NFL Playoff Standings 2020: Team-by-Team Records and AFC, NFC Scenarios

Theo SalaunContributor IIIDecember 25, 2019

Philadelphia Eagles' Dallas Goedert celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Michael Perez/Associated Press

Only two spots are left in the NFL playoffsone in the AFC and one in the NFC—and five teams are vying for them. Others are eliminated and looking forward to vacation, while 10 teams have their postseasons clinched but with most still jockeying for position.   

In the meantime, here's how it can all play out. We've got the AFC and NFC current standings, including all teams in the hunt, followed by analysis of the most pivotal scenarios in both conferences.  


AFC Playoff Standings

1. Baltimore Ravens (13-2, clinched bye and home-field advantage)

2. New England Patriots (12-3, clinched AFC East)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4, clinched AFC West)

4. Houston Texans (10-5, clinched AFC South)

5. Buffalo Bills (10-5, clinched playoffs)

6. Tennessee Titans (8-7)

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)

8. Oakland Raiders (7-8)


The AFC Playoff Hunt: Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Oakland's Playoff Hopes Hinge on Week 17

Three teams, one spot. The Titans (at HOU) are the favorites to lock in for the postseason, and they'll clinch if they beat the Texans this week. They can still get in if they lose, but it gets more complicated.

For the Titans to get in despite losing to the Texans, they would need the Steelers (at BAL) and Colts (at JAX) to lose. The latter seems much more unlikely than the former, but for Pittsburgh to steal Tennessee's spot, it'll need to beat Baltimore and Tennessee to lose, too. Alternatively, the Steelers can still get in even if they lose, as long as the Titans lose, the Colts win and the Raiders lose. If the Raiders win, the Steelers can still get in on their strength of schedule if the Chicago Bears (at MIN), Detroit Lions (vs. GB), Los Angeles Chargers (at KC) and Patriots (vs. MIA) all lose. 

Not to be outdone, the Raiders have a clinching scenario messier than the plate after Santa's been through his cookies. For Oakland to get in, it needs to beat the Denver Broncos while the Ravens, Texans and Colts secure wins and, finally, one of the Bears, Lions, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. LAC) or Patriots would also need to win.

The second AFC bye week is also up for grabs, but the Patriots will have it once they beat the Miami Dolphins. If New England somehow loses and Kansas City wins, then the Chiefs will earn that second seed.


NFC Playoff Standings

1. San Francisco 49ers (12-3, clinched playoffs)

2. Green Bay Packers (12-3, clinched NFC North)

3. New Orleans Saints (12-3, clinched NFC South)

4. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)

5. Seattle Seahawks (11-4, clinched playoffs)

6. Minnesota Vikings (10-5, clinched playoffs)

7. Dallas Cowboys (7-8)


NFC Playoff Hubbub: Week 17 Determines Bye Weeks, Dallas and Philadelphia's Postseason Fates

Like the AFC, only one spot remains available in the NFC. Unlike the AFC, only the sixth seed is locked in and four teams are still jockeying for the chance at a bye week. If San Francisco beats Seattle, it'll be the No. 1 seed and get its bye (and home-field advantage). If the 49ers lose, they drop into the wild card. If the Packers beat the Lions or the Saints lose to the Carolina Panthers in Week 17, Green Bay will get a bye week—and that can become the top seed's if Seattle also beats San Francisco. 

As for the Saints, if they win and the 49ers lose, they'll get a bye week. They can also get a bye if they win and the Packers lose or both the Packers and Seahawks win.

Finally, even Seattle can become the top seed if the Seahawks beat the 49ers and both the Saints and Packers lose.

Lower down, the battle for the fourth seed comes down to two rivals: the Eagles and Cowboys. If Philadelphia beats the New York Giants, it is back in the postseason. But, if Philadelphia loses and Dallas beats Washington, the Cowboys will be able to crawl into the playoffs after weeks of disappointment.