NFL Standings 2021-22: Week 14 Records, Playoff Scenarios, Wild Card ReviewDecember 7, 2021
NFL Standings 2021-22: Week 14 Records, Playoff Scenarios, Wild Card Review
The New England Patriots bet big on their running game Monday night.
In fact, they staked their claim to the AFC East's No. 1 seed on it.
It could not have paid off any better, as the Patriots secured a 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills despite throwing the ball just three times on the evening. It was the fewest pass attempts by an NFL team since 1974, per ESPN Stats & Info.
With the win, New England widened its lead in the AFC East, while the loss tumbled Buffalo down to seventh in the conference standings.
This playoff race is turning as chaotic as they come—particularly in the AFC—so it's time to refresh the field with a look the standings, current bracket and crowded wild card race.
1. New England (9-4)
2. Tennessee (8-4)
3. Baltimore (8-4)
4. Kansas City (8-4)
5. Los Angeles Chargers (7-5)
6. Cincinnati (7-5)
7. Buffalo (7-5)
8. Pittsburgh (6-5-1)
9. Indianapolis (7-6)
10. Las Vegas (6-6)
11. Cleveland (6-6)
12. Denver (6-6)
13. Miami (6-7)
14. New York Jets (3-9)
15. e-Houston Texans (2-10)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
*e: eliminated from playoff contention
1. Arizona (10-2)
2. Green Bay (9-3)
3. Tampa Bay (9-3)
4. Dallas (8-4)
5. Los Angeles Rams (8-4)
6. Washington (6-6)
7. San Francisco (6-6)
8. Philadelphia (6-7)
9. Minnesota (5-7)
10. Carolina (5-7)
11. Atlanta (5-7)
12. New Orleans (5-7)
13. New York Giants (4-8)
14. Chicago (4-8)
15. Seattle (4-8)
16. Detroit (1-10-1)
Wild Card Round
No. 1 England Patriots: Bye
No. 2 Tennessee Titans vs. No. 7 Buffalo Bills
No. 3 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals
No. 4 Kansas City Chiefs vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers
If the football gods served us this schedule in the opening round, it'd be hard to find any real gripes.
Buffalo might actually be favored over Tennessee, since despite the seeding difference, the Bills' scoring differential is 10 times better than the Titans' (plus-140 to plus-14). While the Ravens can be electric with Lamar Jackson at the helm, it was Joe Burrow and the Bengals providing the most fireworks in their 41-17 triumph in Baltimore back in Week 7.
Finally, Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert? Yes, please. The first time these two tangled, they combined to throw seven touchdown passes, including Herbert's game-winner to Mike Williams in the final minute.
No. 1 Arizona Cardinals: Bye
No. 2 Green Bay Packers vs. No. 7 San Francisco 49ers
No. 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. No. 6 Washington
No. 4 Dallas Cowboys vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Rodgers hails from Chicago, Calif. and was passed over by the 49ers in the 2005 draft in favor of Alex Smith. When Rodgers faces his childhood team, you never want to miss it. Case in point: When these two locked horns in Week 3, there were 27 points scored in the fourth quarter alone, including a go-ahead 49ers' touchdown with 37 seconds remaining and a walk-off Packers' field goal as time expired.
Tampa-Washington would be a rematch from last year's Wild Card round, in which Tom Brady was predictably awesome (381 passing yards and two scores), but so was Taylor Heinicke (306 passing yards, one passing touchdown, 46 rushing yards and one rushing score).
Put the Cowboys and the Rams on the same field, and fireworks should be guaranteed. Both Matthew Stafford (third) and Dak Prescott (fifth) rank among the top five in passing yards per game.
Wild Card Review
Save for the Dolphins, who are trying to mad-dash their way back from a 1-7 start, every team in the AFC wild card race is struggling to gain traction.
From the fifth-seeded Chargers to the 12th-seeded Broncos, no team is on a streak of any kind. That's why everyone is having trouble creating separation. Having said that, the Chargers, Bengals and Bills all control their own destiny, as they lead the rest of the pack in wins, losses or both.
Keep an eye on the Colts. They're only a half-game back of that trio, have an upcoming bye to rest up, own the best conference record of any team in the race (6-3) and face the Raiders and Jaguars in their final two contests.
In the NFC, Washington is trending way up with four consecutive wins, New Orleans is fading fast with five consecutive losses and a lot of other teams are treading water.
The Rams should be a lock (if they can't chase down the Cardinals in the NFC West), and there's no valid reason to doubt Washington at the moment. That could squeeze this down to a two-team race between the 49ers and Eagles. San Francisco took the head-to-head tiebreaker back in Week 2, but Philly still has its bye week remaining to refresh its roster as much as possible.