NFL Standings 2021: Week 13 Records, Playoff Scenarios, Wild Card Picture

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 30, 2021

NFL Standings 2021: Week 13 Records, Playoff Scenarios, Wild Card Picture

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    With 12 Weeks of the 2021 NFL season in the books, the league standings look more like a traffic jam.

    Three different teams have an AFC-best eight wins, including the Baltimore Ravens, who ascended to the No. 1 seed with their win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night. The back end of the NFC bracket, meanwhile, is bottlenecked by six different teams with five wins apiece, starting with seventh-seeded Washington.

    It's too early to feel real great about making playoff predictions, but it's always a good time to dig into the standings to uncover potential playoff matchups and take stock of the wild-card race.

Updated Standings

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    Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

    AFC

    1. Baltimore Ravens (8-3)

    2. New England Patriots (8-4)

    3. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

    4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

    5. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

    6. Buffalo Bills (7-4)

    7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

    8. Denver Broncos (6-5)

    9. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

    10. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

    11. Cleveland Browns (6-6)

    12. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

    13. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

    14. New York Jets (3-8)

    15. Houston Texans (2-9)

    16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

                   

    NFC

    1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

    2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

    3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

    4. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

    5. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

    6. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)

    7. Washington Football Team (5-6)

    8. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)

    9. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

    10. New Orleans Saints (5-6)

    11. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

    12. Carolina Panthers (5-7)

    13. New York Giants (4-7)

    14. Chicago Bears (4-7)

    15. Seattle Seahawks (3-8)

    16. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

Playoff Scenarios

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    AFC First-Round Matchups

    No. 2 New England Patriots vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Chargers

    No. 3 Tennessee Titans vs. No. 6 Buffalo Bills

    No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs vs. No. 5 Cincinnati Bengals

    This bracket will surely change between now and the campaign's curtain drop, but it would be hard to complain if this was the first-round schedule the football gods assembled.

    A New England-L.A. battle would put two of the league's top young quarterbacks against one another in Mac Jones and Justin Herbert—and force each signal-caller to deal with a relentless pass-rusher (Matthew Judon for the Pats, Joey Bosa for the Chargers). The Titans would be out to prove they can win without Derrick Henry, while the Bills would want to show they are an elite team and not the one that has struggled to a 3-3 mark over its last six games.

    Finally, the Bengals could have a chance to start their playoff return with a cannon-ball splash if they knock off the Chiefs. Cincinnati has had the better season (plus-83 scoring differential to K.C.'s plus-31), but the Chiefs will always be a threat with Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

                  

    NFC First-Round Matchups

    No. 2 Green Bay Packers vs. No. 7 Washington

    No. 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. No. 6 San Francisco 49ers

    No. 4 Dallas Cowboys vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Rams

    Imagine where the Taylor Heinicke hype train could head if he survived a postseason staredown with Aaron Rodgers. It's unlikely, sure, but doesn't feel impossible, especially with Rodgers dealing with a fractured toe.

    Tampa-San Francisco could be all kinds of fun, as Tom Brady, a Bay Area native, could tussle with his hometown team and against his former backup in New England, Jimmy Garoppolo. If the quarterback battle was the featured fight, Bruce Arian's defense against Kyle Shanahan's offense would be quite the undercard.

    The Cowboys (third) and Rams (fifth) both rank among the top five in passing yards per game. Need we say more about how great their matchup would be?

Wild Card Picture

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    David Eulitt/Getty Images

    AFC

    5. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

    6. Buffalo Bills (7-4) 

    7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

    8. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

    9. Denver Broncos (6-5)

    10. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

    11. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1) 

    12. Cleveland Browns (6-6)

    13. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

    14. New York Jets (3-8)

    15. Houston Texans (2-9)

    16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

    There's enough remaining schedule that you can't even call this an x-team race. The Chargers have the final wild card spot for now, but the four teams directly behind them have the same number of wins (six), and two others have five.

    Stick a fork in the Jets, Texans and Jaguars—assuming you haven't already—but otherwise, everyone remains in the hunt.

    For Week 13 wild-card watchers, keep a close eye on the Bengals-Chargers, Broncos-Chiefs and Bills-Patriots. All three intraconference collisions could have a significant impact on the playoff picture.

                  

    NFC

    5. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

    6. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)

    7. Washington Football Team (5-6)

    8. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)

    9. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

    10. New Orleans Saints (5-6)

    11. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

    12. Carolina Panthers (5-7)

    13. New York Giants (4-7)

    14. Chicago Bears (4-7)

    15. Seattle Seahawks (3-8)

    16. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

    Before Monday night, Washington was buried at No. 12. One win over the slumping Seahawks later, and the Football Team has jumped to No. 7.

    That's how quickly things can change this time of year, although that won't necessarily be reflected in Week 13.

    Several wild-card hopefuls have on-paper gimmes on the schedule (the Rams get the Jaguars, the Vikings draw the Lions, the 49ers face the free-falling Seahawks, the Eagles have the Jets), but Dallas' trip to New Orleans on Thursday night will have plenty of eyeballs on it. The Falcons could get a ton of attention if they can upset the Buccaneers on Sunday.

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