The NFL playoff picture is in full focus, with just seven weeks left in the 2023 season. In the AFC, we still have as many as 14 teams with a realistic shot of making the playoffs. In the NFC, things are a little less wide open, with a 1.5-game gap between the seventh seed and the rest of the field.
Below is the NFL playoff picture for both the AFC and NFC as things stand after all of Sunday’s action.
AFC Playoff Picture
1) Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
2) Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)
3) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)
4) Miami Dolphins (7-3)
5) Cleveland Browns (7-3)
6) Houston Texans (6-4)
7) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
In the hunt: Buffalo Bills (6-5), Indianapolis Colts (5-5), Denver Broncos (5-5), Cincinnati Bengals (5-5), Las Vegas Raiders (5-6), Los Angeles Chargers (4-6), New York Jets (4-6), Tennessee Titans (3-7), New England Patriots (2-8)
The Ravens’ victory over the Bengals on Thursday Night Football combined with the Kansas City Chiefs’ loss to the Eagles catapulted Baltimore to the top seed in the AFC after Week 11.
The Jaguars got things right in Week 11 as they bounced back from a tough loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week. They beat up the Titans and ensured they would stay the third seed for another week. The Texans’ victory against Arizona keeps things tight, with just one game separating the two atop the AFC South.
The Browns got a huge win in the AFC North in their first game without Deshaun Watson. The Browns move up to the fifth seed in the AFC and would need a complete implosion not to make the playoffs. As for the Steelers, this is a hugely disappointing loss against a backup QB. They now hang perilously close to the edge of the AFC playoff picture with just a half-game lead over the Bills.
The Dolphins dominated the Raiders but could only manage a one-score victory, which will both frustrate them and be a huge relief. They now have a 1.5-game lead over the Bills heading into Week 12 and seem to have a solid grip on the division. The Raiders missed a huge opportunity to get within half a game of the AFC Wild Card spots.
Buffalo did all they could against the Jets to stay right on the cusp of the Wildcard spots in the AFC. They did lose three more members of their secondary during the game and are now extremely thin on the backend.
NFC Playoff Picture
1) Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
2) Detroit Lions (8-2)
3) San Francisco 49ers (7-3)
4) New Orleans Saints (5-5)
5) Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
6) Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
7) Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
In the hunt: Green Bay Packers (4-6), Los Angeles Rams (4-6), Atlanta Falcons (4-6), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6), Washington Commanders (4-7), New York Giants (3-8), Chicago Bears (3-8), Arizona Cardinals (2-9), Carolina Panthers (1-9)
The Eagles’ win over the Chiefs securely put them at the top of the NFC playoff picture. The Cowboys avoided any mistakes with their victory in Carolina, keeping them within touching distance of the Eagles. Dallas needs to be virtually perfect from here on out if they are going to have any shot at the NFC East and a Round 1 home playoff game.
The Lions narrowly avoided losing to the Bears in what would have been the upset of the week. Detroit moves to 8-2 and keeps pressure on the Eagles. Detroit either needs the Eagles to lose their next game to an NFC team or lose two games, as the Eagles currently have a superior conference record.
The 49ers defeated the Buccaneers to ensure they will remain top of the NFC West heading into Thanksgiving. The Seahawks and 49ers face each other twice in the next three weeks so the division remains very much up in the air heading into Week 12. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are now two games behind the seventh-seed Seahawks and one game behind the Saints for the division.
The Seahawks lost to the Rams in Los Angeles in one of the more surprising sweeps of the season, dropping then a game behind the 49ers in the NFC West race. But thanks to the Vikings’ loss in Denver on Sunday night, the Seahawks remain the NFC’s sixth seed. Despite the loss by Minnesota, the Vikings remain the seventh seed and are 1.5 games clear of the chasing pack in the NFC.