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NFL Playoff Standings 2020: Records, Postseason Scenarios and Wild Card Review

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 30, 2019

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 29: Defensive end Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers dives to tackle quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks during the game at CenturyLink Field on December 29, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The stakes will be higher moving forward this NFL season.

The regular season is over, and the playoffs are set to begin. That starts with the Wild Card Round this weekend, which will feature a pair of AFC matchups on Saturday and two NFC games on Sunday. However, not every team will be in action as the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs earned first-round byes in the AFC and the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers received them in the NFC.

For the other eight playoff teams, the road to Super Bowl LIV begins this weekend.

Heading into the postseason, here's a look at the playoff standings and each of the four Wild Card Round matchups.

   

AFC Playoff Standings

Division Winners

1. Baltimore (14-2)

2. Kansas City (12-4)

3. New England (12-4)

4. Houston (10-6)

Wild Cards

5. Buffalo (10-6)

6. Tennessee (9-7)

NFC Playoff Standings

Division Winners

1. San Francisco (13-3)

2. Green Bay (13-3)

3. New Orleans (13-3)

4. Philadelphia (9-7)

Wild Cards

5. Seattle (11-5)

6. Minnesota (10-6)

Postseason Scenarios and Wild-Card Matchups

No. 5 Buffalo Bills at No. 4 Houston Texans: Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET on ESPN/ABC

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 21: DeAndre Hopkins #10 and Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans warm up before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Neither of these teams are entering the playoffs with much momentum. The Texans haven't won more than two consecutive games all season and they lost their regular-season finale at home vs. the Titans. The Bills lost three of their four December games, although they rested their starters in Sunday's loss to the Jets.

Buffalo has the 24th-ranked offense in the NFL, so if it's going to go on the road and take down Houston, it's going to need to limit the Texans' offensive production and play its style of football. The Bills' defense is ranked No. 3 in the NFL, allowing only 298.2 total yards per game, but they'll face a strong Texans offense that features playmakers such as quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Bills have had some success doing that in the past, though, as they've won four of their last five meetings with the Texans, including the last matchup between the two teams on Oct. 14, 2018.

If the Patriots win the other AFC wild-card game, then the winner of this game will play the Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round. However, if the Titans are the other winner, then the Texans-Bills victor would play the Chiefs the following weekend.

    

No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 3 New England Patriots: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

The Patriots may have lost three of their last five games—including Sunday's surprising home defeat to the Dolphins—but they do have the No. 1 defense in the NFL this season. They've allowed only 275.9 total yards per game and led the league with only 225 points against.

So, the Titans' offense will face a big challenge in this road matchup. Tennessee beat out Pittsburgh and Oakland to secure the second AFC wild card, earning the berth with a 35-14 road win over Houston on Sunday.

New England has won seven of its last eight meetings with Tennessee. However, it lost the last time the two teams faced, as the Titans beat the Patriots at home 34-10 in Week 10 of the 2018 season.

If the Pats can take care of business and win at least one playoff game for the ninth straight year, they'd advance to face the Chiefs the next weekend in a rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game. If the Titans notch an upset victory, they'd face the top-seeded Ravens on the road in the AFC Divisional Round.

   

No. 6 Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 New Orleans Saints: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET on Fox

Brian Blanco/Associated Press

Typically, a 13-3 season is enough to earn a first-round bye. However, the Saints lost to both the 49ers and Packers, two other NFC teams that also had 13 wins, during the regular season, so they'll be hosting the Vikings in a wild-card matchup on Sunday.

It was another strong regular season for New Orleans, but it will be looking for a deeper postseason run this year. Two years ago, the Saints lost to the Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round. Then, last season, they fell to the Rams in overtime in the NFC Championship Game.

New Orleans hasn't reached the Super Bowl since winning it at the end of the 2009 season. But before it can look too far ahead, it has to beat Minnesota, which is in the playoffs for the first time since losing in the NFC Championship Game two years ago.

If the Saints win, they'd advance to take on the Packers on the road in the next round in a matchup of two all-time-great quarterbacks—New Orleans' Drew Brees and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers. If the Vikings win, they'd go on the road to face the top-seeded 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round.

No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles: Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET on NBC

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

This is the only wild-card matchup that features two teams that have already played this season. And it wasn't that long ago, as the Seahawks traveled to Philadelphia and beat the Eagles 17-9 in Week 12.

But Seattle has lost some momentum since then, as it lost three of its last four games to finish second in the NFC West behind San Francisco, which notched a 26-21 road win over the Seahawks on Sunday night. It also lost to the Rams and Cardinals, its other two division rivals, during that stretch.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are on a surge entering the playoffs. Since falling to 5-7 with a loss to the Dolphins in Week 13, they've won four straight games, all against NFC East rivals, to get into the postseason for the third straight year. It will also be looking to win the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons.

If the Saints win the other NFC wild-card game, then the winner of this game will play the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round. However, if the Vikings are the other winner, then the Eagles-Seahawks victor would play the Packers the following weekend.