Home Sport NFL playoff picture: Christmas Day edition following Ravens-49ers

NFL playoff picture: Christmas Day edition following Ravens-49ers

by News7

Merry Christmas NFL fans!

And Merry Christmas to you reading from the Detroit area.

The Detroit Lions locked down their first division title since 1993, thanks to their win over the Minnesota Vikings. Thanks to results around the rest of the conference, the Lions are now sitting second in the NFC.

Over in the AFC, the Miami Dolphins clinched a playoff spot of their own, with a field goal on the final play of the game to beat the Dallas Cowboys. However, they have yet to clinch the division, as the Buffalo Bills are still alive.

And now in a playoff spot as well.

Here is the up-to-the-minute playoff picture, ahead of the Christmas Eve primetime game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

This piece will be updated following the conclusion of the Patriots-Broncos game, and then following the three games on Christmas Day.

NFC
In right now
1. San Francisco 49ers (11-4) – z
Remaining games: at Commanders, Rams

2. Philadelphia Eagles (11-4) – x
Remaining games: Cardinals, at Giants

3. Detroit Lions (11-4) – z
Remaining games: at Cowboys, Vikings

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
Remaining games: Saints, at Panthers

5. Dallas Cowboys (10-5) – x
Remaining games: Lions, at Commanders

6. Los Angeles Rams (8-7)
Remaining games: at Giants, at 49ers

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-7)
Remaining games: Steelers, at Cardinals

In the hunt
8. Minnesota Vikings (7-8)
Remaining games: Packers, at Lions

9. Atlanta Falcons (7-8)
Remaining games: at Bears, at Saints

10. Green Bay Packers (7-8)
Remaining games: at Vikings, Bears

11. New Orleans Saints (7-8)
Remaining games: at Buccaneers, Falcons

z – Clinched division
x – Clinched playoff spot

Monday night update after Ravens-49ers: Monday night’s loss to the Ravens means the 49ers have left the door open for the Eagles and the Lions to secure home-field advantage in the NFC.

Monday Eagles-Giants update: The Eagles’ win over the Giants might not calm an uneasy fan base, but it did certainly improve their playoff standing. Philadelphia is now back in the No. 2 spot in the conference, and they control their destiny when it comes to the division.

Both the Eagles and the Lions have 11-4 records, but Philadelphia has a tiebreaker advantage at the moment. They have not played each other, and both have matching 7-3 records in the conference. The next tiebreaker is winning percentage against common opponents, with a minimum of four common opponents. Both teams have played Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Seattle, and both teams are 3-1 in those games.

The next tiebreaker? Strength of victory, which is the combined win-loss record among the clubs that both teams have beaten. This finally breaks the tie, with the Eagles having the advantage.

Previous updates: Christmas came early for Lions fans, as Detroit clinched their first division title 1993. They are now in the second spot, thanks to the Cowboys’ loss to the Dolphins. Dallas slides out of the division lead, and into a Wild Card spot, with their loss to Miami. Cowboys fans will have their eyes on the Eagles’ game, as Philadelphia could inch closer to the division title with a win over New York.

The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks are the other two Wild Card teams in the mix right now, with matching 8-7 records. The Rams have the tiebreaker over the Seahawks due to their season sweep of Seattle.

As for the mix of teams at 7-8, the Vikings come out on top after tiebreakers are applied. Division tiebreakers are initially used to get down to one team in each division. The Vikings have the head-to-head advantage over Green Bay, which eliminates the Packers. The Falcons have the same advantage over New Orleans, which eliminates the Saints. Then Minnesota’s win over Atlanta gives the Vikings the eight spot.

Between the Falcons, Packers, and Saints, the Saints are again eliminated due to their head-to-head record against Atlanta. Between the Falcons and the Packers, the Falcons have the advantage thanks to their win earlier in the season. So Atlanta slots in ninth.

Between the Packers and the Saints, the Packers have the advantage thanks to their win back in Week 3. So Green Bay is in the tenth spot, and the Saints have dropped to 11th.

NFC playoff matchups if the postseason started today
If the NFC playoffs began today, these would be the three matchups on Wild Card Weekend:

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The San Francisco 49ers would have the first-overall seed, and the first-round bye, in the NFC.

AFC
In right now
1. Baltimore Ravens (12-3) – x
Remaining games: Dolphins, Steelers

2. Miami Dolphins (11-4) – x
Remaining games: at Ravens, Bills

3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-6)
Remaining games: Bengals, at Chargers

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7)
Remaining games: Panthers, at Titans

5. Cleveland Browns (10-5)
Remaining games: Jets, at Bengals

6. Buffalo Bills (9-6)
Remaining games: Patriots, at Dolphins

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-7)
Remaining games: Raiders, Texans

In the hunt
8. Houston Texans (8-7)
Remaining games: Titans, at Colts

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)
Remaining games: at Seahawks, at Ravens

10. Cincinnati Bengals (8-7)
Remaining games: at Chiefs, Browns

11. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)
Remaining games: at Colts, Broncos

12. Denver Broncos (7-8)
Remaining games: Chargers, at Raiders

z- Clinched division
x – Clinched playoff spot

Monday night update after Ravens-49ers: Thanks to their win over the 49ers, the Ravens remain atop the AFC, and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win at home over the Dolphins next week.

Christmas Day update after Raiders-Chiefs: The Raiders’ upset of the Chiefs kept their slim playoff chances alive, and denied Kansas City a shot at clinching the division. Furthermore, it moves Las Vegas into 11th in the AFC conference standings, dropping Denver down to 12th. The Raiders and the Broncos have matching 7-8 records, but the Raiders’ win over Denver back in Week 1 gives them the tiebreaker. The two teams play in Week 18.

Sunday night update: The Broncos’ surprising loss to the Patriots put a huge dent in their playoff chances. They now sit 11th in the AFC, needing to get ahead of a number of teams to get into playoff position. While they have two winnable games remaining, they will need a lot of help to get into the playoffs.

Previous update: The Jaguars are fading, but are still on top in the AFC South even with their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Losses by the Colts and the Texans means the Jaguars still own tiebreakers over both teams.

The Buffalo Bills are now in a playoff position, sitting in the sixth spot with a 9-6 record. They now control their playoff destiny, which seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago.

However, four teams are currently tied with 8-7 records: The Colts, the Texans, the Steelers, and the Bengals. Denver can join them later tonight with a win over the Patriots. But between those four teams, Indianapolis comes out on top for the seventh and final spot, at least at the moment.

Under the tiebreaking rules, division tiebreakers are used first, to “eliminate” a team until just one is left in each division. Pittsburgh eliminates Cincinnati thanks to a season sweep of the Bengals. Indianapolis eliminates Houston thanks to their win over the Texans back in Week 2. Those two teams play in Week 18, which could be a win-or-go-home contest.

Then between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, the Colts are in, thanks to their win over the Steelers back in Week 15.

That leaves Pittsburgh, Houston, and Cincinnati. The Steelers again eliminate the Bengals, leaving just Pittsburgh and Houston. The Texans take the ninth spot, due to Houston’s win over the Steelers in Week 4.

Pittsburgh then slides into the tenth spot, ahead of the Bengals, due to their season sweep of Cincinnati.

AFC playoff matchups if the postseason started right now
If the AFC playoffs began today, these would be the three matchups on Wild Card Weekend:

Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Baltimore Ravens would have the first-overall seed, and the first-round bye, in the AFC. Their game with the Miami Dolphins in Week 17 certainly looms large.

This will be updated after the games on Christmas Day.

Source : SBNation

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