NFL Playoff Picture: Updated Look at Playoff Races After Week 13

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2012

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 2:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos passes the ball during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 2, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Although a few NFL teams have already clinched the postseason, the postseason is far from decided.

The New York Giants proved a year ago that every team that reaches the playoffs has a shot at winning the Super Bowl.

For that reason, every single spot in the postseason will be an intense battle that should go right down to the last week of the year.

Here is an updated look at all of the NFL races through most of Week 13.


NFC East

Current LeaderIn Contention
New York Giants (7-5) Washington Redskins (6-6) 
 Dallas Cowboys (6-6)


With a loss to Washington, the Giants have now split their games with both the Redskins and Cowboys, so that tiebreaker possibility is now gone.

The Cowboys were able to top the Eagles on Sunday night, bringing them to 6-6 and a tie for second in the NFC East.

It appears this divisional race will come down to the final games of the season as both Washington and Dallas trail New York by just a single game for the division lead. 


NFC West

Current LeaderIn Contention
San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)Seattle Seahawks (7-5) 


The San Francisco 49ers almost tied the St. Louis Rams for a second time in four weeks, but a loss is even more devastating.

Their lead is now down to 1.5 games after the Seattle Seahawks won in overtime over the Chicago Bears.

San Francisco still must play at the New England Patriots before traveling to Seattle in Week 16, so the division is very much up for grabs.


NFC South

Current LeaderIn Contention
Atlanta Falcons (11-1)Clinched 


Although it is not always pretty, the Atlanta Falcons continue to win games at a remarkable rate.

With the latest win over the New Orleans Saints, the team has clinched the division and will now look toward earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.


NFC North

Current LeaderIn Contention
Green Bay Packers (8-4) Chicago Bears (8-4) 
 Minnesota Vikings (6-6)


This is the only division in the NFL that has two teams tied at the top.

The Green Bay Packers would win the title if the season ended today because of its head-to-head win, but the two teams on top will play again in Week 15.

Although it will be tough to pass both teams, the Minnesota Vikings are still alive at 6-6.


NFC Wild Card

Current LeaderIn Contention
Chicago Bears (8-4)Washington Redskins (6-6) 
Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

Dallas Cowboys (6-6)


After a win against the Eagles, the Cowboys moved up a few spots in the NFC Wild Card picture. However, they were surpassed by the Redskins after Robert Griffin III and company beat the Giants.

Trailing close behind both Washington and Dallas is Tampa Bay and Minnesota. The Vikings and Buccaneers have the same record, but the Redskins and Cowboys are ahead by way of tiebreakers.


AFC East

Current LeaderIn Contention
New England Patriots (9-3)Clinched 


With a win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the New England Patriots have clinched the division with a 9-3 record.

The Patriots added to their perfect 5-0 record within the division and will easily reach the playoffs over the three 5-7 teams.


AFC West

Current LeaderIn Contention
Denver Broncos (9-3)Clinched 


The Denver Broncos clinched the division with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the team's seventh straight win and the team will now set its sights on a possible bye in the AFC.

Considering the other three teams in the AFC West have combined for a 9-27 record, winning the division was not too difficult.


AFC North

Current LeaderIn Contention
Baltimore Ravens (9-3)Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) 
 Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)


Although the Baltimore Ravens once had a commanding lead within the division, that lead has now shrunk to only two games.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals both have a chance to take over the AFC North if they continue to win and get a little bit of help from around the league.


AFC South

Current LeaderIn Contention
Houston Texans (11-1)Indianapolis Colts (8-4) 


The Houston Texans have clinched a spot in the playoffs but are still yet to take the division title thanks to the surprising Indianapolis Colts.

Andrew Luck and company sit three games back with an 8-4 record and finish the season with two games against Houston in the last three weeks.

Houston also faces the New England Patriots, so a comeback is certainly possible.


AFC Wild Card

Current LeaderIn Contention
Indianapolis Colts (8-4)Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) 


Assuming the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans win their respective divisions, the wild card would come down to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals. 

The Colts currently hold a one-game lead over the two AFC North teams, but they have a tough schedule to end the year, with two games against the Texans.

It is still possible for the 5-7 New York Jets, Miami Dolphins or Buffalo Bills to reach the playoffs, but it would require a lot of help.