NFL Standings & Playoff Picture After Week 12

The current standings in the AFC:

1. Houston (10-1)

2. Baltimore (9-2)

3. New England (8-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Denver]

4. Denver

5. Indianapolis (7-4)

6. Pittsburgh (6-5) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Cincinnati]

In the Hunt

7. Cincinnati

8. Miami (5-6)

9. San Diego (4-7) [conference record tiebreaking on Tennessee & New York {head-to-head tiebreaking on Buffalo for division rank}]

10. New York [record against opponents that will be common with Tennessee]

11. Tennessee [conference record tiebreaking on Buffalo]

12. Buffalo

13. Cleveland (3-8) [record against opponents that will be common with Oakland]

14. Oakland

Mathematically Alive

15. Jacksonville (2-9)

Mathematically Eliminated

16. Kansas City (1-10)

Projected Playoff Schedule:

Indianapolis @ Denver Saturday January 5th at 4:30pm on NBC

Pittsburgh @ New England Sunday January 6th at 4:30pm on CBS

Lower wildcard winner @ Houston Saturday January 12th at 4:30pm on CBS

Higher wildcard winner @ Baltimore Sunday January 13th at 4:30pm on CBS

Lower seed @ Higher seed Sunday January 20th at 6:30pm on CBS

The four division leaders continue to separate themselves from the pack; all of them can clinch a playoff spot this weekend.  Pittsburgh’s loss to Cleveland drops them into a tie with the Bengals for the last playoff spot but both teams control their destiny with a rematch looming two days before Christmas.  There also remains a large pack of teams within two games of the 6th spot with Miami the only team that managed to distinguish themselves with a win last week.  A team to keep an eye on would be San Diego.  They don’t completely control their destiny, but their next two games are with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, followed by three winnable games at the end of the season.  And if they did get to 9-7 that would be an 8-4 conference record.  Norv Turner’s Chargers have made late season runs in the past, but this could also be the season the whole thing implodes, especially given the way they lost Sunday, allowing Ray Rice to convert a 4th & 29.

NFC

1. Atlanta (10-1)

2. San Francisco (8-2-1)

3. Chicago (8-3)

4. New York (7-4)

5. Green Bay (7-4)

6. Seattle (6-5) [conference record drops Tampa from tie, then head-to-head on Minnesota]

In the Hunt

7. Tampa [head-to-head on Minnesota]

8. Minnesota

9. Washington (5-6) [{head-to-head on Dallas for division rank} head-to-head on New Orleans

10. New Orleans [strength of victory tiebreaker on Dallas]

11. Dallas

12. St. Louis (4-6-1)

Mathematically Alive

13. Detroit (4-7) [conference record on Arizona]

14. Arizona

15. Carolina (3-8) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Philadelphia]

16. Philadelphia

Projected Playoff Schedule

Green Bay @ New York Saturday January 5th at 8pm on NBC

Seattle @ Chicago Sunday January 6th at 1pm on Fox

Higher wildcard survivor @ San Francisco Saturday January 12th at 8pm on Fox

Lower wildcard survivor @ Atlanta Sunday January 13th at 1pm on Fox

Lower seed @ Higher seed Sunday January 20th at 3pm on Fox

Chicago has moved back into 1st place in the North.  Washington greatly improved their standing with their Thanksgiving win over Dallas; if they can beat New York Monday night they move into one game of the division lead.  The 2nd wildcard remains a fluid situation; if New Orleans had won Sunday they would’ve been the 6th seed, but instead they are several spots out.  Minnesota lost to both Tampa and Seattle this season, but they still have both games remaining with the Packers, the first game being this Sunday.  Of course, that could also be a death knell should they lose those games.  If the regular refs had been working all season the Packers would be leading the North as the #3 seed and Tampa would be in the playoffs instead of Seattle.

And here are the various playoff clinching scenarios for this coming weekend:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta clinches NFC South Division:

1) ATL win + TB loss or tie

2) ATL tie + TB loss

Atlanta clinches a playoff berth:

1) ATL win + SEA loss or tie

2) ATL tie + SEA loss + MIN loss

HOUSTON TEXANS

Houston clinches a playoff berth:

1) HOU win or tie

2) MIA loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

3) MIA loss or tie + CIN loss or tie

4) PIT loss + CIN loss

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North Division:

1) BAL win + CIN loss

Baltimore clinches a playoff berth:

1) BAL win

2) BAL tie + CIN loss + MIA loss or tie

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches AFC East Division:

1) NE win

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West Division:

1) DEN win

2) DEN tie + SD loss or tie

3) SD loss

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