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NFL · 16 days ago

NFL Playoff Picture: Who’s in if the Postseason Started Today?

Grant White

Grant White

NFL Playoff Picture: Who’s in if the Postseason Started Today?

We have to soak in every minute of football action we can. After 18 weeks, the NFL regular season is over, and most teams are left licking their wounds. However, the 14 teams left standing dial things up a notch, competing for glory and the chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Here’s what the playoff brackets would look like if the postseason started today.

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Division Leaders (odds to win the division) Wild Card Teams (odds to make the playoffs)
No. 1 – Philadelphia Eagles (-900) First-Round Bye
No. 2 – Detroit Lions (-850) No. 7 – Minnesota Vikings (-235)
No. 3 – San Francisco 49ers (-800) No. 6 – Seattle Seahawks (-340)
No. 4 – New Orleans Saints (-130) No. 5 – Dallas Cowboys (-4000)

More NFC: Eagles Soar in Super Bowl Rematch | NFC South Futures

All eyes were on the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, and they didn’t disappoint. In a rematch of Super Bowl LVII, the Eagles mounted a fourth-quarter comeback and dispatched the Kansas City Chiefs at home. Although that hasn’t closed the door to a potential lead swap later in the season, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely anyone catches Philadelphia atop the NFC standings. 

The only change in positions on this side of the bracket was the Seattle Seahawks dropping from the fifth seed to the sixth seed, changing places with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have looked like one of the top teams in the NFC but have been unable to keep pace with the Eagles. Still, a matchup against the fourth-seeded New Orleans Saints could be the closest thing to a bye for the Cowboys. At 5-5, New Orleans is the cream of the NFC South crop but the worst among all playoff teams. 

Further, that relegates the Seahawks to a potential divisional clash in the first round of the playoffs. The San Francisco 49ers continue to lead the NFC West, but with two games against Seattle before the end of the campaign, it’s not inconceivable that these teams switch places. That could mean these teams face each other three times over eight weeks, with home field still up for grabs. 

Another divisional matchup could be on tap in the final wild-card matchup. The Detroit Lions were most impacted by the Eagles win on Monday Night Football. A loss would have put the teams on an even keel, with less than two months left in the regular season. Instead, they remain behind Philadelphia in the standings, needing to get past the upstart Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs. Like their Western counterparts, these teams face each other two teams over the final three weeks of the season, leaving plenty up for grabs down the stretch.

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Division Leaders (odds to win the division) Wild Card Teams (odds to make the playoffs)
No. 1 – Baltimore Ravens (-220) First-Round Bye
No. 2 – Kansas City Chiefs (-1400) No. 7 – Pittsburgh Steelers (-110)
No. 3 – Jacksonville Jaguars (-250) No. 6 – Houston Texans (-178)
No. 4 – Miami Dolphins (-490) No. 5 – Cleveland Browns (-430)

More AFC: Canada Out as Steelers OC | Texans vs. Jags Preview

The door has been left open in the AFC, and the Baltimore Ravens have invited themselves in. Following the loss in Week 11, Kansas City was relegated to second spot in the standings, getting surpassed by the AFC North leaders. Baltimore has dominated both sides of the ball, putting KC at a disadvantage heading into the postseason.

While the Ravens will rest in the opening round, the Chiefs could be destined to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Granted, Pittsburgh’s grip on a playoff berth is slipping after an underwhelming loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. That loss precipitated the dismissal of Matt Canada, which will hopefully yield improvements on the offensive side of the ball. If not, the Chiefs will blow past them in Round 1.

That win launched the Browns into the fifth seed, setting up a clash with the Miami Dolphins. Few teams have matched the offensive energy the Dolphins bring, which is terrible news for Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The rookie quarterback will be asked to march Cleveland into the playoffs, which could be a doomed mission against the Fins.

Lastly, another division matchup could be on the horizon on the AFC side. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a modest lead in the AFC South, needing to fend off the resurgent Houston Texans. A Week 12 grudge match could go a long way to determining which team has a home-field advantage, and the early gambling odds favor the Jaguars. Jacksonville opened as short -1 road chalk, but this line could shift as we approach kick-off. The Jags’ divisional odds are shrinking, and Houston could be the beneficiary. 

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