Thursday, January 27, 2022

NFL 2021 playoff picture: Updated standings, wild card race; Vikings move back into NFC playoff field

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The home stretch of the 2021 NFL season is here, as we are nearly through 15 weeks (two postponed games are left to be played on Tuesday) after the Raiders stunned the Browns in the early Monday night game and the Vikings downed the Bears in the nightcap. You know what that means: the playoff picture is really taking shape. And both conferences are chock-full of some feisty battles for the 14 combined postseason spots. From the crowded competition in the NFC West to the increasingly muddy race in the AFC North, there are lots of scenarios on the table as we venture deeper into December and through the holiday season.

Below, find an updated 2021 NFL playoff picture, featuring complete postseason standings (with tiebreakers already accounted for), a rundown of wild card contenders and projected opening-weekend playoff matchups for both the AFC and NFC:

AFC

  1. Chiefs (10-4)
  2. Patriots (9-5)

  3. Titans (9-5)
  4. Bengals (8-6)
  5. Colts (8-6)
  6. Chargers (8-6)
  7. Bills (8-6)

On the brink

8. Ravens (8-6)

9. Steelers (7-6-1)

10. Raiders (7-7)

11. Dolphins (7-7)

12. Browns (7-7)

13. Broncos (7-7)

Out of the race

14. Jets (3-11)*

15. Texans (3-11)*

16. Jaguars (2-12)*

Note: * = officially eliminated.

Projected wild card matchups

  • (No. 1 Chiefs on bye)
  • No. 7 Bills at No. 2 Patriots
  • No. 6 Chargers at No. 3 Titans
  • No. 5 Colts at No. 4 Bengals

NFC

  1. Packers (11-3)
  2. Cowboys (10-4)
  3. Buccaneers (10-4)
  4. Cardinals (10-4)
  5. Rams (9-4)
  6. 49ers (8-6)
  7. Vikings (7-7)

On the brink

8. Saints (7-7)

9. Washington (6-7)

10. Eagles (6-7)

11. Falcons (6-8)

12. Seahawks (5-8)

Out of the race

13. Panthers (5-9)

14. Giants (4-10)

15. Bears (4-10)* 

16. Lions (2-11-1)*

Note: * = officially eliminated.

Projected wild card matchups

  • (No. 1 Packers on bye)
  • No. 7 Vikings at No. 2 Cowboys
  • No. 6 49ers at No. 3 Buccaneers
  • No. 5 Rams at No. 4 Cardinals

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