With the Green Bay Packers rebounding and defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, Week 12 of the 2016 NFL season has officially come to an end. There are only five weeks left in the regular season and the race for the playoffs is really heating up. The New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, and Dallas Cowboys are the only three teams that seem like locks for the postseason, but who else would be in if the playoffs started today?
Believe it or not, 30 of the 32 NFL teams are still mathematically alive in hopes of getting into the playoffs and no-one has locked up a spot yet. The Cowboys are running away with things right now after having won 10 in a row and have the league’s best record at 10-1.
In second place in the NFC are the Seattle Seahawks who put on an ugly performance and lost 14-5 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That kind of opened things up in the conference race for the playoffs and the NFC West in big ways, and it’s a loss that the team is “just trying to figure out,” according to the official website of the Seahawks.
Over in the AFC, the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos lost a stunner to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime on Sunday Night Football in Week 12. Head coach Gary Kubiak made a strange call on fourth down which gave the Chiefs another chance and it led to their victory instead of a possible tie.
With that loss, the champs are on the outside of the playoffs and looking in. Other shocking notes in the AFC include the Oakland Raiders tied for the best record in the conference with the Patriots at 9-2 and the Miami Dolphins currently holding onto the final Wild Card spot.
If the 2016 NFL playoffs were to start today, here is who would be in.
1. New England Patriots: 9-2 – Win AFC East
2. Oakland Raiders: 9-2 – Win AFC West
3. Baltimore Ravens: 6-5 – Win AFC North
4. Houston Texans: 6-5 – Win AFC South
5. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-3 Wild Card (AFC West)
6. Miami Dolphins: 7-4 Wild Card (AFC East)
1. Dallas Cowboys: 10-1 – Win NFC East
2. Seattle Seahawks: 7-3-1 – Win NFC West
3. Detroit Lions: 7-4 – Win NFC North
4. Atlanta Falcons: 7-4 – Win NFC South
5. New York Giants: 8-3 – Wild Card (NFC East)
6. Washington Redskins: 6-4-1 – Wild Card (NFC East)
Yes, the current NFL playoff standings have three teams from the NFC East heading into the postseason. Of course, there is the possibility that could change before the regular season is over and there are still plenty of teams alive in both conferences.
The other team from last year’s Super Bowl? Yeah, the Carolina Panthers aren’t doing much better than the team that beat them for the championship and as a matter of fact, they’re doing much worse. Carolina is currently 4-7 and in 13th place in the NFC standings which means they could be knocked out of playoff contention in the next week or two.
As reported by the official website of the NFL, Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr even suffered a nasty finger injury on his right hand yet still returned to lead his team to victory. Cam Newton continued to have a weird season that just isn’t very evident of the player he has looked at in past seasons.
Here are the teams that are still alive and playoff hopeful in both conferences.
7. Denver Broncos: 7-4
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-5
9. Buffalo Bills: 6-5
10. Tennessee Titans: 6-6
11. Indianapolis Colts: 5-6
12. San Diego Chargers: 5-6
13. Cincinnati Bengals: 3-7-1
14. New York Jets: 3-8
15. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-9
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-5
8. Minnesota Vikings: 6-5
9. New Orleans Saints: 5-6
10. Green Bay Packers: 5-6
11. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-6
12. Arizona Cardinals: 4-6-1
13. Carolina Panthers: 4-7
14. Los Angeles Rams: 4-7
15. Chicago Bears: 2-9
Believe it or not, only two teams have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with one team from each conference having to look ahead to next year. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers are sitting at 1-10 after a 10-game losing streak and have no chance at the postseason. Over in the AFC, the 0-12 Cleveland Browns are currently chasing the number one overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The 2016 NFL playoffs are still a few weeks from beginning, but the playoffs are really starting to take some semblance of a shape. Yes, there are a lot of things that could change between the end of Week 12 and the regular season finish, but some teams have a lot of work to do. No teams are cemented in place and only a few seem like locks so there are 18 teams which are happy that the playoffs don’t actually start today and that they still have a chance.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]