NFL Playoff Picture: Standings & Potential Wild Card Matchups After Week 15

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Zeke returns in a must-win situation for the Cowboys.

With two weeks left to play in the NFL’s regular season, teams are losing control of their destiny. Playoff spots are within one game at the bottom of both brackets, and tiebreakers are becoming increasingly important.

For some teams, there’s no point in looking ahead if the job isn’t done this week. The Ravens took care of business on Saturday, beating the Colts to keep their Wild Card position intact. The Ravens can now spend Sunday watching RedZone, where the three teams surrounding them in the standings all play during the early slate.

Of that group, the team most likely to miss out on the playoffs is the Tennessee Titans. The Titans not only have to win at Los Angeles on Sunday, but must beat Jacksonville next week to keep pace in the AFC. Seven losses might be enough to sneak into the final playoff spot, but 8-8 will likely see the Titans watching the postseason from home.

For straight elimination, look no further than than Lions or Cowboys this Christmas Eve. Both teams are favored to keep their seasons alive this week, especially the Cowboys, who are getting Ezekiel Elliot back in the lineup at their most desperate moment.

At the top of the brackets, the Patriots can get an early Christmas present from a former coach. If Bill O’Brien can lead to the Texans to a win over the Steelers on Monday, it will lock up home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs. Home-field advantage is especially intriguing int the NFC, where the Eagles could use some extra support without Carson Wentz. The matchups are favorable for the Eagles, but it still looks like the Vikings and Rams are the most formidable teams to emerge from the conference.

For a full list of NFL tiebreaking procedures, click here.

Here’s how the early playoff standings after the early games:


AFC Seeding

The Division Leaders:

1. New England Patriots** — 11-3
2. Pittsburgh Steelers** — 11-3
3. Jacksonville Jaguars* — 10-4
4. Kansas City Chiefs — 8-6

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. Baltimore Ravens — 9-6
6. Tennessee Titans — 8-6
7. Buffalo Bills — 8-6
8. LA Chargers — 7-7

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Titans at Jaguars

Ravens at Chiefs


NFC Seeding

The Division Leaders:

1. Philadelphia Eagles** — 12-2
2. Minnesota Vikings** — 12-3
3. Los Angeles Rams — 10-4
4. New Orleans Saints — 10-4

The Wild Card Contenders:

5. Carolina Panthers — 10-4
6. Atlanta Falcons — 8-5
7. Seattle Seahawks — 8-6
8. Detroit Lions — 8-6

Potential Wild Card Matchups:

Falcons at Rams

Panthers at Saints

*= Clinched playoff spot
**= Clinched division