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

A statistical breakdown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' turnaround

The NFL has had its share of lackluster prime-time games in the first three-quarters of the season, but Week 14’s slate featured both conferences’ top seeds in matchups that should set the tone for the final month’s sprint to the postseason. The Cowboys couldn’t avenge their only loss of the season, losing a tight game to the Giants on Sunday night and failing to lock up a division title in the process. Meanwhile, 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.​

  • 1
    1New England Patriots
    record: 11–2 (AFC: 8–1)
    AFC East leader. Week 14: Beat Ravens, 30–23. Week 15: at Broncos.

  • 2
    2Kansas City Chiefs
    record: 10–3 (AFC: 7–2)
    AFC West leader. Week 14: Beat Raiders, 21–13. Week 15: vs. Titans.

  • 3
    3Pittsburgh Steelers
    record: 8–5 (AFC: 6–3)
    AFC North leader. Week 14: Beat Bills, 27–20. Week 15: at Bengals.

  • 4
    4Houston Texans
    record: 7–6 (AFC: 5–4)
    AFC South leader. Week 14: Beat Colts, 22–17. Week 15: vs. Jaguars.

  • 5
    5Oakland Raiders
    record: 10–3 (AFC: 7–2)
    First wild card. Week 14: Lost to Chiefs, 21–13. Week 15: at Chargers.

  • 6
    6Denver Broncos
    Record: 8–5 (AFC: 5–4)
    Second wild card. Week 14: Lost to Titans, 13–10. Week 15: vs. Patriots.

  • 7
    7Miami Dolphins
    record: 8–5 (AFC: 5–4)
    Week 14: Beat Cardinals, 26–23. Week 15: at Jets.

  • 8
    8Baltimore Ravens
    record: 7–6 (AFC: 7–3)
    Week 14: Lost to Patriots, 30–23. Week 15: vs. Eagles.

  • 9
    9Tennessee Titans
    RECORD: 7–6 (AFC: 4–5)
    Week 14: Beat Broncos, 13–10. Week 15: at Chiefs.

  • 10
    10indianapolis colts
    record: 6–7 (AFC: 4–6)
    Week 14: Lost to Texans, 22–17. Week 15: at Vikings.

  • 11
    11buffalo bills
    RECORD: 6–7 (AFC: 3–6)
    Week 14: Lost to Steelers, 27–20. Week 15: vs. Browns.

  • 1
    1Dallas Cowboys*
    record: 11–2 (NFC: 7–2)
    NFC East leader. Week 14: Lost to Giants, 10–7. Week 15: vs. Buccaneers.

  • 2
    Detroit Lions 
    Record: 9–4 (NFC: 7–2)
    NFC North leader. Week 14: Beat Bears, 20–17. Week 15: at Giants.

  • 3
    3seattle seahawks
    record: 8–4–1 (NFC: 4–4–1)
    NFC North leader. Week 14: Lost to Packers, 38–10. Week 15: vs. Rams.

  • 4
    4Atlanta Falcons
    RECORD: 8–5 (NFC: 6–3)
    NFC South leader. Week 14: Beat Rams 42–14. Week 15: at 49ers.

  • 5
    5New York Giants
    record: 9–4 (NFC: 6–3)
    First wild card. Week 14: Beat Cowboys, 10–7. Week 15: vs. Lions.

  • 6
    6Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    record: 8–5 (NFC: 6–3)
    Second wild card. Week 14: Beat Saints, 16–11. Week 15: at Cowboys.

  • 7
    7Washington Redskins
    record: 7-5-1 (NFC: 5–4)
    Week 14: Beat Eagles, 27–22. Week 15: vs. Panthers.

  • 8
    8Minnesota Vikings
    record: 7–6 (NFC: 4–6)
    Week 14: Beat Jaguars, 25–16. Week 15: vs. Colts.

  • 9
    9Green Bay Packers
    record: 7–6 (NFC: 5–4)
    Week 14: Beat Seahawks 38–10. Week 15: at Bears.

  • 10
    10Arizona Cardinals
    record: 5-7-1 (NFC: 4-4-1)
    Week 14: Lost to Dolphins, 26–23. Week 15: vs. Saints.

The Cowboys failed to clinch the NFC East with a win over the Giants on Sunday Night Football, but with the Seahawks’ blowout loss to the Packers, Dallas will be assured a first-round bye with its next victory. The Seahawks also had a chance to clinch their division, but the NFC West is still unclaimed for another week: The Cardinals’ loss in Miami means Seattle needs just one more win to lock it up. Both the Vikings and Packers need to make their move soon if they want to run down Detroit, who avenged an early-October loss to the Bears with yet another fourth-quarter comeback. Meanwhile, the Redskins prevailed in Philadelphia in what was essentially a wild-card elimination game, a heartbreaking loss for the Eagles.

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 swung on the Texans’ game in Indianapolis, which temporarily broke the three-team tie atop the division—Houston currently holds the tiebreaker over the Titans, who held off the Broncos at home to keep pace.

Several pivotal games loom in Week 15. The Titans travel to Kansas City needing to win to keep the pressure on the Texans, who have a very winnable home game against the Jaguars. A Bengals upset of the Steelers in Cincinnati would throw the AFC North into disarray. The loser of the Vikings–Colts game in Minnesota can essentially wave goodbye to their playoff hopes, while the Lions and Giants meet for a measuring-stick game that could double as an NFC playoff preview. And that all takes place before the Buccaneers put their wild-card spot on the line in Dallas on Sunday night.

Cool Stuff