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NFL Standings 2019: Week 15 Records, Playoff Scenarios, Wild Card Review

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2019

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo celebrates his touchdown pass with offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (69) in the first half an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Only three weeks remain in the 2019 NFL season, but the playoff race is still very far from finished. Only the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints have clinched their respective divisions to this point. The Baltimore Ravens are the only other team to have clinched a playoff spot.

No team has secured a first-round bye yet.

A lot can change in Week 15, and here, we'll break down some of the most significant playoff races. We'll also examine the wild-card race for both conferences. First, though, a look at the current conference standings.

    

Standings

AFC

1. Baltimore Ravens 11-2

2. New England Patriots 10-3

3. Kansas City Chiefs 9-4

4. Houston Texans 8-5

5. Buffalo Bills 9-4

6. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-5

7.Tennessee Titans 8-5

8. Oakland Raiders 6-7

9. Indianapolis Colts 6-7

10. Cleveland Browns 6-7

11. Denver Broncos 5-8

12. Los Angeles Chargers 5-8

13. New York Jets 5-8

14. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-9

15. Miami Dolphins 3-10

16. Cincinnati Bengals 1-12

   

NFC

1. San Francisco 49ers 11-2

2. Green Bay Packers 10-3

3. New Orleans Saints 10-3

4. Dallas Cowboys 6-7

5. Seattle Seahawks 10-3

6. Minnesota Vikings 9-4

7. Los Angeles Rams 8-5

8. Chicago Bears 7-6

9. Philadelphia Eagles 6-7

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-7

11. Carolina Panthers 5-8

12. Atlanta Falcons 4-9

13. Detroit Lions 3-9-1

14. Arizona Cardinals 3-9-1

15. Washington Redskins 3-10

    

The NFC East Race

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys lost in Week 14, while the Philadelphia Eagles escaped with a win on Monday night. This leaves the two NFC East rivals tied at 6-7, though Dallas owns the head-to-head tiebreaker for now. These two will meet again in Week 16 in a game that could determine the division.

For Dallas, the first step is getting back into the win column after losing three straight.

"The biggest thing we have to do is just focus on getting one win, and not worry about the implications of that win," head coach Jason Garrett said, via the team's official website.

Even if Dallas loses to the Los Angeles Rams this week, though, it can still retake the division lead by beating Philadelphia for the second time this season. Getting a win this week would be huge, but the Cowboys can still win the division with wins over the Eagles and the Washington Redskins in the final two weeks.

   

The NFC West Race

Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

While the disappointing dynamic of the NFC East is interesting in its own way, the race in the NFC West is a little more intriguing because of its overall impact. The San Francisco 49ers own a one-game lead over the Seattle Seahawks and with that, the No. 1 seed in the conference.

However, the Seahawks own a head-to-head win over the 49ers, so a win in their Week 17 rematch could give them back the lead—and potentially a first-round bye. If that happens, the 49ers will drop to the fifth seed.

Even if the 49ers maintain their grip on the division, there's a very real possibility that we see a 12- or 13-win team visit the 8-8 (or worse) Cowboys or Eagles in the wild-card round of the postseason.

    

NFC, AFC Wild Card Races

Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

The wild-card race in the NFC is fairly straightforward. The Seahawks currently hold the fifth seed, while the Minnesota Vikings hold the No. 6 seed. The Rams sit a game behind Minnesota and can get in with a little help. The Chicago Bears are technically still in the running, though they would need a lot of help to get in at this point.

Over in the AFC, things are much more complicated.

The wild-card race in the AFC really starts with the divisional race in the AFC South. The Houston Texans are tied with the Tennessee Titans at 8-5, but the Titans are currently out due to the conference tiebreaker with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

What's interesting is that the Titans and Texans battle twice in the final three weeks. One or both of these teams could get in depending on how these last three weeks unfold.

The Steelers and the Buffalo Bills currently hold the two wild-card spots in the AFC. They also happen to face off in Week 15. A win would get the Bills to 10 victories and into the postseason, while also leaving the sixth seed open for the likes of the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders.

If the Steelers win this week, however, Pittsburgh will have a huge edge in the wild-card race, while Buffalo will have a slight risk of falling out.

    

Week 15 Clinching Scenarios

John Munson/Associated Press

The Ravens can clinch the AFC North with a win, a tie or a Steelers loss or tie. They can clinch the AFC's No. 1 seed with a win and loses by the Patriots and the Chiefs.

The 49ers can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a tie, with a loss or tie by the Rams or with losses by the Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay, meanwhile, can clinch a berth with a win and a loss or tie by the Rams or with a win and losses by Minnesota and Los Angeles.

The Seahawks can clinch a berth with a win and with a loss by Green Bay, Minnesota or Los Angeles. The Patriots only need a win or tie to clinch a playoff berth, but they cannot clinch the AFC East just yet.

The Bills will clinch a berth with a win.