NFL Playoff Picture Week 15: Latest AFC, NFC Standings and Bracket Scenarios

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 12, 2019

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes in the first half an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

There are three weeks to go in the NFL regular season and six divisions up for grabs.

Only the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs have clinched division titles to date, but several other teams are closing in on doing so, as well as others nearing a playoff berth.

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are both 11-2—the best record in the NFL—but there are a host of strong teams behind them that should also be viewed as legitimate Super Bowl LIV contenders with the playoffs drawing near.

Entering Week 15, here's a look at the current NFL playoff picture and clinching scenarios.


NFL Standings


Division Leaders

1. Baltimore (11-2)

2. New England (10-3)

3. Kansas City (9-4)

4. Houston (8-5)


Wild Cards

5. Buffalo (9-4)

6. Pittsburgh (8-5)


In the Hunt

7. Tennessee (8-5)

8. Cleveland (6-7)

9. Oakland (6-7)

10. Indianapolis (6-7)

11. Denver (5-8)


Officially Eliminated

12. L.A. Chargers (5-8)

13. N.Y Jets (5-8)

14. Jacksonville (4-9)

15. Miami (3-10)

16. Cincinnati (1-12)



Division Leaders

1. San Francisco (11-2)

2. Green Bay (10-3)

3. New Orleans (10-3)

4. Dallas (6-7)


Wild Cards

5. Seattle (10-3)

6. Minnesota (9-4)


In the Hunt

7. L.A. Rams (8-5)

8. Chicago (7-6)

9. Philadelphia (6-7)


Officially Eliminated

10. Tampa Bay (6-7)

11. Carolina (5-8)

12. Atlanta (4-9)

13. Detroit (3-9-1)

14. Arizona (3-9-1)

15. Washington (3-10)

16. N.Y. Giants (2-11)


Week 15 Playoff Scenarios

Only one team can clinch its division this week, and that's the Ravens. They've already secured a playoff spot, but they would also clinch the AFC North if they beat or tie the Jets, or if the Steelers lose to or tie the Bills.

Baltimore also has a chance to secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC this week. It needs to beat New York, have New England lose to Cincinnati and see Kansas City lose to or tie Denver.

There are only two teams that can clinch playoff berths in the AFC this week—the Patriots and Bills, who are also both battling for the AFC East title.

New England would secure a playoff spot with either a win or a tie against Cincinnati. However, it can't clinch the AFC East until next week, when it plays Buffalo.

The Bills would seal a playoff spot with a win over the Steelers on Sunday night. But if they lose, they would fall from the No. 5 seed to No. 6 in the standings and potentially be in a more precarious position.

As for the NFC, there are three teams that can clinch playoff berths this week.

The Packers would secure their spot in the playoffs with a win and a Rams loss or tie, or if they tie and the Rams lose. Green Bay is hosting Chicago, while Los Angeles is traveling to take on Dallas. The Packers are also trying to close in on clinching the NFC North, as they have a one-game lead over the Vikings.

The 49ers would clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie against the Falcons. They would also secure their spot if the Rams lose to or tie the Cowboys, or if Vikings (at Chargers) and Packers (vs. Bears) both lose.

The Seahawks would clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Panthers and one of the following scenarios: a Rams loss or tie, a Vikings loss or a Packers loss and Vikings tie. They would also secure it with a tie and a Los Angeles loss.

San Francisco and Seattle are having an exciting battle for the NFC West title. The 49ers moved a game ahead of the Seahawks last week, as they beat the Saints and the Seahawks lost to the Rams.

It's possible the Week 17 matchup between the 49ers and Seahawks could have a lot on the line, potentially even the NFC West title.