Week 11 of the NFL schedule shook up the playoff picture and the divisional standings. With several close games and a few down-to-the-wire finishes, the postseason projection was shifting throughout the final minutes of Sunday’s games.
Let’s take a look at the updated NFL playoff picture and assess which teams enhanced or impaired their postseason chances on Sunday. For analysis on all the action from Week 11, scroll down below the standings.
NFL Playoff Picture for Week 11
Current AFC Playoff Picture
1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-2)
2. Miami Dolphins (7-3)
3. Tennessee Titans (7-3)
4. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
5. Buffalo Bills (7-3)
6. New England Patriots (6-4)
7. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
In the Hunt
8. New York Jets (6-4)
9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-5)
10. Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1)
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
12. Las Vegas Raiders (3-7)
13. Cleveland Browns (3-7)
14. Denver Broncos (3-7)
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7)
16. Houston Texans (1-8-1)
Current NFC Playoff Picture
1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
2. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
5. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
6. New York Giants (7-3)
7. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
In the Hunt
8. Washington Commanders (6-5)
9. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
10. Detroit Lions (4-6)
11. Green Bay Packers (4-7)
12. Arizona Cardinals (4-7)
13. New Orleans Saints (4-7)
14. Los Angeles Rams (3-7)
15. Carolina Panthers (3-8)
16. Chicago Bears (3-8)
Eagles Escape Against Colts, Remain NFC’s No. 1 Seed
The Eagles looked disjointed for the second week in a row, but unlike last week, they still emerged with a victory. Jeff Saturday’s Colts put up an excellent effort, especially on defense, holding Jalen Hurts and the Eagles to just 17 points. But it wasn’t enough to keep Philadelphia from a 17-16 win that enables them to stick in the NFC’s top seed.
Hurts posted 16 carries, tied for his second-highest total of the season. His most important rush attempt came on a 3rd-and-goal from Indy’s 7-yard line with 1:20 left in the game, when he scampered into the end zone to give the Eagles the win.
Philadelphia clearly has offensive issues to work out, but they’ll benefit from sorting through those problems against one of the NFL’s least-imposing schedules. They’ll face the Packers, Titans, and Giants over the next three weeks.
Patriots-Jets Was Only Boring Until It Wasn’t
The Patriots outgained the Jets by nearly a 3-1 margin, but you wouldn’t have known it near the end of the game. Although New England averaged five yards per play to New York’s 2.1, the score was still 3-3 until the Patriots’ Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards for a game-winning touchdown.
The Pats rushed for 246 yards, and Mac Jones only threw four incompletions, but New England somehow only managed three offensive points.
New York is dealing with much larger problems, as Zach Wilson went just 9 of 22 and generally didn’t look like an NFL-caliber quarterback.
New England desperately needed this victory — a loss would have dropped their playoff odds below 20%. Instead, they’ll move into the AFC’s sixth seed, while the Jets are now out of the playoff picture.
Bills Get Back on Track With Win Over Browns
The Bills weren’t quite reeling coming off back-to-back losses, but it would have been concerning if they couldn’t dispatch the Browns in Week 11. Instead, Buffalo did just that, jumping out to a 28-10 lead before Cleveland managed some garbage-time scoring to make it a 31-23 final score.
Facing a meager Browns run defense, the Bills unsurprisingly took to the ground. Devin Singletary and James Cook both posted exactly 86 rushing yards, and Buffalo’s 171 total rushing yards were its second-most of the season.
Buffalo is now back in the No. 5 seed in the AFC, and they have the same 7-3 record as the Dolphins, who are on bye this week. The Bills will play the Lions in Week 12 before facing an AFC East gauntlet — Patriots in Week 13, Jets in Week 14, and Dolphins in Week 15.
Falcons Still in Contention After Eking Out Win Over Bears
Down 17-7 near the end of the first half, the Falcons proceeded to outscore the Bears 20-7 over the remainder of the game. Cordarrelle Patterson returned his NFL-record ninth career kickoff for a touchdown while Atlanta rushed for 149 yards. Younghoe Koo sealed the victory with a 53-yard field goal with 1:47 left.
The Falcons are now the NFC’s eighth seed. They’ll play the Commanders in Week 12 in what has become a critical matchup before facing the Steelers, Saints, and Ravens.
Commanders Take Down Texans, Stay Alive in Playoff Race
The Commanders are above .500 for the first time since Week 1 after taking down the hapless Texans 23-10 on Sunday. Houston failed to put up any sort of challenge, managing just five offensive yards in the first half and 148 in total.
Washington rushed for 191 yards and dominated time of possession, but it was the Commanders’ defense that showed out in Week 11. Kendall Fuller scored on a pick-six to start the game, Darrick Forrest got an interception of his own, and Washington sacked Davis Mills five times.
Don’t look now, but the Commanders are 6-5 and squarely in the playoff race. If the 49ers lose on Monday night, Washington will move into the NFC’s seventh seed.
Cowboys Dominate Vikings, Move Into No. 5 Seed
Sunday’s Cowboys-Vikings matchup was billed as the game of the week, but it quickly turned into an absolute rout. Dallas scored 37 unanswered points and ultimately beat Minnesota 40-3, opening up questions about whether the Vikings are true contenders.
But let’s start with the Cowboys, who are currently firing on all cylinders. Tony Pollard was the star of the show, totaling nearly 200 yards from the line of scrimmage while scoring twice. He split carries with Ezekiel Elliott, who also scored two touchdowns, while Dak Prescott had just three incomplete passes on 25 attempts.
Dallas’ defense was just as effective. The Vikings reached the Cowboys’ 6-yard line on their second drive, but they didn’t cross midfield again until a meaningless late fourth-quarter drive.
Minnesota’s offense offered no threats. Kirk Cousins was sacked seven times, Justin Jefferson managed just three catches for 33 yards, and the Cowboys had seven tackles for loss.
The Cowboys are now sitting as the fifth seed in the NFC. It will be tough for Dallas to overtake the Eagles in the NFC East — Philadelphia holds a two-game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker. Still, the Cowboys have solidified themselves as the second-best team in the conference.
Meanwhile, the Vikings had been riding high following their incredible Week 10 victory over the Bills, but this loss will bring them back to Earth. While good teams often lose to other good teams, this was complete destruction. Minnesota is 8-2, but they now have a negative point differential after today’s loss.
Bengals Avenge Week 1 Loss to Steelers
Joe Burrow posted a career-high four interceptions in the Bengals’ Week 1 defeat to the Steelers. He threw two more against Pittsburgh on Sunday, but he also managed four touchdowns in Cincinnati’s 37-30 win.
The Bengals’ offense is locked in right now. They’ve put up at least 30 points in four of their last five games and 400+ yards of offense in three of their last four. Tee Higgins proved he’s a No. 1 receiver with a 9-148 line, and Ja’Marr Chase could return from injury as soon as next week. Joe Mixon suffered a concussion, but Samaje Perine scored three times in his stead.
Cincinnati is now the seventh seed in the AFC. Their schedule is about to get much tougher, as they’ll face the Titans, Chiefs, Browns (with Deshaun Watson), and Buccaneers over the next four weeks.