NFL Standings After Week 13

We are at the 3/4 pole as all teams have played 12 games and have 4 remaining.  Three teams in the AFC have clinched at least a playoff spot, while only one NFC team has done so.  Also, the large advantage that NFC teams have had in inter-conference play all season has greatly narrowed; the NFC is now only a collective +4 against the AFC this season.  Here are the standings, starting with the AFC:

1. Houston <clinched playoff spot> 11-1

2. New England <clinched division> 9-3 (conference record tiebreaking on Baltimore & Denver)

3. Baltimore (conference record tiebreaking on Denver)

4. Denver <clinched division>

5. Indianapolis 8-4

6. Pittsburgh 7-5 (head-to-head tiebreaker on Cincinnati)

In the Hunt

7. Cincinnati

8. New York 5-7 (division record tiebreaking on Buffalo & Miami)

9. Buffalo (head-to-head tiebreaker on Miami

10. Miami

Mathematically Alive

11. Cleveland 4-8 (conference record drops Tennessee from tiebreaking, then head-to-head on San Diego)

12. San Diego (head-to-head tiebreaker on Tennessee)

13. Tennessee

Eliminated

14. Oakland 3-9

15. Jacksonville 2-10 (conference record tiebreaking on Kansas City)

16. Kansas City

Projected Playoff Schedule:

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

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

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

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

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

The AFC picture in some ways became simplified this past week.  New England, Houston, and Denver all clinched postseason berths, and while Baltimore failed to do, the path to missing the playoffs would put Murphy’s Law to shame.  Also, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati went a long ways to ensuring they are the only teams in contention for the two wildcard spots.  The pack in the AFC East at 5-7 could make a run to 9-7, but even doing so is no guaranteed spot.  The teams at 4-8 are also still alive with some potential tiebreaking advantages if they get to 8-8, but at minimum their scenario involves whoever wins the December 23rd Bengals v Steelers game losing their other 3 games.  Back at the top of the standings Houston has a two game advantage on the other division leaders and could lock things up by beating the Patriots Monday night (this week with help or eventually).  Denver plays Baltimore in a couple weeks which could also go a long way to determining the other bye seed.  New England beat Denver but lost to Baltimore, so while they are the #2 seed right now, they do not completely control their destiny for a bye seed.

NFC

1. Atlanta <clinched division> 11-1

2. San Francisco 8-3-1

3. Green Bay 8-4 (head-to-head tiebreaker on Chicago for division lead)

4. New York 7-5

5. Chicago 8-4

6. Seattle 7-5

In the Hunt

7. Washington 6-6 ({head-to-head tiebreaker on Dallas for division rank} head-to-head-to-head tiebreaker on Minnesota & Tampa)

8. Dallas (conference record tiebreaker on Minnesota & Tampa)

9. Tampa (head-to-head tiebreaker on Minnesota)

10. Minnesota

11. St. Louis 5-6-1

12. New Orleans 5-7

Mathematically Alive

13. Detroit 4-8 (conference record tiebreaker on Arizona)

14. Arizona

Eliminated

15. Carolina (head-to-head on Philadelphia)

16. Philadelphia

Projected Playoff Schedule

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

Seattle @ Green Bay Sunday January 6th at 1pm on Fox

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

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

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

Atlanta clinched the division and has scenarios by which they could clinch the #1 seed, or at least a bye seed, this weekend.  San Francisco’s loss leaves them in peril of falling out of bye seed position with another loss.  Green Bay moved back into the lead in the North division, while New York missed an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the East.  Chicago remains in good shape to at least make the playoffs, and Seattle moved into clear possession of the 2nd wildcard.  Part of the leveling of the inter-conference slate is manifested in the fact that only 6 NFC teams are above .500 now and no one with a winning record would miss the playoffs.  The Redskins are on a major move upwards and their good tiebreaking has them at the head of the class of 6-6 teams; if they win one more game than the Giants, and not fewer than the Cowboys, down the stretch they should win the East.  Conversely the Vikings seem to be stumbling down the stretch, or perhaps being dealt a reality check as they cycle thru a series of games against the Bears and Packers.  If the NFL’s regular referees had been working since the beginning of the season, the Packers would be in bye seed position and Washington would be the #6 seed (the tiebreaking involving Seattle at 6-6 is somewhat different than described in conference standings line 7 above, but still works out to the Redskins advantage).

Here are the official playoff clinching scenarios for Week 14 from nfl.com:

HOUSTON TEXANS

Houston clinches AFC South division with:

1) HOU win + IND loss or tie OR

2) HOU tie + IND loss

Houston clinches a first-round bye with:

1) HOU win + IND loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR

2) HOU win + IND loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

Houston clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) HOU win + IND loss or tie + BAL loss + DEN loss

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North division with:

1) BAL win + PIT loss + CIN loss

Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with:

1) BAL win + PIT loss or tie OR

2) BAL win + CIN loss or tie OR

3) BAL tie + PIT loss + CIN loss

 NFC

ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta clinches a first-round bye with:

1) ATL win + CHI loss or tie + GB loss or tie OR

2) ATL win + SF loss OR

3) ATL tie + CHI loss + GB loss

Atlanta clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:

1) ATL win + CHI loss or tie + GB loss or tie + SF loss

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

San Francisco clinches a playoff spot with:

1) SF win + DAL loss + MIN loss + TB loss + WAS loss + STL loss or tie OR

2) SF win + DAL loss + MIN loss + TB loss + WAS loss + SEA loss or tie

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