The NFL playoff picture 2021 was released to the public on December 1, 2020. The National Football Conference has a big lead over the American Football Conference this era with an even bigger lead coming next season.
The “nfl playoff bracket 2021-22” is the current NFL playoff picture. The playoffs are projected to start on December 28th, 2021 and end on January 17th, 2022.
And now we’ve got two. The Cowboys have joined the Packers as the second NFL club to secure a postseason spot in 2021. Yes, we are aware that the Cowboys were not among the teams on the field in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday night. However, the Cowboys’ postseason position was assured by the 49ers’ defeat to the Titans, according to league playoff scenarios released Thursday morning. The Titans haven’t secured anything yet, but if the Colts lose against the Cardinals on Sunday, they might win the AFC South.
The following is a sneak peek at our weekly assessment of the NFL playoff picture, which includes ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) plus a dash of our own intuition to give you a feel of the stakes. For a few clubs, we’ve weaved playoff and/or division-clinching scenarios, and we’ll update you on how things went on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Note: A club with an X has clinched a playoff spot, a team with a Y has clinched its division, and a team with a Z has earned a first-round bye.
AFC | NFC | AFC | NFC | AFC | NFC | AFC | NFC
99 percent likelihood of making the playoffs according to FPI. FPI’s odds of winning the division are 93 percent.
The Chiefs were 3-4 at one point, but have since won seven straight games and are producing greater outcomes — if not play-to-play efficiency — than any other club in the NFL. They no longer have to worry about losing the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Chargers, and with a victory over the Steelers and a Chargers defeat to the Texans this weekend, they can secure the AFC West. According to ESPN’s FPI, they have a 53 percent probability of getting a first-round bye. With a victory this week, the Chiefs can potentially secure a postseason spot.
The remaining games are against the Steelers, at the Bengals, and at the Broncos.
Chances of making the playoffs according to FPI: 97 percent FPI’s odds of winning the division are 91 percent. Chargers against. Patriots is the current predicted first-round matchup.
Before Thursday night’s comeback triumph against the 49ers, the Titans had lost three of their previous four games. The victory moved them up one position in the AFC rankings, but a win against the Bills on Sunday will put them ahead of them. In any case, a Colts defeat against the Cardinals on Sunday would give the Titans a chance to capture the AFC South. Even if the Colts win, the Titans will qualify for the playoffs if the Dolphins, Bills, Broncos, Browns, and Steelers all lose, or if the Dolphins, Bills, Broncos, Browns, and Ravens all lose.
The remaining schedule includes games against the Dolphins and the Texans.
Chances of making the playoffs according to FPI: 98 percent FPI’s odds of winning the division are 55%. vs. Bills is the current predicted first-round matchup.
The Patriots’ seven-game winning run was interrupted in Week 15 when they were defeated by the Colts, knocking them out of first place in the AFC. It also set up a pivotal AFC East matchup on Sunday, with the Patriots hosting the Bills, with the victor clinching the division title. It won’t be a legitimate AFC East title game since neither club can win the division by itself. However, if the Patriots win and the Dolphins lose to the Saints on Monday, the Patriots will have clinched the division. To secure a playoff berth, the Patriots must win and the Raiders and Chargers must lose, or the Colts and Bengals must lose, or the Colts, Ravens, and Steelers must lose, or the Colts and Chargers must lose, or the Ravens, Browns, and Steelers must lose.
The remaining games are against the Bills, the Jaguars, and the Dolphins.
FPI’s odds of making the playoffs are 53%. FPI’s odds of winning the division are 41%. vs. Colts is the current predicted first-round matchup.
The Bengals broke a two-game losing slide and took over first place in the AFC North. They hold a temporary head-to-head tiebreaker against the Ravens, but the teams will play on Sunday, as luck would have it. With a victory, neither club would secure the division championship, but it will be a high-stakes game for both. Because of the permanent head-to-head tiebreaker, the Bengals’ one-game win/loss advantage in the win/loss column will become a two-game lead if they win. So if they win their remaining games, they’ll win the AFC North.
The remaining games are against the Ravens, the Chiefs, and the Browns.
Chances of making the playoffs according to FPI: 83 percent FPI’s odds of winning the division are 9 percent. The Bengals are expected to play at home in the first round.
The Colts are still in contention for the AFC South title. A division win is still a distant shot for the Colts (the FPI gives them a 9% probability), but they aren’t out yet. Whatever the case may be, they should be flying high. They have an 83 percent probability of making the playoffs, and they currently hold the top AFC wild-card slot.
The remaining games are against the Cardinals, the Raiders, and the Jaguars.
Chances of making the playoffs according to FPI: 72 percent FPI’s odds of winning the division are 6%. The Patriots are expected to play at home in the first round.
The Chargers are in strong shape to make the playoffs as a wild-card team. It would be their second playoff appearance in the last eight years. Last week, they had a genuine opportunity to pass the Chiefs in the AFC West, and it’s still statistically possible moving forward, but they’ll need assistance from a Chiefs team that has a lot of experience closing down playoff positions in recent years.
The remaining games are against the Texans, the Broncos, and the Raiders.
Chances of making the playoffs according to FPI: 84 percent FPI’s odds of winning the division are 45 percent. The Titans are expected to play at home in the first round.
The Bills now possess the common-games tiebreaker over the Ravens. The Bills have a good chance of making the playoffs according to the FPI, and their game against the Patriots provides them a chance to take over the AFC East lead. The Patriots are the clear favorites in that game for a variety of reasons, but the Bills would consider themselves lucky if you told them a few weeks ago that they would have a chance to recapture the division lead in late December. If they win their remaining games, they will win the AFC East.
The remaining games are against the Patriots, the Falcons, and the Jets.
In the search for the AFC championship
Ravens of Baltimore (8-6)
Coach John Harbaugh has been driven to try for a game-winning 2-point play twice in the last three weeks rather than risk overtime because the Ravens have been ravaged by injuries and COVID-19 defeats. They’ve already dropped two straight games, putting them on a playoff-threatening three-game losing run. The Ravens will have an opportunity to turn things around against the Bengals, but the FPI gives them just a 55 percent probability of making the playoffs and only a 35 percent chance of winning their division.
Steelers of Pittsburgh (7-6-1)
The Steelers’ difficulty level is set to rise. Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, the hottest team in football, is not the kind of game they want to play while attempting to remain in the race. Pittsburgh has an 18% probability of making the playoffs, according to the FPI.
Raiders of Las Vegas (7-7)
The Raiders now have a 10% chance of making the playoffs, according to the FPI. All victories are equal in the rankings, but after seeing the Raiders struggle to beat a squad of Browns backups last week, you’re probably not optimistic about their prospects against the Broncos, Colts, and Chargers.
The Miami Dolphins are a professional football team based in (7-7)
Give the Dolphins credit for bringing this topic up in the first place. They’ve bounced back from a seven-game losing run with a six-game winning streak, and they face the Saints on Monday in another winnable matchup. Their odds of making the playoffs are still slim, according to the FPI, at 6%, but they still exist.
Browns of Cleveland (7-7)
The AFC North is very competitive, and the Browns will have a chance to reclaim the lead. Cleveland has a 16 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to the FPI.
Broncos, Denver (7-7)
According to the FPI, the Broncos’ playoff prospects are at 9 percent. They have a winnable game against the Raiders this week, but their playoff prospects are grim with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) likely out.
FPI’s prospects of making the playoffs are now clinched. FPI’s prospects of winning the division are little to none.
The Packers’ Week 15 victory in Baltimore earned them the NFL’s inaugural postseason spot, as well as the NFC North title. They’ll now focus on securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs; they’re 6-0 at Lambeau Field this season and 19-3 in three regular-season appearances under coach Matt LaFleur. Their next two games will be played at home, and their season will conclude in Detroit. So it’s no surprise that the FPI gives them a 72 percent probability of securing the top seed.
The rest of the schedule is as follows: Browns at Browns, Vikings at Vikings, Lions at Lions.
Here’s how the playoff bracket currently stands, as well as the possible outcomes. • Playoff picture and potential clinchers « • ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine is interactive » • Football Power Index » | Standings
FPI’s prospects of making the playoffs are now clinched. FPI’s odds of winning the division are 99 percent. vs. Vikings is the current anticipated first-round matchup.
The Cowboys secured a postseason berth thanks to the 49ers’ defeat on Thursday night. Dallas, on the other hand, has loftier ambitions. After losing three of their previous four games, the Cowboys have won three in a row. Due to a stronger conference record, they have moved ahead of the Cardinals and Buccaneers, and they remain the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East. With a win against Washington on Sunday night, they can capture the division. They can also win the division even if they lose to Washington, as long as the Eagles lose to the Giants or the Cowboys win a strength-of-victory tiebreaker against the Eagles.
The remaining games are against the Washington Redskins, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
99 percent likelihood of making the playoffs according to FPI. FPI’s odds of winning the division are 99 percent. vs. 49ers is the current predicted first-round matchup.
The Buccaneers were temporarily overtaken by the Cowboys last weekend, but with a victory on Sunday, they can capture the NFC South. How will injuries to receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as well as running back Leonard Fournette, impact them in Week 15? Regardless of the outcome, the Buccaneers can secure a postseason spot even if they lose. They’ll do so if the Vikings and Eagles lose, or if the Vikings lose and the Cowboys win, or if the Vikings lose and the Cowboys secure at least a tie with the Eagles in their strength of victory tiebreaker.
Panthers at Panthers, Jets at Jets, Panthers at Panthers, Panthers at Panthers, Panthers at Panthers, Panthers at Panthers, Panthers at Panthers, Panthers at
99 percent likelihood of making the playoffs according to FPI. FPI’s odds of winning the division are 64%. vs. Rams is the current predicted first-round matchup.
The Cardinals are heading the wrong way. They’ve sunk as low as they could in the NFC rankings, but they’re still in first place in the NFC West. But, provided they can get back on track, the damage isn’t as bad as it might be. With a victory or defeat by the Eagles or Saints, they may secure a postseason spot. However, there are no realistic options for winning the NFC West in Week 16.
The remaining games are against the Colts, at the Cowboys, and against the Seahawks.
99 percent likelihood of making the playoffs according to FPI. FPI’s odds of winning the division are 35%. The current first-round matchup is at the Cardinals.
The Rams tied the Cardinals in the NFC West with their win against the Seahawks on Tuesday, but they still behind the Cardinals in the standings due to Arizona’s higher winning % in the division. The Rams’ FPI odds of winning the division are at 35%. They also have a few options for securing a postseason berth this weekend. Simply put, they’ll be guaranteed a position if they defeat the Vikings. Even if they lose in Minnesota, the Rams can still secure a playoff berth if the Saints and Eagles also lose. The Rams, on the other hand, are maintaining the pressure on the Cardinals.
The remaining games are against the Vikings, Ravens, and 49ers.
Chances of making the playoffs according to FPI: 83 percent FPI’s odds of winning the division are 1%. Buccaneers versus Buccaneers is the current anticipated first-round game.
Despite their setback on Thursday night, the 49ers are still in the hunt for a wild-card spot in the NFC. The 49ers will drop to No. 7 if both the Vikings and the Saints win on Sunday, but there does not seem to be a scenario in which they would be pushed out of the top seven. The Niners are also lucky to have the Texans as their next opponent. They don’t deserve to be in the playoffs if they can’t defeat the Texans at home in Week 17.
The remaining games are against the Texans and against the Rams.
Chances of making the playoffs according to FPI: 30% FPI’s prospects of winning the division are little to none. Cowboys vs. Cowboys is the current first-round game.
The Vikings have a tiebreaker edge over the Eagles in common games and a conference record advantage over the Saints. Despite being eliminated from the NFC North division competition, they are presently seeded seventh and have a 30% chance of reaching the playoffs.
The remaining games are against the Rams, at the Packers, and at the Bears.
In the chase for the NFC Championship
Eagles of Philadelphia (7-7)
The Eagles maintained their foot in the door of the playoffs, and their FPI odds are currently at 34%. They face the Giants in another game that they can win.
The New Orleans Saints are a professional football team based in New (7-7)
The Saints won a big game in Week 15 that will benefit them in a variety of tiebreakers, including division and conference record, and it’s worth noting that they don’t have another game against a club with a winning record on the schedule. The Dolphins are up next in New Orleans’ FPI playoff odds, which are at 47 percent.
Football Team of Washington (6-8)
The Redskins have a fast turnaround game against the Cowboys, and their FPI playoff odds have dropped to 7%.
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