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NFL Playoff Schedule 2018-19: TV Info, Predictions for AFC and NFC Matchups

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2018

Drew Brees and the Saints have soared to the top spot in the NFC playoff race.
Drew Brees and the Saints have soared to the top spot in the NFC playoff race.Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

The NFL playoff picture is beginning to come into focus with three weeks of the regular season remaining, but there are a number of details that still have to be worked out.

The Kansas City Chiefs (11-2) are the top seed in the AFC at this point, and they are the only team in the conference to have clinched a playoff spot. They are likely to be joined by the Los Angeles Chargers (10-3), New England Patriots (9-4) and the Houston Texans (9-4).

In the NFC, the New Orleans Saints (11-2) have clinched the NFC South and are holding onto the No. 1 seed, while the Los Angeles Rams (11-2) have won the NFC West and are the No. 2 seed even though they dropped a 15-6 decision to the Chicago Bears (9-4) Sunday night.

Chicago, the current NFC No. 3, is in first place in the NFC North and the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) lead the NFC East. Both teams are likely to remain in those spots, but neither have clinched their respective divisions.

The Seattle Seahawks (7-5) and Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1) are holding down the two wild-card spots in the NFC prior to their Monday night meeting at CenturyLink Field. They will still be holding onto those positions after the game, although the Vikings would move into the No. 1 wild-card spot if they win on the road.

Both teams have an excellent chance to make the playoffs since they are being chased by teams with losing records. The Carolina Panthers (6-7), Philadelphia Eagles (6-7), Washington Redskins (6-7) and Green Bay Packers (5-7-1) all have a chance to earn wild-card spots, but they would need multiple losses by the Seahawks and Vikings to get there.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are still holding onto first place in the AFC North despite a three-game losing streak.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are still holding onto first place in the AFC North despite a three-game losing streak.Ben Margot/Associated Press

The AFC North is suddenly up for grabs because the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1) have lost three games in a row, leaving them a half-game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens (7-6). Both teams have challenging closing schedules, and the Steelers could see their losing streak reach five games because they play the Patriots and the Saints the next two weeks before closing the season at home against the Bengals.

Winning that game may be good enough to win the division if the Ravens lose two of their final three games (vs. Tampa Bay, at Los Angeles Chargers, vs. Cleveland).

Speaking of the Browns (5-7-1), they could end up with a winning record if they win out at Denver, at home against the Bengals and at Baltimore. If they finished tied with the Steelers, Pittsburgh would win the division based on their 1-0-1 record against Cleveland.

The Chargers and Chiefs meet Thursday night in Kansas City, and a victory by Los Angeles would give both teams 11-3 records. However, the Chiefs would still have the tiebreaker edge based on having the better divisional record.

The No. 2 wild-card spot in the AFC is a battle between the Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and the Miami Dolphins, all of whom are 7-6. 

The most crucial game in determining that playoff spot could be the season finale between the Colts and Titans in Tennessee.

           

Playoff Prediction Matchups

AFC

1. Kansas City

2. New England

3. Houston

4. Pittsburgh

5. L.A. Chargers

6. Tennessee

This would set up a Tennessee-at-Houston matchup in one wild-card game, with the Chargers traveling to Pittsburgh in the other matchup. Those games would be played January 5 or 6.

The lower-seeded wild-card winner would go to Kansas City, while the higher-seeded team would play at New England in the divisional playoff round January 12 or 13.

The AFC Championship Game will be played at the home of the higher-seeded team January 20, and the winner will go to the Super Bowl February 3 in Atlanta.

Both the AFC title game and Super Bowl LIII will be televised by CBS.

      

NFC 

1. New Orleans

2. L.A. Rams

3. Chicago

4. Dallas

5. Seattle 

6. Minnesota 

The Vikings and Bears close the regular season in Minnesota in Week 17, and this scenario would set up a return meeting in Chicago in the wild-card round. The Seahawks would travel to Dallas in the other wild-card game, and those games would be played the weekend of January 5 and 6.

The lower-seeded winner would go to New Orleans in one divisional playoff game, while the higher seed will play at the Rams' Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the weekend of January 12 and 13.

The NFC title game will be played at the higher seed January 20, and that game will be televised by Fox.

The winner of the NFC title game advances to the Super Bowl.

ESPN, NBC, CBS and Fox will televise games in the wild-card and divisional playoff rounds. The specific networks for each matchup will be determined later.


NFL games, studio shows and more are available through Fubo.TV.

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