NFL Playoff Standings 2020: Top Bracket Seeds, Wild-Card Matchups and Scenarios

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the game against the Miami Dolphins  at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Dolphins defeat the Patriots 27-24.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The New England Patriots cost themselves a first-round bye because of a stunning loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.

Earlier this season, Tom Brady and Co. torched the Dolphins with a 43-0 shutout. However, a last-minute touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick propelled Miami to a 27-24 upset win in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and the Patriots dropped to the No. 3 seed in the AFC.

Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers secured their weekend to rest with victories over the Los Angeles Chargers and Detroit Lions, respectively.

And in the nightcap, the San Francisco 49ers used a goal-line stand to snatch home-field advantage in the NFC. We'll cover all of those details and look ahead to the Wild Card Round.


AFC Playoff Seeds

1. Baltimore Ravens (14-2)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
3. New England Patriots (12-4)
4. Houston Texans (10-6)
5. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
6. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

The Ravens and Bills had sealed their No. 1 and No. 5 seeds, respectively, so both teams rested several players. Most notably, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson took a break.

While that decision helped the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Patriots' loss ensured the Houston Texans didn't have a reason to play Deshaun Watson. No matter the result against Tennessee, Houston would have remained the AFC's No. 4 seed.

But it sure helped Tennessee.

Tennessee Titans @Titans

👑 KING RUNS 👑 https://t.co/MZ7DkYu3Pr

The Titans knocked off the under-manned Texans behind a 211-yard, three-touchdown performance from Derrick Henry. Ryan Tannehill also tossed two scores in the 35-14 win, helping Tennessee complete a turnaround from its 2-4 start to finish 9-7.

In the Wild Card Round, head coach Mike Vrabel will face his former coach and team in Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Houston, on the other hand, will welcome Buffalo to town. This season, the Bills capitalized on a soft schedule and played superb defense en route to a 10-6 record.


NFC Playoff Seeds and Scenarios

1. San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
4. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
5. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)

As the Saints cruised to a 35-3 halftime lead against the Carolina Panthers, the Packers needed a second-half comeback to thwart the Detroit Lions' upset hopes. Green Bay trailed 17-3 at the break and 20-13 in the fourth quarter.

Fortunately for the Packers, the defense snagged a key interception that led to the game-tying touchdown. The unit forced a three-and-out with 1:26 remaining in regulation, and Mason Crosby drilled a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

Green Bay Packers @packers

GAME. WINNER. @crosbykicks2 delivers the first-round playoff bye! #GBvsDET | #GoPackGo https://t.co/xuZBr0gDkI

The victory means Green Bay will be No. 2 in the NFC, while New Orleans will be third.

Both the Packers and Saints waited on the result in Seattle, and the 49ers emerged with a dramatic 26-21 win. They stopped Jacob Hollister inchesliterally inchesshy of breaking the plane with nine seconds remaining in regulation.

The Seahawks will travel to face the Eagles, who pulled away from the New York Giants in the fourth quarter to seal the NFC East crown. Philly scored the last 17 points of a 34-17 final.


Wild Card Round Matchups


The first round matchups for the Playoffs are set. LET’S DO THIS. https://t.co/cfEUkiIjON

AFC: No. 5 Buffalo Bills at No. 4 Houston Texans
When: Saturday, Jan. 4, at 4:35 p.m. ET (ABC)

AFC: No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 3 New England Patriots
When: Saturday, Jan. 4, at 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)

NFC: No. 6 Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 New Orleans Saints
When: Sunday, Jan. 5, at 1:05 p.m. ET (NBC)

NFC: No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles
When: Sunday, Jan. 5, at 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox)

Looking ahead to the Divisional Round, Baltimore will play the worst AFC seed remaining (No. 4, 5 or 6), while Kansas City will play the better seed (No. 3, 4 or 5). The same applies to San Francisco (No. 4, 5 or 6) and Green Bay (No. 3, 4 or 5).


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.