NFL Playoff Picture 2021-22 Week 12: Updated Standings, Matchups to Watch

Doric SamNovember 23, 2021

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner celebrates a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Seattle. The Cardinals won 23-13. (AP Photo/Ben VanHouten)
AP Photo/Ben VanHouten

Despite playing without star quarterback Kyler Murray for the third straight game, the Arizona Cardinals moved into first place in the NFC with a Week 11 win over the Seattle Seahawks. At 9-2, Arizona has the best record in the NFL.

In the AFC, the Tennessee Titans remained atop the standings at 8-3 despite a horrible loss to the Houston Texans.

Here's a look at how things stand heading into Week 12.

AFC Playoff Picture

1. Tennessee Titans (8-3)

2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)

3. New England Patriots (7-4)

4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

6. Los Angeles Chargers (6-4)

7. Buffalo Bills (6-4)

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)

9. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

10. Cleveland Browns (6-5)

11. Las Vegas Raiders (5-5)

12. Denver Broncos (5-5)

13. Miami Dolphins (4-7)

14. Houston Texans (2-8)

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8)

16. New York Jets (2-8)

Projected 1st-Round Matchups

No. 2 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 7 Buffalo Bills

No. 3 New England Patriots vs. No. 6 Los Angeles Chargers

No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs vs. No. 5 Cincinnati Bengals

NFC Playoff Picture

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

2. Green Bay Packers (8-3)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

4. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

6. Minnesota Vikings (5-5)

7. New Orleans Saints (5-5)

8. San Francisco 49ers (5-5)

9. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)

10. Carolina Panthers (5-6)

11. Washington Football Team (4-6)

12. Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

13. New York Giants (3-7)

14. Chicago Bears (3-7)

15. Seattle Seahawks (3-7)

16. Detroit Lions (0-9-1)

Projected 1st-Round Matchups

No. 2 Green Bay Packers vs. No. 7 New Orleans Saints

No. 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. No. 6 Minnesota Vikings

No. 4 Dallas Cowboys vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Rams

Parity has been the theme of the 2021 NFL season, and that hasn't changed after Week 11. Twenty of 32 teams have a record of .500 or better, giving them all legitimate chances of making the playoffs.

There are a few key matchups in Week 12 between teams currently in the playoff picture. But the marquee game will be the Green Bay Packers taking on the Los Angeles Rams.

These are two teams that could end up meeting at some point in the postseason. The Packers relinquished the top spot in the NFC just one week after taking it from the Cardinals in Week 10 with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Rams, who were on a bye this week, started the season 7-1 before dropping their last two games. With both teams coming off losses, the Nov. 28 matchup is crucial for each of them.

In the AFC, the Titans will put their top spot on the line against the streaking New England Patriots on Sunday. New England has won five straight games and has extra time to rest up and prepare for Tennessee after defeating the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday night. The Patriots look to be clicking on all cylinders and will be playing at home, so the Titans will need to put forth a better effort than they did against the Texans.

The Cincinnati Bengals will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a key AFC North game. After losing to Cincinnati in Week 3, a win on Sunday would give the 5-4-1 Steelers a leg up on the 6-4 Bengals in the loss column. A win for Cincinnati would pretty much put an end to Pittsburgh's playoff hopes.

The Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints, who are both in the wild-card spot in their respective conferences, will play each other in the nightcap on Thanksgiving.