NFL Playoff Picture After Week 11

Here are the standings in the AFC:

1. Houston (9-1)

2. Baltimore (8-2)

3. New England (7-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Denver]

4. Denver

5. Indianapolis (6-4) [conference record tiebreaker on Pittsburgh]

6. Pittsburgh

In the Hunt

7. Cincinnati (5-5)

8. San Diego (4-6) [conference record on Tennessee & New York {division record tiebreaking on Buffalo & Miami}]

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

10. Tennessee [head-to-head tiebreaker on Buffalo {head-to-head tiebreaker on Miami for division rank}]

11. Buffalo

12. Miami

Mathematically Alive

13. Oakland (3-7)

14. Cleveland (2-8)

Playing for 2013

15. Jacksonville (1-9) [conference record tiebreaker on Kansas City]

16. Kansas City

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

This past weekend’s games served to solidify the top 4 seeds in the conference, with all division leaders having leads of 2 or 3 games on their closest pursuer.  Despite losses the Steelers and Colts maintain a lead on the pack for the wildcards, with only Cincinnati able to draw within one game.  There is a mess of teams at 4-6 with any of them having a puncher’s chance to warm up down the stretch and get to 9-7, which given that the AFC is a whole is -10 against the NFC, that could certainly be good enough to make the playoffs.

NFC

1. Atlanta (9-1)

2. San Francisco (7-2-1)

3. Green Bay (7-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Chicago for division lead]

4. New York (6-4)

5. Chicago (7-3)

6. Minnesota (6-4) [conference record tiebreaker on Seattle & Tampa]

In the Hunt

7. Seattle [conference record tiebreaker on Tampa]

8. Tampa

9. Dallas (5-5) [record against opponents that will be common with New Orleans]

10. New Orleans

11. Washington (4-6) [conference record tiebreaker on Detroit & Arizona

12. Detroit [conference record tiebreaker on Arizona]

13. Arizona

Mathematically Alive

14. St. Louis (3-6-1)

15. Philadelphia (3-7)

Playing for 2013

16. Carolina (2-8)

Projected Playoff Schedule

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

Minnesota @ Green Bay 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

A couple playoff positions changed this week; the Packers winning coupled with the Bears losing moved Green Bay into the lead of the North, while the 49ers win over the Bears also moved them into the 2nd bye seed by a half game.  Also, Minnesota moved into a playoff spot by not playing, as Tampa’s win moved them into the tie with the Vikings and Seahawks.  As an illustration of how fluid these scenarios can be, this helped the Vikings as they used their better conference record to win this tie, instead of losing a head up tie with the Seahawks based on an on-field result.  The teams at 4-6 I have listed “in the hunt” but again given the NFC’s +10 margin in cross-conference games, these teams need to win out to 10-6 to have a realistic chance.  The Lions are in an especially weak spot given they are last in the 2 division by two full games with bad divisional tiebreakers.

And lastly, there is actually one team that can clinch a playoff spot this coming weekend; the Houston Texans.  Their scenarios to clinch this week are as follows:

Texans win + Titans loss or tie + Dolphins loss or tie + Jets loss or tie + Bengals loss + Chargers loss or tie OR

Texans win + Titans loss or tie + Dolphins loss or tie + Jets loss or tie + Bengals loss or tie + Steelers loss

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