With only three games to go in the regular season, the NFL playoff picture is starting to take shape. The Chiefs, Saints and Rams have punched their tickets to the playoffs. Some teams will get in soon, some need some help, and some are already looking forward to the 2019 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at how the NFL Playoff Picture is shaping up.
The Chiefs pulled off a comeback win over the Ravens to clinch a playoff spot. A win over the Chargers on Thursday night would basically lock them into the one seed in the AFC. The Chargers are the current five seed and a lot would have to change for them to move up or down. Even if they knock off the Chiefs on Thursday night, the Chiefs would still own the tiebreaker. Los Angeles has a three-game lead over the six-seeded Ravens, so it is unlikely they drop.
The Ravens, Colts, Titans and Dolphins are all 7-6, and the Ravens, Colts and Titans all have a chance of winning their respective divisions. The Dolphins pulled off a miracle against the Patriots on Sunday, but it would take a massive choke job by the Patriots to not win the division. The Patriots and Steelers face off next week. The Texans could get a bye if they win out and New England drops to Pittsburgh. They do have an easy schedule to end the season.
The Saints won the NFC South with the Panthers loss to the Browns, and they control their own destiny to clinch home-field throughout the playoffs. The Rams had controlled their own destiny in the NFC, but they could not do anything against the Bears defense; Todd Gurley fantasy owners know about that. Even after the win, the Bears are not going to clinch a bye, because they are still two games behind the Rams and Saints. They have the NFC North wrapped up, but the only way they move is if they lose one and the Cowboys one, which would put the Cowboys and Bears into a tie for the three seed. Dallas put away the NFC East with a win over the Eagles, and Mark Sanchez does not look like the savior in Washington after Alex Smith’s injury.
With a dominating 21-7 win over the Vikings on Monday Night Football, the Seahawks are in firm control of the NFC’s five seed. The Week 16 game against the Chiefs is likely a loss, but games against the 49ers and Cardinals should be convincing wins. The Vikings are the current six seed, and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was fired on Tuesday. Minnesota has winnable games against the Dolphins and Lions, then a Week 17 matchup against the Bears could be irrelevant for Chicago if they are locked into the three seed. The Panthers have fallen off a cliff, and two of the last three games coming against the Saints will not help them.
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