NFL playoff picture 2021
The Philadelphia Eagles are the front runners to win their first Super Bowl this upcoming season. They will face off against the New England Patriots in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game, but it may not be as easy for them this time around because they have lost star running back Jay Ajayi to injury.
The “nfl playoff picture 2022” is a prediction for the NFL playoffs in 2021. The team with the best record will win the Super Bowl and be crowned champions of the NFL.
Welcome to our NFL playoff picture, which is being released on Thanksgiving Day. We have a lot to talk about if you merely kept one eye on the games, or even if you watched them intently. The results of two meetings threw both leagues’ playoff rankings into disarray. The following are some of the key takeaways:
The Buffalo Bills have reclaimed control of the AFC East, at least for the time being. Of course, if the New England Patriots defeat the Tennessee Titans this weekend, the Bills may be back among the wild-card candidates.
The Buffalo Bills’ victory against the New Orleans Saints propelled the 49ers into the NFC wild-card competition. They’re presently ranked No. 7 in the NFC, and the Saints are looking up at the NFC field after their fourth straight defeat.
The Raiders’ victory against the Cowboys ended their mid-season downturn and placed them back in position to enter the AFC wild-card race if one of the current contenders falters.
The Cowboys’ NFC East advantage isn’t in jeopardy just yet, but the Eagles’ surge in the division battle can no longer be overlooked.
We’ve updated those circumstances, as well as others, in the sections below. As Week 12 progresses, expect another update following Sunday’s games.
AFC | NFC | AFC | NFC | AFC | NFC | AFC | NFC
The Titans, who won seven of their first nine games despite having the NFL’s most challenging schedule during that span, have personified this unexpected season. They went on to play a much easier schedule after that, only to lose a heartbreaking home defeat to the Texans in Week 11. The loss enabled the Colts to close the gap in the AFC South, cutting the Titans’ advantage to two games with six games remaining. (Tennessee defeated Indianapolis in each of their head-to-head meetings.) Whether or not the Colts can catch them, it’s tough to see the Titans as a clear AFC favorite when two of their defeats have come to the Texans and Jets, who have a combined 4-16 record. Now they must face the Patriots, perhaps the league’s hottest team, on Sunday.
After that, it’s on to the Patriots.
Even though quarterback Lamar Jackson was out of the lineup in Week 11, the Ravens were able to keep their grip on first place in the AFC North. They haven’t looked good in a while, with losses to the Bengals and Dolphins, as well as an overtime victory against the Vikings, in the last month. But, who knows, maybe that’s how things will turn out for them.
The Browns are up next.
Will a convincing victory at the Superdome on Thursday be enough to get the Bills out of their midseason funk? They had lost two of their previous three games before Week 12, including an inexplicable loss to the Jaguars and a 26-point loss to the Colts. The Bills had best hope they’ve sorted it out by now, since they’re about to enter a difficult stretch of their schedule. They’ll face the Patriots twice in four weeks, with a game against the Buccaneers thrown in for good measure. But, at least for a few days, they’ve regained control of the AFC East.
The Patriots are up next (Week 13)
The Chiefs are coming off their fourth straight win, a stretch that has propelled them from.500 to the top of the AFC West. There seems to be little question that the Chiefs will be one of the seven teams representing the AFC in the playoffs, and that they will win the AFC West.
The Broncos are up next (Week 13)
The Patriots recovered from a 1-3 start in less than two months, momentarily supplanting the Bills atop the AFC East. With a Thanksgiving victory against the Saints, the Bills recovered first place, but the Patriots will reclaim it if they defeat the Titans in Week 12. They’ve won five straight games and six of their last seven, giving them a division lead and putting them within striking distance of the AFC’s top spot. It’s all right in front of their eyes now. The Patriots have a fortunate home game this week against the AFC-leading Titans before facing the Bills twice in a three-game span next month. If you’re analyzing playoff seedings based on how teams are currently doing, it’s impossible to overlook the Patriots as the AFC’s best-positioned club (right now, of course).
The Titans are up next.
There was a moment when many people were concerned about Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow’s health as he recovered from a knee injury last season. We can claim that the anxiety was basically unwarranted after ten games. When the season started, just getting through 10 games seemed unlikely, but he has the Bengals’ offense humming, most notably with a 32-point outburst in Week 11’s win over the Raiders. The Bengals have a 50-50 chance of reaching the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), but in a wide-open AFC, they have placed themselves in a position to be in the discussion in December.
The Steelers are up next.
In Week 11, the Chargers did all they could to slip out of the AFC’s top seven, but in the most telling indicator yet that they are turning a cycle under coach Brandon Staley and quarterback Justin Herbert, they stopped doing Chargers things long enough to recover the lead. The Chargers still have a lot of questions, most notably regarding their special teams, but they proved they are a club to be reckoned with in the AFC playoff chase.
The Broncos are up next.
In the search for the AFC championship
Steelers of Pittsburgh (5-4-1)
The Steelers have gone winless in their last two games and have dropped out of the top seven teams in the AFC. When they go to Cincinnati this weekend, things won’t get any easier.
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional football team based in Indianapolis (6-5)
The Colts have won three straight games and five of their last six, but the quality of the opponents they defeated previous to Week 11 was not very outstanding. With a rout in Buffalo, all of that changed. The Colts are on the right track, and the Buccaneers will be their next challenge.
Raiders of Las Vegas (6-5)
The Raiders’ post-Jon Gruden fall seemed to be well begun during a three-game losing run before Thursday’s game against the Cowboys, and we can only applaud them. They went into AT&T Stadium and won an attrition battle, and now they have ten days to prepare for a winnable home game against Washington in Week 13.
Browns of Cleveland (6-5)
Given the evident effect quarterback Baker Mayfield’s left shoulder injury is having on his play, it’s remarkable that the Browns have won six games. Oh, and don’t forget about Odell Beckham Jr.’s tumultuous presence and eventual departure. The Browns are the team to select to drop out of the wild-card competition due to tiredness. They’re planning a road trip to Baltimore.
Broncos, Denver (5-5)
The Broncos will return from their bye with a.500 record, but games against the Chargers and Chiefs will likely drop them out of contention for the AFC wild-card spot.
Let us salute the Cardinals, who have come a long way from their last-second defeat to the Packers in Week 8. They are 2-1 with victories over division foes San Francisco and Seattle despite missing quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals are just the fourth team in NFL history to open a season 6-0 on the road, and their MVP-caliber quarterback is expected to return sooner rather than later. They are a virtual guarantee to enter the playoffs, according to FPI, and have a better than 90% probability of winning the NFC West.
After that, it’s on to the Bears (Week 13)
Here’s how the playoff bracket currently stands, as well as the possible outcomes. • Who’s in the playoff picture right now? • The Playoff Machine on ESPN » • Football Power Index » | Standings
The Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers, are a credible Super Bowl contender in most scenarios. But what can we say about a Packers team that loses important players on a weekly basis due to injury? They’re still in great condition in the NFC North, with a 212-game lead over the Vikings and a Week 17 clash at Lambeau Field approaching. The Packers’ depth, at the very least, will be put to the test during December football.
The Rams are up next.
On Monday night, the reigning Super Bowl champions ended a two-game losing run with a decisive victory against the Giants, who came into the game ranked No. 23 in the NFL with an average of 18.9 offensive points per game. A high seed in the NFC bracket has a clear path ahead of them, since their remaining schedule features just two teams with winning records (the Colts and Bills).
Next up: a matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
Uh-oh. Once quarterback Dak Prescott returned from injury, the Cowboys were supposed to take off. They’ve now dropped three of their last four games. The Eagles’ lead in the NFC East isn’t in jeopardy; even if they win the Giants on Sunday, they’d still be two games back in the loss column. However, it remains to be seen if the Cowboys will enter the playoffs as legitimate contenders or merely because they are the least problematic club in a poor division.
After that, it’s on to Saints (Week 13)
The “all-in” Rams have dropped from first place in the NFC to the wild-card scenario after two straight defeats. The Rams’ Week 11 bye arrived at a nice time, anyway. They had two weeks to adapt newcomers Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. to the program, as well as figure out why quarterback Matthew Stafford had thrown four interceptions in the two-game losing streak. They’d best hope they figure it out soon, considering their future schedule includes the Cardinals, Vikings, Ravens, and 49ers, in addition to the Packers. That will be a difficult race.
After that, it’s on to Packers.
When you seem to be playing tight games every week, the math suggests you should win at least part of them. The Vikings’ win against the Packers in Week 11 improved their division and conference records. Both are important categories for tiebreakers, and their 4-2 NFC record is why they are ahead of the Saints and 49ers in the NFC playoff rankings (who they face next week). Overall, the Vikings have played in seven straight games decided by seven points or less, a span that has either prepared them for a playoff run or likely cost them entry into the playoffs entirely.
The 49ers are up next.
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The 49ers have won three of their last four games and have moved ahead of the Saints in the wild-card standings after Thursday’s game. No one can tell for sure if the 49ers are genuinely a playoff club, but these things do occasionally come down to the playoffs. The rest of their schedule is ranked No. 25 in the league. Keep in mind that the Eagles, another NFC wild-card contender, have the easiest remaining schedule in the league.
The Vikings are up next.
In the chase for the NFC Championship
Eagles of Philadelphia (5-6)
The Eagles have also won three of their last four games, all by a margin of more than ten points. And with two games left against Washington and the Giants, as well as a rematch against the Jets, the schedule seems to be rather beneficial for staying in the wild-card chase. This week, the Eagles play the Giants on the road.
Panthers of Carolina (5-6)
Is it possible for the Panthers to be a postseason contender with a quarterback they signed out of free agency and installed into the starting lineup in less than two weeks? Cam Newton may be Superman, but he’s no sorcerer. On Sunday, the Panthers will travel to Miami to face the Dolphins.
The New Orleans Saints are a professional football team based in New (5-6)
The Saints have now lost four straight games since starting quarterback Jameis Winston went down with a season-ending knee injury. Their offense lacked punch against the Bills on Thursday night, and they’re now staring up at the NFC playoff field. In Week 13, they’ll face the Cowboys, but the good news is that four of their last six opponents have losing records.
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The “nfl playoffs format” is a question that has been asked for years. The NFL playoff picture 2021 will be released this coming Sunday.
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