With only three weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture is still a jumbled mess. So far, only TWO teams have officially clinched a playoff berth, which means 12 of the NFL’s 14 playoff spots are available.
Thanks to the Titans’ comeback win over the 49ers on Thursday night, the Cowboys clinched a postseason berth. They join the Green Bay Packers, who punched their ticket into the playoffs by clinching the NFC North. On the other hand, only five teams have been eliminated, which means 27 teams are still alive, which ties an NFL record for the most teams in contention this late in the season.
With the NFL playoff race as confusing as ever, we’re here to help you make sense of all the chaos and we’re going to do that by projecting the 14 teams that are going to make the playoffs. The projections are based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Oh plugged some numbers into his SportsLine computer and simulated the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, not only were we able to figure out the playoff chances for every team, but we’re also going to project the entire playoff field.
With that in mind, let’s get to this week’s playoff projections. Actually, before we do that, here’s a mock draft that Texans, Jets, Lions, Jaguars and Bears fans might want to read. Those five teams have officially been eliminated and if you’re a fan of one of those five teams, a mock draft will probably be much more exciting to read than this projection.
As for everyone else, let’s get to the projection.
Note: Remember, this is a projection based on how we think the rest of the regular season will play out. If you want to see the current playoff standings, be sure to click here. For a breakdown of the current playoff picture, be sure to click here. SportsLine simulates every game leading up to the playoffs 10,000 times, and you can see the model’s picks both straight up and against the spread here.
AFC Playoff Projection
Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Ravens (48.5%), Steelers (27.7%), Raiders (14.7%), Browns (10.4%), Dolphins (6.4%), Broncos (5.8%), Jaguars (ELIMINATED), Jets (ELIMINATED), Texans (ELIMINATED).
NFC Playoff Projection
Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Saints (38.3%), Vikings (21%), Washington (8.7%), Falcons (0.8%), Seahawks (0.0%), Giants (0.0%), Panthers (0.0%), Bears (ELIMINATED), Lions (ELIMINATED).
Wild card round projection
(7) Chargers at (2) Patriots
(6) Bills at (3) Titans
(5) Colts at (4) Bengals
(7) Eagles at (2) Buccaneers
(6) 49ers at (3) Cowboys
(5) Cardinals at (4) Rams