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Which NFL teams cannot make the 2021 playoffs as of Week 15?

The race to reach the NFL playoffs is still being hotly contested, as no team has managed to secure a spot thus far. Some though, have already been ruled out of it.

Dec 12, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alim McNeill (54) and defensive end Levi Onwuzurike (75) react to a sack in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA T
Ron ChenoyUSA TODAY Sports

After 14 weeks, the race to reach the NFL playoffs is still too close to call, and not a single team has been able to secure a spot. For some sitting at the bottom though, it’s now the end of the road.

Despite being so late in the season, there is still not much clarity about which teams will make it to the playoffs. For the first time in seven years, no team has obtained a spot this late in the game.

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14 out of the 32 NFL teams are set to make the cut for the postseason- seven each from the AFC and the NFC.

There will be no more byes for the season, so all teams have four games left to play in the regular season. Week 15 will be a definitive one, and may see more teams getting formally eliminated from being contenders.

AFC casualties

In the AFC, those who are in jeopardy are those with a record below .500 such as the Las Vegas Raiders and the Miami Dolphins, both with 6-7 slates.

The division already has three casualties, with the New York Jets (3-10), Houston Texans (2-11), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) officially falling out of contention.

Close race in the NFC

Meanwhile, the outlook in the NFC is hazier. The Detroit Lions, who have only one victory to their name, have been officially ruled out of the playoff race for the year.

Aside from their fate, everyone else’s seems to be up in the air. There’s a three-way tie for first place among the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Arizona Cardinals at 10-3. The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams are next with 9-4 records, then the San Francisco 49ers follow with 7-6.

After that, there are five teams that have a 6-7 card. And since these squads are just two wins ahead of the bottom-dwelling Chicago Bears (4-8) and New York Giants (4-9), more shakeups could still potentially take place as the regular season draws to a close.


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