NFL Playoff Picture 2021: Updated AFC, NFC Standings Following Week 14 SNF

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 12, 2021

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 12: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with Amari Cooper #19 after a seven-yard touchdown pass against the Washington Football Team during the first quarter at FedExField on December 12, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Divisional races and a muddled Wild Card picture were the theme for much of Sunday's action, as the NFL's playoff scenarios continued to come into focus.

Below, we'll take a look at the updated standings after the day's games.

AFC Standings

1. New England Patriots (9-4)

2. Tennessee Titans (9-4)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)

4. Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (8-5)

6. Indianapolis Colts (7-6)

7. Buffalo Bills (7-6)

8. Cleveland Browns (7-6)

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6)

10. Denver Broncos (7-6)

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1)

12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-7)

13. Miami Dolphins (6-7)

14. New York Jets (3-10)

15. Houston Texans (2-11)

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)

NFC Standings

1. Arizona Cardinals (10-2)

2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)

4. Dallas Cowboys (9-4)

5. Los Angeles Rams (8-4)

6. San Francisco 49ers (7-6)

7. Washington Football Team (6-7)

8. Minnesota Vikings (6-7)

9. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

10. Atlanta Falcons (6-7)

11. New Orleans Saints (6-7)

12. Carolina Panthers (5-8)

13. Seattle Seahawks (5-8)

14. New York Giants (4-9)

15. Chicago Bears (4-9)

16. Detroit Lions (1-11-1)


In the AFC, the Chiefs made a major statement about their status as a Super Bowl contender, absolutely smoking the Raiders and setting up an enormous AFC West showdown with the Chargers on Thursday night.

The Titans, meanwhile, kept pace for the top overall seed in the conference, smacking around a hapless Jaguars team that may be giving up on head coach Urban Meyer.

Things aren't pretty in Jacksonville:

Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny

Urban Meyer looked positively numb walking off after his team got shut out and his franchise quarterback threw four picks. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Jags?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Jags</a>

Graham Barfield @GrahamBarfield

This is the lowest the Jags have ever been. The Doug Marrone era feels like Bill Parcells compared to Urban.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Jaguars coach Urban Meyer on fixing what's wrong: "What's the answer? Starting leaking some information or nonsense? That's garbage. ... If there is a source, then that source is unemployed. I mean, within seconds."

Brett Kollmann @BrettKollmann

My God, Urban… <a href="https://t.co/RzpVKSmAaP">https://t.co/RzpVKSmAaP</a> <a href="https://t.co/WblKJ5HPgL">pic.twitter.com/WblKJ5HPgL</a>

The Ravens were dealt a double whammy on Sunday, however, both losing to the rival Browns and seeing superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson leave the game with an ankle sprain and not return.

That injury, if it extends beyond Sunday, could have major ramifications in the AFC playoff picture.

The win not only bumped the Browns up the wild-card standings, but it also left them just a game back of the Ravens in the AFC North. 

The Wild Card chase in the AFC is bonkers. With the Bengals and Bills both losing in the late afternoon slate, five teams are now 7-6 and chasing the final two playoff spots, while the Steelers are a half-game back and Raiders and Dolphins are just one game back. Wild stuff. 

In the NFC, the Cowboys all but wrapped up the NFC East title on Sunday, beating Washington and moving three games clear of them in the division. Barring an enormous meltdown—and let's be honest, this organization has not proved to be above such meltdowns in the past two decades—the Cowboys are playoff-bound.

Washington may be as well, but its path to playoff football got a lot murkier after this loss. While it is currently in the last wild-card spot because of tiebreakers, it is one of five NFC teams with a 6-7 record ahead of a crucial matchup against the Eagles next week.

Oh, and the Panthers and Seahawks are just one game back of that final wild-card berth. Carolina's postseason aspirations took a major hit with Sunday's 29-21 loss to the Falcons, while Seattle has now won two in a row after a blowout win over the Texans.

The Bucs, meanwhile, survived a comeback attempt from the Bills to move just a half-game back of the Cardinals for the top overall seed in the NFC. 

As for the "race" to the top overall pick, the Lions remain in the driver's seat, but the Texans and Jaguars are closing in.