NFL Playoff Picture: Chiefs making push for bye, 49ers retake No. 1 spot
Adam Glanzman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

NFL Playoff Picture is a weekly look at the teams jockeying to secure their positions for a shot at making it to Super Bowl LIV.


Seed Team Division Record
1 Ravens (x) North 11-2
2 Patriots East 10-3
3 Chiefs (y) West 9-4
4 Texans South 8-5
5 Bills East 9-4
6 Steelers North 8-5

x = clinched playoff berth
y = clinched division title
z = clinched first-round bye

The Baltimore Ravens became the first AFC team to clinch their place in the playoffs on Sunday after a hard-fought battle with the Buffalo Bills. Lamar Jackson and Co. have breathing room atop the conference thanks to their head-to-head win over the New England Patriots.

The Kansas City Chiefs quickly joined Baltimore, beating the Patriots on the road to clinch the AFC West and keep their hopes of a first-round bye alive. With the tiebreaker secured, the Chiefs will now need the reigning champions to slip up one more time to pass them for the No. 2 seed.

The Patriots play the Cincinnati Bengals next week and the Miami Dolphins in Week 17, so the Chiefs will be rooting hard for Buffalo. That game isn't a division-decider, though. Even if the Bills beat the Patriots, Buffalo needs New England to lose one more game as the Pats have the tiebreaker.

While Mike Tomlin secured his 13th consecutive non-losing season, the Pittsburgh Steelers' postseason spot is far from certain ahead of a Week 15 matchup with the Bills. Buffalo's playoff odds would barely be affected by a defeat, but a loss for Pittsburgh would be a significant blow with the Ravens left on the schedule.

In the hunt

Seed Team Division Record
7 Titans South 8-5
8 Browns North 6-7
9 Raiders West 6-7
10 Colts South 6-7

The race for the AFC South is even more interesting after the Houston Texans shockingly fell to the Denver Broncos and the Tennessee Titans continued their dominant form in a blowout of the Oakland Raiders.

The Titans host the Texans next week before a rematch in the regular-season finale at NRG Stadium. The Texans are still the slight AFC South favorites; they'd take the division title if the series is split and both teams finish 10-6, and Houston plays the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16 while Tennessee faces the Saints.

While still mathematically alive at 6-7, the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, and Raiders should all be looking to the offseason. The Browns have the best playoff odds of the three teams at just 6%, according to FiveThirtyEight.


Seed Team Division Record
1 49ers West 11-2
2 Packers North 10-3
3 Saints (y) South 10-3
4 Cowboys East 6-7
5 Seahawks West 10-3
6 Vikings North 9-4

x = clinched playoff berth
y = clinched division title
z = clinched first-round bye

In arguably the best game of the season so far, the San Francisco 49ers prevailed in a shootout with the New Orleans Saints. And with the Seattle Seahawks falling to the Los Angeles Rams and losing out on a chance to secure a playoff berth, San Francisco jumped back into the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

The Green Bay Packers might not be playing pretty football, but they're currently on track for a first-round bye after jumping the Saints. Aaron Rodgers and Co. are now masters of their own fate - win out and they'll book an automatic spot in the divisional round.

With the Seahawks and the 49ers facing off in the regular-season finale, the top of the NFC is set up for a wild finish, especially if Green Bay and New Orleans continue to stay in the hunt for home-field advantage right up until the end.

In the hunt

Seed Team Division Record
7 Rams West 8-5
8 Bears North 7-6
9 Eagles East 5-7

The Rams showed major resilience with their season essentially on the line Sunday night, taking down the Seahawks to improve their playoff odds to 36%. However, the Minnesota Vikings still have the inside track to the No. 6 seed. The NFC North title also remains in play for Kirk Cousins' team.

Los Angeles either needs to win out - which would include beating San Francisco - and likely root for the Packers to beat the Vikings, or hope Minnesota drops two of its remaining three games (at Chargers, vs. Bears) while winning its other two games.

Does anyone want to claim the NFC East? The Philadelphia Eagles - who play the New York Giants on Monday night - haven't won since Nov. 3, while the Dallas Cowboys' last taste of victory came on the following day. Something will have to give in the Week 16 matchup between Philadelphia and Dallas, though we aren't ruling out a tie at this point.

Though the Chicago Bears have won three straight, their odds of forcing their way into the postseason remain highly unlikely (7%).

NFL Playoff Picture: Chiefs making push for bye, 49ers retake No. 1 spot
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