The NFL playoff picture after week 14: who is likely in and who is in trouble?
As we approach the business end of the NFL regular season, it’s becoming pretty clear who’s in trouble and who’s not.
With NFL’s Week 14 having concluded on Monday night, we’re taking a look at the prospects of some and the tragic decline of others as we consider the playoff picture across the league.
NFL’s Week 14 was a turning point
If one thing is clear now that NFL Week 14 is behind us, it’s that it was most definitely a critical moment in the season. Not only did we see a slew of teams, take major hits in their hunts for playoff spots, but even worse we witnessed some of them get completely embarrassed. Yet, it wasn’t all gloom and doom across the league, as we saw both the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles maintain their top seeds in their respective conferences.
The Eagles of course, came out with a relatively easy 48-22 win over the New York Giants, while the Bills had to work a little harder in a 20-12 win against the New York Jets. With that, the Super Bowl favorites have now likely secured a bye and more importantly, free passage to the Divisional Round of the 2022 NFL Playoffs. In terms of who will be making a post season trip alongside them, here’s the breakdown of how things look across the conferences as we head into Week 15.
The AFC Picture
As mentioned above, the AFC East’s Buffalo Bills (10-3) are the current leaders of the conference and even better, they hold the tiebreaker over the next-in-line Kansas City Chiefs via their Week 6 head-to-head win. Speaking of the Chiefs, they’ve got the same 10-3 record as the Bills and currently sit atop the AFC West, but like we said, the head-to-head is the difference maker in the conference as a whole. That brings us to the AFC North, where the Baltimore Ravens on 9-4, hold the tiebreaker over the Cincinnati Bengals as a result of their Week 5 head-to-head win. We’ve also got the Tennessee Titans on 7-6 in the No. 4 spot, but sitting pretty at the top of the AFC South.
Last but not least, we have the Wild Card spots. At present, the Cincinnati Bengals are fifth with a 9-4 record due to the aforementioned tiebreaker, the Dolphins are sixth with 8-5 and the New England Patriots (7-6) who hold the tiebreaker over New York via two head-to-head wins, as well as Los Angeles via win percentage in conference games. With that in mind, both the Jets and Chargers are still in with a chance on 7-6 each, but there is no margin for error now.
What does the NFC look like?
Off the bat, we can say that the NFC is looking a lot more clear cut. The Eagles started out hot and despite their loss to the Commanders, continue to fly high with a 12-1 record. At No. 2 the Minnesota Vikings of the NFC North come in with a 10-3 record following a brutal loss to the Cowboys just a few weeks ago. Out west, the San Francisco 49ers have worked hard to place themselves third in the NFC with a 9-4 record and then we’ve got the Tom Brady and the Bucs who lead the NFC South but are fourth in the conference with 6-7.
Where the Wild Cards are concerned, the Cowboys sit in fifth with 10-3, the beleaguered Commanders are on 7-5-1, but do hold the tiebreaker over the Giants due to a better winning percentage in division games. As for New York, they have the same 7-5-1, but as we mentioned, are still a spot down. Lastly, we’ve got to mention the Seahawks on 6-7 and the Packers, Panthers and Falcons, all of whom are on 5-8 and in with a chance. Hard to believe that Aaron Rodgers and Co. find themselves in this situation.
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