NFL Playoff Picture Week 14: Latest AFC, NFC Standings and Bracket Scenarios

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Brady's next touchdown pass will move him past a couple of all-time greats. Brady is currently tied with Brett Favre for third place for the most regular-season TD passes with 508. Brady is also tied with Peyton Manning for the most ever combined in the regular season and playoffs with 579. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini, FIle)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

As many as five NFL teams can clinch playoff spots in Week 14. 

Entering the fourth-to-last weekend of the regular season, the Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise locked into the postseason after they secured the NFC West in Week 13. 

Of the quintet who could seal a playoff berth Sunday, three of the teams have an opportunity to win their division. 

When it comes to the wild-card races in both conferences, one of the four positions could be locked up Sunday, but a series of results would have to fall into line. 

                       

Week 14 NFL Standings

AFC 

Division Leaders

1. Kansas City (10-2) 

2. New England (9-3) 

3. Houston (9-3)

4. Pittsburgh (7-4-1)

Wild-Card Race

5. Los Angeles Chargers (9-3)

6. Baltimore (7-5) 

7. Miami (6-6) 

8. Indianapolis (6-6) 

9. Denver (6-6) 

10. Tennessee (6-6) 

11. Cincinnati (5-7) 

12. Cleveland (4-7-1) 

13. Buffalo (4-8) 

14. Jacksonville (4-8) 

15. New York Jets (3-9) 

Officially Eliminated

16. Oakland (2-10) 

            

NFC 

Division Leaders

1. Los Angeles Rams (11-1)*

2. New Orleans (10-2) 

3. Chicago (8-4) 

4. Dallas (7-5) 

Wild-Card Race

5. Seattle (7-5) 

6. Minnesota (6-5-1) 

7. Carolina (6-6) 

8. Philadelphia (6-6)

9. Washington (6-6)

10. Tampa Bay (5-7) 

11. Green Bay (4-7-1) 

12. Atlanta (4-8) 

13. New York Giants (4-8) 

14. Detroit (4-8) 

15. Arizona (3-9) 

Officially Eliminated

16. San Francisco (2-10) 

*Denotes team clinched playoff berth. 

                      

Bracket Scenarios

AFC 

Sunday's 1 p.m. ET window could see three teams clinch playoff berths in the AFC, per NFL.com.

Kansas City sits in the driver's seat for home-field advantage, but one loss combined with a Los Angeles Chargers win could change the complexion of the AFC playoff picture. 

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs steps out of bounds diving short of the end zone against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 2, 2018 in Oakland,
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Before attempting to secure the AFC West against the Chargers in Week 15, the Chiefs can seal a playoff berth with a win over Baltimore. 

If the Chiefs lose to the Ravens, they can still qualify for the playoffs with losses or ties by Indianapolis, Miami and Tennessee. 

Houston and New England can secure spots in the top four of the AFC in Week 14, with the Patriots holding the easier path to the postseason. 

If the Patriots defeat or tie Miami on the road, they'll be the AFC East champion, while Houston takes the AFC South with a victory over Indianapolis and a loss or tie by Tennessee against Jacksonville Thursday. 

Then there are the complicated formulas that can get the Chargers into the playoffs, which starts with a Los Angeles win over the Cincinnati Bengals. 

In the first scenario, the Chargers reach the playoffs with a victory and losses or ties by Miami, Denver, Indianapolis and Tennessee. 

If the Chargers tie the Bengals, they can clinch with losses by Miami and Denver and a loss or tie out of Tennessee and Indianapolis, as long as the Colts and Titans both don't tie. 

                   

NFC 

After earning the NFC West title in Detroit a week ago, the Rams can create distance between themselves and the No. 3 seed Chicago Bears while confirming a first-round bye. 

With a win over Chicago, Sean McVay's team will earn a week off at the start of the postseason, as it will be separated from the Bears by four games. 

Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Co. missed out on qualifying for the playoffs in Week 13, and their next chance comes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The Saints will win the NFC South with a win or tie or a Carolina loss or tie against Cleveland. 

If the Saints stumble at the hands of the Buccaneers, they can still move into the playoffs with a Minnesota loss and a loss or tie by Philadelphia and Washington. 

Beneath the Rams and the Saints, teams are just jockeying for position, with the Bears in the best situation to gain ground by defeating the Rams. 

The No. 4 seed could change hands Sunday afternoon if the Eagles enact revenge on the Cowboys and even the season series at AT&T Stadium. 

Down in the wild-card race, Seattle can put itself in the driver's seat for the No. 5 seed by beating No. 6 seed Minnesota Monday night. 

                 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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