NFL playoff picture after Week 13: Seahawks replace Vikings in NFC bracket
Here's how the NFL playoff picture looks after Week 13's Sunday afternoon games.
1. Los Angeles Rams (11-1): NFC West champions. The first team in 2018 to officially clinch a playoff berth, the Rams wrapped up a second consecutive division crown after pulling away from the Lions. Next week's opponent, Chicago, is the only one left on the schedule with a winning record, and L.A. now controls its destiny as it pertains to pursuing home-field advantage.
2. New Orleans Saints (10-2): NFC South leader. They ceded control of the No. 1 seed after Thursday's surprising loss at Dallas. The Saints still look like a good bet for a first-round bye but have two dates with Carolina and one with Pittsburgh over the final four weeks.
3. Chicago Bears (8-4): NFC North leader. Can't lose to teams like the Giants if you hope to catch the Saints. They also missed a golden opportunity to take a major step toward locking up the division … though it helped to have both Green Bay and Minnesota lose.
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-5): NFC East leader. Massive defeat of Saints solidified their playoff hopes while affording mini-bye ahead of home date with Philadelphia. But margin for error remains razor thin.
5. Seattle Seahawks (7-5): Wild card No. 1. They can't do better than this spot but must be thrilled to have it — especially after some geniuses foresaw a 4-12 season. Helps to have one game apiece remaining against Niners and Cards over next four weeks.
6. Washington Redskins (6-5): Wild card No. 2. Plenty at stake Monday night in Philly. However, even with a win, they can't overtake Dallas for division lead due to inferior record in common games.
In the hunt: Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1), Carolina Panthers (6-6), Philadelphia Eagles (5-6), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)
1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2): AFC West leader. Stunning setback in wake of Kareem Hunt's release. But even as Chiefs continue to sort the fallout, they can still lock down a berth next week.
2. New England Patriots (9-3): AFC East leader. You hate to diminish them by saying they're on cruise control at this point. But after dismantling solid Vikings team to start December, Pats will be hard to slow down moving forward.
3. Houston Texans (9-3): AFC South leader. Now winners of nine straight, hottest team in the league maintains pressure on Patriots in pursuit of bye. (New England's Week 1 defeat of Houston continues to loom large.)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1): AFC North leader. Win or lose against the Bolts on Sunday night, they're stuck here for time being.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (8-3): Wild card No. 1. Big game Sunday night in Pittsburgh for team that still has aspirations of winning AFC West.
6. Baltimore Ravens (7-5): Wild card No. 2. Now 3-0 with rookie QB Lamar Jackson as the starter after Sunday's win in Atlanta, they can't let up with so many teams on their heels.
In the hunt: Denver Broncos (6-6), Indianapolis Colts (6-6), Miami Dolphins (6-6), Tennessee Titans (6-6), Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)
Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
Source: Read Full Article