Thursday, January 27, 2022

NFL 2021 playoff picture, standings: Bengals clinch AFC North, Cowboys’ loss dooms home-field advantage hopes

The NFL had another crazy week, as teams finally started to figure out their playoff fate. The Cincinnati Bengals clinched the AFC North with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, significantly hurting the Baltimore Ravens‘ playoff hopes (the Ravens lost to the Los Angeles Rams anyway).

The Dallas Cowboys still had an outside shot at home-field advantage in the NFC, but that was thrown out the window with a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona needs a win and a Los Angeles Rams loss in Week 18 to snag the NFC West. 

The Chiefs’ loss to the Bengals gave the Tennessee Titans the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which Tennessee can clinch with a win over the Texans in Week 18. The Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday — eliminating some chaos in the crazy AFC wild card race. 

Below, you can find a division-by-division breakdown of the current standings and what each contender is facing on its schedule the rest of the way. 

AFC East

x- clinched playoff berth

e-eliminated from playoffs

Buffalo Bills

What to know: The Bills didn’t lock up the AFC East yet, but clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Falcons. They clinch the AFC East in Week 18 with a win. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Jets

New England Patriots

What to know: The Patriots clinched a playoff berth with their win over the Jaguars. New England wins the AFC East with a win and a Buffalo loss to New York in Week 18. The Patriots will be at least the No. 5 seed with a win. 

Remaining schedule: at Dolphins 

Miami Dolphins

What to know: The Dolphins are eliminated from the playoffs with their loss to the Titans. Their first-round draft pick goes to the Eagles in the 2022 NFL Draft

Remaining schedule: vs. Patriots

New York Jets

What to know: The Jets are eliminated from the playoffs and are in line for the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Remaining schedule: at Bills

AFC North

y-clinched division title

e-eliminated from playoffs

Cincinnati Bengals

What to know: The Bengals have clinched the AFC North with their win over the Chiefs. Cincinnati is the No. 3 seed in the AFC due to having a better conference record than Buffalo. 

Remaining schedule: at Browns 

Pittsburgh Steelers

What to know: The Steelers need a win over the Browns on Monday night to stay alive in the AFC playoff race. A loss will eliminate Pittsburgh. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Browns, at Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

What to know: The Ravens’ playoff hopes are dim after falling to the Rams. Baltimore is 11th in the conference, and needs a Week 18 win with some help in order to make the playoffs. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers  

Cleveland Browns 

What to know: The Browns are eliminated from the playoffs with the Chargers beating the Broncos and the Bengals clinching the AFC North. 

Remaining schedule: at Steelers, vs. Bengals 

AFC South

y-clinched division title

e-eliminated from playoffs

Tennessee Titans 

What to know: The Titans clinched the division title with their win over the Dolphins on Sunday — and hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC with the Chiefs’ loss to the Bengals. Tennessee clinches the top seed with a win over Houston in Week 18.  

Remaining schedule: at Texans 

Indianapolis Colts

What to know: A loss to the Raiders had the Colts’ playoff fate hanging in the balance, but Indianapolis needs just a win over the Jaguars in Week 18 to lock up a playoff spot. The Colts are the No. 6 seed in the conference, even though they have the same record as the Chargers and Raiders. Indianapolis has the best record in conference games and the Chargers beating the Raiders earlier this year gives Los Angeles the No. 7 spot. 

Remaining schedule: at Jaguars

Houston Texans

What to know: The Texans are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

What to know: The Jaguars are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Colts

AFC West

y-Chiefs

11

5

.688

+112

Chargers

9

7

.563

+18

Raiders

9

7

.563

-68

e-Broncos

7

9

.438

+17

y-clinched division title

e-eliminated from playoffs

Kansas City Chiefs

What to know: The Chiefs fell out of the No. 1 seed with a loss to the Bengals and are currently the No. 2 seed as the Titans have the head-to-head tiebreaker. Kansas City needs a win and a Tennessee loss in Week 18 to clinch the first-round bye. 

Remaining schedule:  at Broncos

Los Angeles Chargers

What to know: The Chargers eliminated the Broncos from the playoff race with their win. They are currently the No. 7 seed with one week to go, losing a conference record tiebreaker to the Colts but own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Raiders — who they face next week. 

Remaining schedule: at Raiders 

Las Vegas Raiders

What to know: The Raiders’ win over the Colts keeps them in the AFC playoff race, tied with the Colts and Chargers at 9-7 with one week to go. Las Vegas loses the head-to-head tiebreaker with Los Angeles — currently the No. 7 seed — yet the Raiders play the Chargers next week. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Chargers

Denver Broncos

What to know: The Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs with their loss to the Chargers. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Chiefs 

NFC East

y-clinched division title

e-eliminated from playoffs

Dallas Cowboys

What to know: Dallas blew its chance at home-field advantage with a loss to Arizona. The Cowboys fall to the No. 4 seed in the NFC with the loss, but have already clinched the NFC East. 

Remaining schedule: at Eagles 

Philadelphia Eagles

What to know: The Eagles are in position to clinch a playoff berth with their win over Washington, needing a Packers win over the Vikings on Sunday night to lock up a playoff spot in the NFC. The Eagles are still the No. 7 seed since the 49ers own the head-to-head tiebreaker. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Cowboys

Washington Football Team 

What to know:  Washington is eliminated from the playoffs with the Football Team’s loss to the Eagles. 

Remaining schedule: at Giants

New York Giants 

What to know: The Giants are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 5 pick in the draft..

Remaining schedule: vs. Washington

NFC North

y-Packers

12

3

.800

+59

Vikings

7

8

.467

+12

e-Bears

6

10

.375

-82

e-Lions

2

13

1

.156

-149

y-clinched division title

e-eliminated from playoffs

Green Bay Packers

What to know: The Packers clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win over the Vikings on Sunday night. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Vikings, at Lions

Minnesota Vikings

What to know: The Vikings are eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to the Packers on Sunday night. Minnesota keeps its playoff hopes alive with a win and moves up to the No 8 seed in the conference. 

Remaining schedule: at Packers, vs. Bears

Chicago Bears

What to know: The Bears are eliminated from playoff contention. Chicago would be in line for the No. 8 pick in the draft, but that is going to the New York Giants from a draft day trade. 

Remaining schedule: at Vikings 

Detroit Lions

What to know: The Lions are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 2 pick in the draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Packers

NFC South

y-Buccaneers

12

4

.750

+134

Saints

8

8

.500

+19

e-Falcons

7

9

.438

-136

e-Panthers

5

11

.313

-76

y-clinched division title

e-eliminated from playoffs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to know: The Buccaneers are the No. 3 seed in the NFC after coming back and beating the Jets. They lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Rams for the No. 2 spot. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers

New Orleans Saints

What to know: The Saints are still alive in the NFC playoff race after their win over the Panthers. New Orleans is one game behind Philadelphia and San Francisco for the final playoff spot as the No. 8 seed, but lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Eagles. 

Remaining schedule: at Falcons

Atlanta Falcons

What to know: The Falcons are eliminated from the playoffs with their loss to the Bills.

Remaining schedule: vs. Saints

Carolina Panthers

What to know: The Panthers are eliminated from the postseason. Carolina currently has the No. 6 pick in the draft.  

Remaining schedule: at Buccaneers

NFC West

x-Rams

12

4

.750

+91

x-Cardinals

11

5

.688

+91

49ers

9

7

.563

+59

e-Seahawks

6

10

.375

+21

x-clinched playoff spot

Los Angeles Rams

What to know: The Rams clinch the NFC West with a win over the 49ers in Week 18 or a Cardinals loss to the Seahawks. They are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC, holding a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Buccaneers. 

Remaining schedule: vs. 49ers

Arizona Cardinals

What to know: The Cardinals will win the NFC West with a win and a Rams loss in Week 18. Arizona can’t be lower than the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers

What to know: The 49ers clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Rams in Week 18. San Francisco is currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC, holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over Philadelphia. 

Remaining schedule: at Rams

Seattle Seahawks

What to know: The Seahawks are eliminated from the playoffs and would own the No. 7 pick in the draft, but that goes to the Jets thanks to the Jamal Adams trade. 

Remaining schedule: at Cardinals

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