NFL Playoff Picture Week 15: AFC, NFC 2020 Postseason Scenarios and Predictions

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2020

NFL Playoff Picture Week 15: AFC, NFC 2020 Postseason Scenarios and Predictions

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Week 14 came to an end on Monday night with one of the most thrilling games of the 2020 NFL season. The Baltimore Ravens narrowly outlasted the Cleveland Browns in a 47-42 slugfest. In doing so, Baltimore gave itself new life in the postseason race.

    At 8-5, Baltimore is now tied with the Miami Dolphins for the AFC's final wild-card slot. However, the race is tight, as more than half of the AFC possesses a record over .500. Things are a little more top-heavy in the NFC, where only six teams possess a record above .500.

    Through 14 weeks, only four teams have clinched playoff berths, and only two division champions have been crowned. Heading into Week 15, that's likely to change.

    Here, you'll find this week's potential playoff scenarios, along with predictions for the final playoff field.

Week 15 Playoff Picture

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    Leon Halip/Associated Press


    1. Green Bay Packers 10-3 (Z)

    2. New Orleans Saints 10-3 (X)

    3. Los Angeles Rams 9-4

    4. Washington Football Team 6-7

    5. Seattle Seahawks 9-4

    6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-5

    7. Arizona Cardinals 7-6

    8. Minnesota Vikings 6-7

    9. Chicago Bears 6-7



    1, Kansas City Chiefs 12-1 (Z)

    2. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-2 (X)

    3. Buffalo Bills 10-3

    4. Tennessee Titans 9-4

    5. Cleveland Browns 9-4

    6. Indianapolis Colts 9-4

    7. Miami Dolphins 8-5

    8. Baltimore Ravens 8-5

    9. Las Vegas Raiders 7-6

    *X=clinched playoff berth, Z=clinched division

Week 15 Scenarios

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press


    The Browns' loss Monday night was good for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who now have a two-game lead in the AFC North with three games to play. A win or a Cleveland loss to the New York Giants on Sunday would hand the division to the Steelers.

    The Steelers also have a shot at claiming the AFC's No. 1 seed. However, even if the Kansas City Chiefs fall to the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh pulls even at 12-2, the Chiefs have the better conference record.

    A Chiefs win and a Steelers loss to the Cincinnati Bengals would give Kansas City a commanding two-game lead with two games to play. A Chiefs win and losses by the Steelers and Buffalo Bills would secure the top seed.

    In the AFC South, it's a two-team race between the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts. Both are 9-4, and either could be leading the division by the end of the week. The Bills can clinch the AFC East with a win and a Dolphins loss. A win gets Buffalo into the postseason at least.



    The Green Bay Packers have locked up the NFC North, but they cannot take the conference's No. 1 seed just yet. They're tied with the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans can reclaim the lead with a win and a Packers loss.

    New Orleans can clinch the NFC South with a win or a loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    The Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks are locked atop the NFC West. Both are 9-4, and neither can clinch the division this week. The Rams can at least clinch a playoff berth by beating the New York Jets in Week 15. L.A. and Seattle will face off in Week 16.

    Perhaps the most interesting situation is in the NFC East. The Washington Football Team is in the lead at 6-7, but all three other teams remain in the hunt. The 4-9 Dallas Cowboys have the longest shot, but the 5-8 New York Giants and 4-8-1 Philadelphia Eagles are in the mix.

Playoff Predictions

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press


    1. Green Bay Packers 

    2. New Orleans Saints

    3. Los Angeles Rams

    4. Washington Football Team

    5. Seattle Seahawks

    6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    7. Arizona Cardinals 



    1, Kansas City Chiefs

    2. Pittsburgh Steelers

    3. Buffalo Bills

    4. Tennessee Titans

    5. Cleveland Browns

    6. Indianapolis Colts

    7. Baltimore Ravens