NFL Playoff Picture: Do or Die Time

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It is amazing how many teams remain relevant in the playoff race in both conferences, with 11 of the 16 teams in each the AFC and NFC still having a realistic shot of making the post-season. This weekend should end hopes for many of those teams, so it will be interesting to see who rises to the occasion in a big spot and who falls off as a contender.

AFC

  1. New England (11-3)
  2. Baltimore (10-4)
  3. Houston (10-4)
  4. Denver (8-6)
  5. Pittsburgh (10-4)
  6. Jets (8-6)
  7. Cincinnati (8-6)
  8. Tennessee (7-7)
  9. Oakland (7-7)
  10. San Diego (7-7)
  11. Kansas City (6-8)

With games left against Miami and Buffalo, New England has all but wrapped up home-field throughout the playoffs. Pittsburgh ends the season with the Rams and Browns, which will keep pressure on Baltimore to win their last two to clinch the AFC North title and the second seed. Houston had a tough loss last week and unless the Ravens slip up will end up being the three seed. All four teams remain alive in the AFC West and at this point I think San Diego might be the most dangerous one if they get into the tournament. The battle for the number six seed will likely come down to the Jets and Bengals, both of whom face 7-7 NFC teams this weekend, with the Jets hosting the Giants and the Bengals hosting the surging Cardinals.

NFC

  1. Green Bay (13-1)
  2. San Francisco (11-3)
  3. New Orleans (11-3)
  4. Dallas (8-6)
  5. Atlanta (9-5)
  6. Detroit (9-5)
  7. Seattle (7-7)
  8. Chicago (7-7)
  9. Giants (7-7)
  10. Arizona (7-7)
  11. Philadelphia (6-8)

Green Bay is still safe as the number one seed, while the number two remains a toss up. Both New Orleans and San Francisco have tough games this week, against the Seahawks and Falcons respectively. The NFC East is wide open and it is crazy to think that Philadelphia still has a somewhat realistic shot to sneak into the playoffs as a division winner. Atlanta and Detroit only need to win one more game each to clinch a playoff spot but the Lions have San Diego and Green Bay the next two weeks. If they lose out, it could open the door for a team like Seattle or Arizona to somehow sneak in.