NFL playoff picture: Who’s in, who’s out and what’s on the line in Week 14

Week 14 of the NFL season is under way. The
Kansas City Chiefs
wrested control of the AFC West — and the AFC’s No. 2 seed — away from the division rival
Oakland Raiders
with a 21-13 victory on Thursday evening. The Chiefs can take the division crown by winning out the rest of the way.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL playoff picture looks right now, as well as a snapshot of some games that could potentially impact what it looks like after Week 14 and beyond.

AFC: Who’s in

1.
New England Patriots
(10-2)

The Patriots play on Monday night this week, taking on the
Baltimore Ravens
, one of the few teams they haven’t truly dominated during the
Tom Brady
era. New England has just about wrapped up the AFC East, but still has a ways to go before clinching the No. 1 seed and home field throughout the AFC playoffs.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)

The Chiefs’ win Thursday vaults them back into first place in the AFC West, and they now look like the primary contender to the Patriots’ AFC supremacy. They still have to play the
Denver Broncos
in a couple weeks in a matchup that could shake this division up again, though.

3. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)

The Ravens are heading to New England to take on the Patriots on Monday. The still have a grasp on the top spot in the AFC North, but the Steelers are nipping at their heels. They’ll have to keep winning to keep hold of a playoff spot.

4. Houston Texans (6-6)

Houston puts its AFC South lead on the line in a Sunday afternoon game against the
Indianapolis Colts
. The
Houston Texans
have been in control of the NFL’s worst division for a while but that could come to an end this week.

5. Oakland Raiders (10-3)

The Raiders lost their hold on the division, but they still have a leg up on everyone else in the wild-card race, and they look like the primary benefactors if the Chiefs falter at some point because they’re still ahead of the Broncos in the loss column.

6. Denver Broncos (8-4)

The Broncos’ win over the
Jacksonville Jaguars
, combined with the
Miami Dolphins
‘ loss, pushed the Broncos back into a playoff spot. This week, the Broncos travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans and try to hang onto that spot for a while longer.

AFC: Who’s out


NFC: Who’s in

1.
Dallas Cowboys
(11-1)

This week, the Cowboys head to East Rutherford, N.J. in an attempt to avenge their only loss of the season. Dallas has a firm hold on the NFC East, but the Seahawks could start closing in on the No. 1 seed if the Cowboys don’t keep winning.

2.
Seattle Seahawks
(8-3-1)

The Seahawks will head on over to Green Bay for what is sure to be an uneventful game. Nothing weird ever happens when the Packers host the Seahawks.

3.
Detroit Lions
(8-4)

Detroit will play host to the Bears this weekend. The Lions are 5-1 at home while Chicago has yet to win a road game and is dealing with all sorts of injuries and suspensions.

4.
Atlanta Falcons
(7-5)

The Falcons’ division lead is gone, and they now lead the Buccaneers only by virtue of a tiebreaker. Luckily for them, they have the Rams on the schedule this week, who are just 1-4 in their new L.A. digs.

5.
New York Giants
(8-4)

The Giants will host the Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football” and try to keep firm control of the pole position in the NFC wild-card race. They’ve separated themselves from the other two NFC East teams and have a game or more up on everyone else in contention.

6.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(7-5)

Tampa has closed in on the Falcons by winning each of its last four games. Next up is the
New Orleans Saints
, at home. If they can do to
Drew Brees
what the Lions did last week, they’ll stand a pretty good chance of making it five in a row.

NFC: Who’s out

  • No. 7
    Washington Redskins
    (6-5-1)
  • No. 8
    Minnesota Vikings
    (6-6)
  • No. 9
    Green Bay Packers
    (6-6)
  • No. 10
    Arizona Cardinals
    (5-6-1)
  • No. 11 New Orleans Saints (5-7)
  • No. 12
    Philadelphia Eagles
    (5-7)
  • No. 13
    Carolina Panthers
    (4-8)
  • No. 14
    Los Angeles Rams
    (4-8)
  • No. 15 Chicago Bears (2-10)
  • No. 16 San Francisco 49ers (1-11)

Games to watch in Week 13

The rest of Week 13 features two games where both teams are currently in playoff position heading into the contest.

Cowboys at Giants

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET, TV: NBC

How it affects the standings: Dallas is now three games ahead of the Giants in the NFC East race, and barring a collapse, seems likely to hold onto that spot. The Cowboys still have the No. 1 seed to worry about, though, and they surely don’t want to get swept by their division rival. New York has a cushion in the wild-card race but there are a lot of teams within shouting distance so the Giants have to keep winning because backing in seems somewhat unlikely.

Patriots at Ravens

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (Monday), TV: ESPN

How it affects the standings: New England is — surprise, surprise — locked in a heated battle for the AFC’s No. 1 seed. What else is new? The Ravens are still not only trying to fend off the Steelers in the AFC North, but keep pace with the other teams involved in the wild-card race as well. They’re a game behind where the No. 6 seed is right now.


Week 14 features three additional games where both teams are at least within one game of a playoff spot heading into the contest.

Broncos at Titans

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET, TV: CBS

How it affects the standings: Denver is a game back in a wild-card spot, having regained control of the No. 6 seed with the Dolphins getting blown out by the Ravens in Week 13. They’re a game ahead of Miami now. The Titans got some help during their bye week as the Texans lost again, and now they’re just a tiebreaker away from leading the AFC South. This is the first of back-to-back against AFC West contenders for Tennessee.

Texans at Colts

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET, TV: CBS

How it affects the standings: Houston has lost three in a row and now only has control of the AFC South by virtue of a tiebreaker. Both the Colts and Titans have 6-6 records matching the Texans, and it’s really anybody’s division right now. Obviously, the winner of this one gets a significant leg up on the loser.

Seahawks at Packers

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET, TV: FOX

How it affects the standings: Seattle rebounded from a Week 12 loss to the Bucs to blow out the Panthers in Week 13. The Seahawks are virtually unchallenged in the NFC West, but they have some competition for the No. 2 seed and still have an outside shot at the No. 1 if the Cowboys stumble. The Packers are two games back in the NFC North but only a game out of the second wild card spot.


Other games with playoff implications

A few other games, like Steelers at Bills (1 p.m.), Broncos at Titans (1 p.m.), and Saints at Buccaneers (4:25 p.m.) feature either two teams within shouting distance of a playoff spot or one team that could conceivably be knocked too far out of the picture to reasonably come back by the end of the year, pending results of other games.


Week 14 schedule*

Sunday

  • Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
  • Denver at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
  • Washington at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
  • Arizona at Miami, 1 p.m.
  • San Diego at Carolina, 1 p.m.
  • Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
  • Chicago at Detroit, 1 p.m.
  • Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
  • Minnesota at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
  • N.Y.
    New York Jets
    at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.
  • New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m.
  • Atlanta at L.A. Rams, 4:25 p.m.
  • Seattle at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.
  • Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.

Monday

  • Baltimore at New England, 8:30 p.m.

* All times Eastern

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