile, the Dolphins still have to play the Bills, Chiefs, and Raiders this season. There’s a good chance that Miami’s Cinderella run could be coming to a close. We might see a team like the Raiders or the Ravens sneak into the top-7 fairly soon.
The Cleveland Browns are officially out of the running for a losing season. With an 8-3 record, the Browns are on pace to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and quite frankly should be in the playoffs by the end of the season. The Browns have dates with the Giants and Jets left on the schedule and should get to 10 wins for the first time since 2007. As for the Rams, they control their own destiny. At 7-4, the team could win the division, or fall out of the playoff race. As inconsistent as the Rams are, there is no telling what is going to happen.
Let’s start with a real playoff team in the Buffalo Bills. The date to circle on the calendar is the Week 14 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That will give us an idea if the Bills are real contenders for Super Bowl LV. As for the Giants, who knows if the Giants are really going to make the playoffs. The 4-7 New York squad just lost their starting quarterback in Daniel Jones and have to go against the Seahawks and Cardinals in back to back weeks. Not to mention, they have a date with the Browns. This could be a short-lived appearance in first place.
Image Credit: Tankathon
The NFC East Division Winner vs. NFL Draft Order
If you’re a realist, you know that no one from the NFC East is going beyond one playoff round this year, but many fans are still rooting for their team to make the postseason. Winning the divisions and going to the playoffs is bragging material, but there is a catch. Making the playoffs will mean a drastic drop in where that team will pick in next year’s NFL Draft. And considering all of the team in the NFC East are terrible, winning this year could actually hurt their chances of next year.
Joseph is a long-time sports betting enthusiast based out of New York. He loves the Jets and is happily married with 2 kids.