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NFL Playoff Bracket 2020: Picks and Predictions for AFC, NFC Wild Card

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 22:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans throws a pass in the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at Nissan Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.   (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With just one round of regular-season matches to go in the 2019 NFL season, there are still playoff places up for grabs.

In the AFC, the Tennessee Titans sit in the final wild-card berth and can confirm their postseason status with a victory at the home of AFC South rivals the Houston Texans. Should they slip up, the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Oakland Raiders can capitalise.

Meanwhile, in the NFC the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks will go head-to-head in an NFC West division decider. The Philadelphia Eagles need a win at the New York Giants to secure the NFC East, with the Dallas Cowboys hoping the former stumble.

                      

AFC

Division Leaders

1. Baltimore (13-2)

2. New England (12-3)

3. Kansas City (11-4)

4. Houston (10-5)

              

Wild Cards

5. Buffalo (10-5)

6. Tennessee (8-7)

        

In the Hunt

7. Pittsburgh (8-7)

8. Oakland (7-8)

        

There's still plenty to play for in the AFC in Week 17, with the Titans in control of their destiny despite suffering back-to-back losses.

Having been beaten by the Texans in a crucial Week 15 encounter, they were humbled 38-28 by the New Orleans Saints in their previous outing. The Titans took a 14-0 lead before Drew Brees and Michael Thomas took over.

On offense, there were some positives for Tennessee, with Ryan Tannehill continuing his excellent run of form. Titans broadcaster Mike Herndon put the quarterback's season into context:

Mike Herndon @MikeMiracles

The #Titans have scored at least 20 points in every game since Ryan Tannehill took over. The 1988 Oilers are the only other team in franchise history to post a streak of at least 9 straight games with at least 20 points scored.

It will be intriguing to see what approach the Texans take in this encounter, with the AFC South already secured. Per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online, there are a number of question marks over the fitness of key players too:

Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports

#Texans QB Deshaun Watson (back), WR DeAndre Hopkins (illness) and tackle Laremy Tunsil (ankle) all listed as limited in Thursday's practice on Injury Report. vs @Titans on Sunday

With the playoffs in mind, you suspect no risks will be taken when it comes to the fitness of Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins; that will likely give the edge to the Titans amid what promises to be a low-key atmosphere at NRG Stadium.

             

NFC

Division Leaders

1. San Francisco (12-3)

2. Green Bay (12-3)

3. New Orleans (12-3)

4. Philadelphia (8-7)

         

Wild Cards

5. Seattle (11-4)

6. Minnesota (10-5)

        

In the Hunt

Dallas (7-8)

          

A win for the Eagles over the Cowboys in Week 16's crunch encounter means they are in the box seat in the NFC East.

A win over the Giants on Sunday would see Philadelphia locked in for the post-season. Despite a strong performance from New York in Week 16—Daniel Jones threw five touchdown passes and for 352 yards in a 41-35 victory over the Washington Redskins—the Eagles should be too hot for their opponents.

Per James Palmer of the NFL Network, in Carson Wentz, the Eagles have a ruthless quarterback when the team gets into strong positions:

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

-Carson Wentz has 19 TD, 0 INT, 105.6 passer rating in the red zone this season. Only Lamar Jackson (24) has more such pass TD with no INT

While the Cowboys will have an eye on the scoreline at Giants Stadium, they know a win against the Washington Redskins is imperative if they are to stand any chance of making the postseason.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Seattle will be hoping to move out of the first wild-card spot with a win over the 49ers. Victory for the Seahawks in this crucial NFC West showdown would see San Francisco drop into a wild-card berth.

If the 49ers win, they will be the NFC's top seed, although the Green Bay Packers and Saints can snatch that position if they were to win and other results went in their favour; they are up against the Detroit Lions and the Carolina Panthers, respectively.