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2021 NFL playoff picture, standings through Week 13: Patriots No. 1 in AFC; Washington emerges in wild NFC

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Week 13 certainly provided some more craziness in the NFL, a microcosm of how wild the season has been. For the first time since 2000, there have been nine games won by teams over an opponent with at least four more victories than them at this point in the season — the latest being the Detroit Lions upsetting the Minnesota Vikings (knocking Minnesota out of the playoffs for the time being). 

Washington has emerged into the NFC playoff race as winners of four straight games, taking over the No. 6 seed after being left for dead in the playoff hunt a month ago. Twelve teams remain over .500 in the AFC — with the Miami Dolphins looking to make it 13 in two weeks (bye week in Week 14) — as the New England Patriots took over first in the conference with a huge victory over the Bills Monday night.

This playoff race is getting more unpredictable by the week. Below, you can find a division-by-division breakdown of the current standings, how each club performed in Week 13 and what they have next on the schedule.

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AFC East

New England Patriots

What to know: The Patriots take over the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a huge win over the Bills on Monday night. New England leads Tennessee, Baltimore, and Kansas City by a half game in the conference standings as the Patriots head into their bye week. 

Remaining schedule: Bye Week, at Colts, vs. Bills, vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins 

Buffalo Bills

What to know: Monday’s loss to New England puts Buffalo at the No. 7 seed in the AFC, just a half game ahead of Pittsburgh from being out of the playoffs. The Bills lose the conference record tiebreaker to Los Angeles (No. 5 seed) and Cincinnati (No. 6 seed). 

Remaining schedule: at Buccaneers, vs. Panthers, at Patriots, vs. Falcons, vs. Jets 

Miami Dolphins

What to know: The Dolphins have won five in a row to get back in the playoff race, but Miami still has some work to do. Miami is 13th in the AFC standings and are 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot (Cincinnati holds it) with the bye week coming. 

Remaining schedule: Bye Week, vs. Jets, at Saints, at Titans, vs. Patriots

New York Jets

What to know: The Jets are 14th in the conference and are in position to have the No. 4 pick in the draft. They also have Seattle’s pick — which is currently No. 5. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Saints, at Dolphins, vs. Jaguars, vs. Buccaneers, at Bills

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

What to know: Baltimore stays in first place in the AFC North thanks to Cincinnati falling to the Los Angeles Chargers, but three teams in the AFC North are separated by a game. Since the Ravens beat the Chiefs, they have the No. 3 seed in the conference. They don’t play a team that’s under .500 the rest of the year. 

Remaining schedule: at Browns, vs. Packers, at Bengals, vs. Rams, vs. Steelers 

Cincinnati Bengals

What to know: A loss to the Chargers keeps the Bengals out of the AFC North lead — as Cincinnati fell to the No. 6 seed in the AFC. The Bengals are just a half game ahead of Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot, but hold a conference record tiebreaker over the Bills. The loss to the Chargers cost Cincinnati possession of the No. 5 seed in the AFC (head-to-head tiebreaker).

Remaining schedule:  at 49ers, at Broncos, vs. Ravens, vs. Chiefs, at Browns 

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Pittsburgh Steelers

What to know: The Steelers are back in the playoff hunt with their huge victory over the Ravens. Pittsburgh is the No. 8 seed in the AFC, just a half game behind Buffalo of the final playoff spot in the conference.

Remaining schedule: at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Chiefs, vs. Browns, at Ravens 

Cleveland Browns 

What to know: The Browns were off this week and are 11th in the conference, one game out of the final playoff spot. They own a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Broncos. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Ravens, vs. Raiders, at Packers, at Steelers, vs. Bengals 

AFC South

Tennessee Titans 

What to know:  The Titans were off this week and are the No. 2 seed in the AFC with the Patriots beating the Bills. Tennessee holds the tiebreaker over Baltimore based on having a better win percentage in conference games and the head-to-head tiebreaker over Kansas City. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Jaguars, at Steelers, vs. 49ers, vs. Dolphins, at Texans 

Indianapolis Colts

What to know: The Colts get back to over .500 with a shutout win over the Texans as they head into their bye week. Indianapolis is the No. 9 seed in the AFC, a half game out of the final playoff spot. 

Remaining schedule:  Bye week, vs. Patriots, at Cardinals, vs. Raiders, at Jaguars

Houston Texans

What to know: The Texans are eliminated from the playoffs — the only team eliminated from the postseason in the NFL. Yet they’re in third place, ahead of the Jaguars! Houston has a worse conference record than Jacksonville and are only ahead of the Jaguars based on a Week 1 victory over them. They currently have the No. 3 pick in the draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Seahawks, at Jaguars, vs. Chargers, at 49ers, vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

What to know: The Jaguars are last in the AFC and are currently slated to have the second overall pick in the draft. A Patriots win Monday eliminates the Jaguars from the playoffs. 

Remaining schedule: at Titans, vs. Texans, at Jets, at Patriots, vs. Colts

AFC West

Chiefs

8

4

0

.636

+44

Chargers

7

5

0

.545

-1

Raiders

6

6

0

.545

-38

Broncos

6

6

0

.545

+19

Kansas City Chiefs

What to know: The Chiefs remain in first place in the AFC West with their win over the Broncos. Kansas City’s losses to Baltimore and Tennessee are why the Chiefs are the No. 4 seed in the conference standings — even though all three teams have the same record. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders, at Chargers, vs. Steelers, at Bengals, at Broncos

Los Angeles Chargers

What to know: A huge win over the Bengals has the Chargers as the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs (Chargers now own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincinnati and have a better conference record over Buffalo). Los Angeles is still a game behind Kansas City for the division lead, but only a half game ahead of Pittsburgh from being out of the playoffs. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Giants, vs. Chiefs, at Texans, vs. Broncos, at Raiders 

Las Vegas Raiders

What to know: A tough loss to Washington has Vegas still out of the postseason. Vegas is a game out and 10th in the conference standings, owning a tiebreaker over the Browns (conference record) and Broncos (head-to-head win). The Raiders face the Browns and Broncos in two of their next three games, part of a schedule which they don’t play a team under .500 the rest of the year. 

Remaining schedule: at Chiefs, at Browns, vs. Broncos, at Colts, vs. Chargers

Denver Broncos

What to know: A tough loss to the Chiefs puts the Broncos two games out of the division lead, making the best possible way into the playoffs via the wild card. Denver is a game out of the final playoff spot, but 12th in the conference thanks to losses to Vegas and Cleveland this year. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Lions, vs. Bengals, at Raiders, at Chargers, vs. Chiefs 

NFC East

Cowboys

8

4

0

.667

+86

Washington

6

6

0

.500

-51

Eagles

6

7

.462

+46

Giants

4

8

.333

-62

Dallas Cowboys

What to know: The Cowboys remain two games ahead of Washington for first place in the NFC East, with two of their next three games against the Football Team. They sit No. 4 in the NFC standings and have a head-to-head loss to Tampa Bay (third in conference). 

Remaining schedule: at Washington, at Giants, vs. Washington, vs. Cardinals, at Eagles 

Washington Football Team 

What to know: A win over the Raiders has Washington No. 6 in the NFC playoffs with the tiebreaker over San Francisco (better win percentage in conference games). Washington isn’t out of the NFC East race yet, playing the Cowboys twice in the next three weeks. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Cowboys, at Eagles, at Cowboys, vs. Eagles, at Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

What to know: The Eagles stay alive in the NFC playoff race with a win over the Jets as they head into their bye week. They’re a half game behind Washington for the No. 6 spot and also a half game behind San Francisco for the No. 7 spot (both teams have same record). The Eagles lost a head-to-head matchup with the 49ers, but play the Football team twice in three games coming out of the bye. Philadelphia is No. 8 in the NFC standings. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Washington, vs. Giants, at Washington, vs. Cowboys

New York Giants 

What to know: The Giants are 13th in the NFC standings and two games out of the final playoff spot. They hold the tiebreaker over the Bears and Seahawks based on having a better win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Chargers, vs. Cowboys, at Eagles, at Bears, vs. Washington

NFC North

Packers

9

3

0

.750

+41

Vikings

5

7

0

.417

+3

Bears

4

8

0

.333

-86

Lions

1

10

1

.125

-113

Green Bay Packers

What to know: The Packers were off this week, but remain the No. 2 seed in the NFC after having a better conference record than the Buccaneers. Green Bay wins the NFC North with a win over the Bears and a Vikings loss to the Steelers. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Bears, at Ravens, vs. Browns, vs. Vikings, at Lions

Minnesota Vikings

What to know: The Vikings playoff hopes took a huge hit with a loss to the previously winless Lions. Minnesota is on the outside looking in with the NFC, falling to the No. 9 seed at 5-7. They have the tiebreaker over the Panthers based on a head-to-head win. Carolina holds the division tiebreaker over Atlanta and New Orleans based on head-to-head wins — as all these teams sit at 5-7. Minnesota is a game out of the final playoff spot in the conference, with an uphill battle to climb. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers, at Bears, vs. Rams, at Packers, vs. Bears

Chicago Bears

What to know: The Bears are 14th in the conference standings, two games out of the final playoff spot. They have a conference tiebreaker over the Seahawks based on a better conference win percentage (lost similar tiebreaker to Giants). 

Remaining schedule: at Packers, vs. Vikings, at Seahawks, vs. Giants, at Vikings 

Detroit Lions

What to know: The Lions got a win — and aren’t eliminated from the postseaosn yet! Detroit is in prime position for the No. 1 draft pick with a game in hand over Jacksonville. 

Remaining schedule: at Broncos, vs. Cardinals, at Falcons, at Seahawks, vs. Packers

NFC South

Buccaneers

9

3

0

.750

+107

Panthers

5

7

0

.417

-17

Falcons

5

7

0

.417

-116

Saints

5

7

0

.417

-2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to know: The Buccaneers can clinch the NFC South with a win over the Bills AND the Panthers lose to or tie the Falcons, AND the Saints lose to or tie the Jets. They are the No. 3 seed in the NFC as Green Bay has the better conference record. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Bills, vs. Saints, at Panthers, at Jets, vs. Panthers

Carolina Panthers

What to know: The Panthers are 10th in the NFC standings after being idle this week. They lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to Minnesota, yet hold the head-to-head division tiebreakers over Atlanta and New Orleans. They’re a game out of the final playoff spot. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Falcons, at Bills, vs. Buccaneers, at Saints, at Buccaneers

Atlanta Falcons

What to know: The Falcons are the No. 11 seed in the conference have have an uphill battle toward the postseason — despite being a game out. They lost a tiebreaker to the Panthers based on a head-to-head meeting, but hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints. Atlanta can’t be at No. 9 since they lost the tiebreaker to Carolina, which lost a tiebreaker to Minnesota. 

Remaining schedule: at Panthers, at 49ers, vs. Lions, at Bills, vs. Saints

New Orleans Saints

What to know: The Saints are reeling with their fifth straight loss, falling to 12th in the conference standings. They lost a four-way tiebreaker even though they have a better conference record than Minnesota, Carolina, and Atlanta. Head-to-head losses to Carolina AND Atlanta eliminates New Orleans from the conference record tiebreaker with Minnesota. 

Remaining schedule: at Jets, at Buccaneers, vs. Dolphins, vs. Panthers, at Falcons

NFC West

Cardinals

10

2

0

.833

+119

Rams

8

4

0

.667

+66

49ers

6

6

0

.500

+25

Seahawks

4

8

0

.333

-10

Arizona Cardinals

What to know: The Cardinals are the only team in football with 10 wins — and hold the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Green Bay has a win over Arizona, yet the Packers are a game back. Arizona leads Los Angeles by two games in the NFC West and can essentially seal the division title with a win next week. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Rams, at Lions, vs. Colts, at Cowboys, vs. Seahawks

Los Angeles Rams

What to know:  The Rams are two games up on the final playoff spot in the NFC, comfortably holding the No. 5 seed in the conference. They need a win over Arizona this week to stay in the division title hunt.  

Remaining schedule: at Cardinals, vs. Seahawks, at Vikings, at Ravens, vs. 49ers

San Francisco 49ers

What to know: The 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks hurts, yet San Francisco still holds the final playoff spot in the NFC — leading Philadelphia by a half a game (and the 49ers beat the Eagles in Week 2). Washington owns the tiebreaker for the No. 6 seed based on having a better win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Falcons, at Titans, vs. Texans, at Rams

Seattle Seahawks

What to know: Seattle is 15th in the conference standings, losing conference record tiebreakers to Chicago and New York. The Seahawks are still two games out of the final playoff spot in the conference — and have a huge battle to climb. 

Remaining schedule: at Texans, at Rams, vs. Bears, vs. Lions, at Cardinals 


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