NFL Playoff Scenarios 2020: Complete Bracket Picture and AFC, NFC Odds

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr passes against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

As the NFL enters the final week of the regular season, every team that hasn't clinched a playoff berth is simply hoping for a chance. The Oakland Raiders are the epitome of that outlook in 2019.

According to Football Outsiders, the Raiders head into Week 17 with a 7.6 percent chance of earning a wild-card spotthe lowest of all remaining postseason contenders.

Oakland needs considerable help to leap the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. In fact, the Raiders are hoping for the Indianapolis Colts to create a four-way tie in the AFC. That's the only scenario that puts Oakland in the playoffs.


Week 17 NFL Standings


1. Baltimore Ravens (13-2, clinched 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)
6. Tennessee Titans (8-7)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)
8. Oakland Raiders (7-8)

No. 1 seed: The Baltimore Ravens have clinched home-field advantage behind a 13-2 record and head-to-head win over the New England Patriots.

No. 2: Only the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs could be the No. 2 seed. If the Patriots have a better record, they will receive a first-round bye. If Kansas City and New England finish 12-4, the Chiefs will have a week off thanks to a head-to-head win.

No. 3: If the Chiefs are second, the Patriots will be third. If not, it's similar to the above scenario. Kansas City has a one-game edge, but the Houston Texans won the head-to-head matchup and would be No. 3 if the Chiefs and Texans have identical records.

No. 4: Should the Patriots be No. 2, the No. 4 seed will be the loser of Kansas City/Houston scenario. If the Chiefs claim second and New England drops to third, Houston will be fourth in the AFC.

No. 5: The Buffalo Bills cannot win the AFC East but also cannot be caught from behind in the wild-card picture.

No. 6: The Titans will be No. 6 with a victory or if Pittsburgh loses, as long as either Oakland or Indianapolis loses. That's the four-way deadlock the Raiders are hoping to see. The Steelers will sneak into the playoffs if they defeat the Ravens and Tennessee loses to Houston, Other, more complicated, scenarios send Pittsburgh through despite a loss, but they all hinge on a Tennessee defeat.



1. San Francisco 49ers (12-3, NFC West leader)
2. Green Bay Packers (12-3, clinched NFC North)
3. New Orleans Saints (12-3, clinched NFC South)
4. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7, NFC East leader)
5. Seattle Seahawks (11-4)
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-5)
In NFC East race: Dallas Cowboys (7-8)

No. 1: Despite the many scenarios, it should be easy to follow. If the San Francisco 49ers win, they are No. 1. If the 49ers lose and the Green Bay Packers win, Green Bay is atop the NFC. If the 49ers and Packers are defeated, the New Orleans Saints would be No. 1 with a victory. If the 49ers, Packers and Saints lose, the Seattle Seahawks will snag home-field advantage.

No. 2: The 49ers cannot be No. 2, but the Packers, Saints and Seahawks all may be. If the 49ers and Packers win, Green Bay is second. If oneand only oneof the 49ers or Packers lose, the Saints can grab the No. 2 seed with a win. If the 49ers fall and only one of the Packers and Saints lose, Seattle slides to second.

No. 3: Process of elimination with the above scenarios. Priority for the top three seeds goes San Francisco, Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle. Neither the Packers nor Saints can fall below third, and Green Bay wins every tiebreaker with the Saints.

No. 4: The winner of the NFC East will be fourth. If the Philadelphia Eagles win or the Dallas Cowboys lose, it's Philadelphia. If the Eagles are defeated and Cowboys win, it's Dallas.

No. 5: Whichever team loses Sunday night's clash between the 49ers and Seahawks will be fifth.

No. 6: The Minnesota Vikings will be sixth; they are two games behind San Francisco and lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with Seattle.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.