The NFL Playoff picture is starting to take shape but nothing is certain just yet. Looking at the postseason implications at play in every Week 14 game.
Only four games remain in the 2019 NFL season for 30 of the teams in the league. That means that we are getting a better idea of the NFL Playoff picture with each passing week. But as is always the case and especially so in a year that has enjoyed as many swings as this one, nothing is set. Almost every game still matters for the postseason.
That was even true on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 14 as the Dallas Cowboys lost, 31-24, to the Chicago Bears. With the loss, the Cowboys dropped to 6-7 on the year and, while they still have a 0.5-game lead in the NFC East over the Philadelphia Eagles, their position is quite precarious. Meanwhile, the Bears moved to 7-6 to stay alive in the NFC North and the Wild Card race (sort of).
But that was just the tip of the iceberg for how Week 14 could affect the NFL Playoff picture. So to figure out what could change on Sunday and Monday as it pertains to the postseason, let’s take a look at the remaining 15 games this week and look at the playoff implications that are in play.
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Panthers at Falcons
In theory, the Carolina Panthers are not eliminated from the playoffs right now at 5-7, three games behind the No. 6 seed in the NFC. However, they and the 3-9 Atlanta Falcons are likely not going to be tasting the postseason this year no matter how this game turns out, especially as the Saints have already clinched the NFC South.
Ravens at Bills
This one is juice. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are precariously the No. 1 seed in the AFC at 10-2 while Josh Allen‘s Buffalo Bills are 9-3 but the first Wild Card team in the conference. A win for Baltimore keeps them atop the AFC but a loss could mean dropping to No. 2 if the Patriots win. Meanwhile, a Bills win and Patriots loss would tie them record-wise in the AFC East, making for an interesting three-game finish in the division.
Bengals at Browns
At 1-11, the Bengals are out of the playoffs. Somehow, the Cleveland Browns are still alive at 5-7, though, as Baker Mayfield and his team are just two games behind the No. 6 Wild Card seed, so a win would keep them alive.
Redskins at Packers
Because the NFC East is a dumpster fire, Washington is still alive to win the division at 3-9 but they have to win out for that to be possible. As for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers and Co. could be tied record-wise with the Saints if they lose or the 49ers if they lose, in addition to the Seahawks if they were to lose. A loss for Green Bay and a win for Minnesota, however, would tie them record-wise in the NFC North.
Lions at Vikings
Speaking of Minnesota, they have just a one-game lead over the Rams in the Wild Card race, so a loss and Los Angeles win would tie them record-wise. The Vikings winning, however, would keep them at No. 6 and, again, a Packers loss would put them both at 9-4. Detroit is out of the playoffs.
49ers at Saints
One of the marquee matchups in Week 14, a Saints win keeps them locked into the NFC’s No. 1 seed while the 49ers would stay locked into the No. 5 seed with a loss. In a reverse outcome, though, New Orleans could be tied at 10-3 with Green Bay if the Packers win and would move down in seeding with a Seattle victory.
Dolphins at Jets
The Dolphins have been elminated despite shockingly having won three games but Sam Darnold and the Jets are still mathematically alive. They must win out to stay alive, though, meaning they need a win on Sunday.
Colts at Buccaneers
For the Buccaneers to essentially remain alive, they have to win as they are three games back. Then there’s the Colts, who are just one game back of the Wild Card in the AFC and two games back in the AFC South. However, given their bad position in tiebreakers, they need to win against Tampa for their chances to remain clearly intact.
Broncos at Texans
Staying in the AFC South, the Texans currently lead but a loss and a Titans win would tie them record-wise with two head-to-head matchups remaining. The Broncos have a longshot to make the playoffs but must win to make that happen.
Chargers at Jaguars
Much like Denver, the Jaguars and Chargers are not mathematically eliminated but both teams will need a win in Week 14 if their playoff chances are to remain beyond Sunday.
Titans at Raiders
This is a critical matchup for the Wild Card, first and foremost, as the Titans are the No. 7 seed and the Raiders are No. 8. A win for Oakland vaults them ahead of Tennessee based off head-to-head matchup and a Pittsburgh loss would then tie all three in terms of record. For the Titans, a win and Texans loss ties them at 8-5 in the AFC South standings and a win and Pittsburgh loss puts Tennessee in the No. 6 seed.
Chiefs at Patriots
If the Chiefs win at Gillette and the Texans lose, Kansas City moves up to the No. 3 seed. Moreover, a win and Oakland loss would give Patrick Mahomes and Co. the AFC West title. As for the Patriots, a loss and Bills win ties them record-wise in the AFC East standings but a win and Baltimore loss puts them back into the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Steelers at Cardinals
By some miracle, the Steelers are still the No. 6 seed in the AFC. A win keeps them in that position but a loss and Titans win would drop them out of the NFL Playoff picture for the time being. Speaking of, the Cardinals have already been eliminated from the postseason at 3-8-1.
Seahawks at Rams
If the Seahawks win and the Saints lose, Seattle would move into the No. 1 seed in the NFC. On the flip side, a Seahawks loss and 49ers win would put San Fran back atop the NFC West (and at No. 1) while Seattle would drop to No. 5. Moreover, a Rams win and Vikings loss would put both teams at 8-5 with both teams vying for the No. 6 Wild Card spot.
Giants at Eagles
The Giants have been eliminated from the NFL Playoff picture at 2-10 on the season. However, the Eagles are now just a half-game back of the Cowboys in the NFC East and a win would tie them atop the division and, in theory, keep Philly alive in the Wild Card race as well.