There is still a bit of time to go until the full NFL Playoff picture for 2019 is in place, but it became a bit clearer on Thanksgiving night. With a 26-18 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South for the third year in a row and also locked in a spot in the playoffs. Over the course of rest of the Week 13 action, two other teams can clinch their spots while a number of teams could be eliminated.
It may seem a big too early to begin thinking about the playoffs, but teams can’t help it if they’re good enough to get in already. The New Orleans Saints are sitting at 10-2 and are continuing their dominance of their division, but there is still a long way to go before this season is officially over.
With the victory over the Falcons and claiming the division, the Saints will have at least one home game in the playoffs. Depending on how the rest of the season goes, they could end up with more, but that will mean they need to keep winning throughout the last weeks of the season.
Their biggest test will come in Week 14 when they face the very strong San Francisco 49ers, and that could go a long way in determining the No. 1 seed in the NFC. As for the 49ers, they’re one of two other teams who can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win and some help.
As the official standings show from ESPN, there are some clear-cut division leaders in the NFL, but not all of them have big leads. At the end of Week 13, both the 49ers and New England Patriots can clinch playoff spots, but a win simply won’t cut it as was the case with the Saints.
San Francisco 49ers — Can clinch a playoff spot with:
- 49ers win + Rams loss/tie
- 49ers tie + Rams loss
New England Patriots — Can clinch a playoff spot with:
- Patriots win + Raiders loss/tie
- Patriots win + Steelers loss/tie
- Patriots tie +Raiders loss + Steelers loss
- Patriots tie + Raiders loss + Colts loss
- Patriots tie + Steelers loss + Colts loss
The loss to the Saints already eliminated the Falcons from any possible chance of a playoff spot, but two others are already out as well. The Detroit Lions and winless Cincinnati Bengals are already out, too, but more could be mathematically eliminated before Week 13 is all said and done.
By the end of this weekend of NFL action, a number of other teams could find themselves totally eliminated from playoff contention, including the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, and Miami Dolphins