NFL Playoff Picture 2019: Week 16 Wild-Card Hunt, Standings and Super Bowl Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (81) celebrates with running back Devin Singletary (26) and others after scoring on a pass from quarterback Josh Allen during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

The list of potential NFL playoff teams is narrowing by the week. 

Entering Week 16, there are four remaining postseason spots, two in the AFC and two in the NFC. 

Only one division champion has yet to be determined in the AFC, and that will come down to the Houston Texans' clash with the Tennessee Titans on the final day of the regular season. 

We will see more clarity in the NFC East Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Philadelphia Eagles. 

The order of the two wild-card positions is more complicated because of the tight nature of the AFC race and the NFC West's impact on the wild-card hunt ahead of the Minnesota Vikings. 


NFL Standings


Division Leaders

1. Baltimore (12-2)

2. New England (11-3)

3. Kansas City (10-4)

4. Houston (9-5) 

Wild-Card Race

5. Buffalo (10-4)

6. Pittsburgh (8-6) 

7. Tennessee (8-6) 

8. Indianapolis (6-7) 

9. Cleveland (6-8) 

10. Oakland (6-8) 


The Buffalo Bills locked up the fourth AFC playoff position with its victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday. 

Don Wright/Associated Press

With a two-game advantage and a head-to-head win in hand, the Bills will finish as the No. 5 seed if they do not beat the New England Patriots in Week 16 and win the AFC East. 

Sean McDermott's team will likely face the AFC South champion since the Texans sit one game back of the Kansas City Chiefs, and a Titans victory in Week 17 would further that gap. 

The Titans face the most difficult finish with New Orleans coming to Nissan Stadium in Week 16 with NFC home-field advantage still on the line. 

Unless the Steelers unexpectedly lose to the New York Jets in Week 16, Mike Vrabel's team will be one game behind the AFC North side on conference record, which is the second tiebreaker behind head-to-head. 

If Houston ends 1-1 and Pittsburgh wins out, both teams would be 10-6 with 8-4 AFC records. 

That scenario would complicate matters more since the two squads would have 3-2 marks against common opponents. Baltimore, Indianapolis, New England and the Los Angeles Chargers are the four foes each team faced. 

The NFL's fourth wild-card tiebreaker is strength of victory. Houston holds a .488 to .311 advantage in that category. 

Of course, this all can be avoided by Houston beating Tennessee at home in Week 17, which would open up the No. 6 seed for the Steelers. 

Mike Tomlin's team could face a weakened Ravens lineup on the same day if John Harbaugh's squad secures home-field advantage with a win over the Cleveland Browns.

If an upset occurs at First Energy Stadium in Week 16, then another complication will be added to the mix. 

Indianapolis, Cleveland and Oakland are still alive, but they all need the Steelers and Titans to lose two in a row to have a shot at the wild-card. 

The Browns can be eliminated with a loss to the Ravens, while the Raiders hit the road to face the Chargers and Chiefs. 

If the Colts upset the New Orleans Saints Monday, they would have a slight edge, but they would still need Pittsburgh to lose out because they fell to the AFC North squad in Week 9. 



Division Leaders

1. Seattle (11-3)

2. Green Bay (11-3)

3. New Orleans (10-3) 

4. Dallas (7-7) 

Wild-Card Race

5. San Francisco (11-3)

6. Minnesota (10-4)

7. Los Angeles Rams (8-6)

8. Chicago (7-7) 

9. Philadelphia (7-7) 


The NFC wild-card race is much easier to figure out than the AFC. 

The second-place team in the NFC West and the Minnesota Vikings are likely to land the two road trips on wild-card weekend. 

Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

San Francisco and Seattle are expected to play for the division crown in Week 17, so that would take care of the current No. 5 seed, with the loser earning a trip to the NFC East champion. 

Mike Zimmer's team can still capture the NFC North, but it needs to beat the Green Bay Packers in Week 16 to start that process. 

The Vikings would still have to beat the Chicago Bears at home in Week 17 and have the Packers fall to the Detroit Lions to level the two sides on divisional record. 

In that situation, Minnesota would win the NFC North through a one-game advantage on conference record. 

To stay alive, the Los Angeles Rams have to beat the 49ers and then hope for a Green Bay victory two days later. 

If the Vikings lose their last two games and the Rams win out, Sean McVay's side would earn a playoff berth through a superior conference record. 

The Bears can't make the playoffs, but they can play a role in the hunt by beating Minnesota December 29. 

Philadelphia is actually beneath Chicago in the wild-card standings, but it still has life if it takes first place in the NFC East by way of a Week 16 win over Dallas. 


Super Bowl Odds

Odds via Caesars

Baltimore (+250; bet $100 to win $250)

New Orleans (+500)

San Francisco (+500) 

Seattle (+500)

New England (+600)

Kansas City (+700)

Green Bay (+1500)

Minnesota (+1500) 

Buffalo (+3000) 

Dallas (+3000)

Houston (+3000)

Philadelphia (+4000)

Tennessee (+5000)

Pittsburgh (+7500)

Los Angeles Rams (+15000)

Indianapolis (+50000)


Baltimore has to be considered the Super Bowl favorite going into the postseason because of its dominant play and six victories over teams currently in playoff positions. 

Even though they top the odds chart, the Ravens can still double your wager if they finish with the Lombardi Trophy. 

The owner of home-field advantage in the NFC deserves attention, but that squad will not be determined until Week 17 since four teams could enter next weekend at 11-3. 

Of the four, Green Bay contains the longest odds. The Packers are in that spot because of their 29-point loss to the 49ers. 

Since Matt Lafleur's side still has a shot at one of the top two seeds, it may be worth a gamble at +1500 before its odds drop a bit. 

Picking a long shot is more of a risk since the previous six Super Bowls have featured either No. 1 or No. 2 seeds. 


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