Sports

2021 NFL playoff races, standings: Vikings back in NFC race with win over Packers; Colts still out in wild AFC

It was another crazy week in the NFL, as first-place teams continued to fall at an alarming rate in Week 11. Over the last three weeks, there have been 11 wins by teams with a .500-or-below winning percentage against division leaders, the most such wins to occur during Weeks 9-11 of a single season since the merger.

The AFC is as crazy is it will likely ever be, as 12 teams are .500 or better through 11 weeks of the season. The Tennessee Titans are currently the No. 1 seed in the conference, yet the No. 8 seed Pittsburgh Steelers are just one game behind them in the loss column. The NFC has five teams are within a half-game for the No. 6 and No. 7 playoff spots. This is what the NFL was seeking when it expanded the playoff field to 14 teams last year. Add the 17th game to the schedule and more chaos ensues. 

Below, you can find a division-by-division breakdown of the current standings, how each club performed in Week 11 and what they have next on the schedule.

AFC East

New England Patriots

What to know: The Patriots took over the AFC East lead thanks to their win over the Falcons and the Bills getting blown out by the Colts. They are currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs thanks to better win percentage over Kansas City in conference games.

Remaining schedule: vs. Titans, at Bills, Bye Week, at Colts, vs. Bills, vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins 

Buffalo Bills

What to know: The Bills fell out of first place in the AFC East with their loss to the Colts, but still keep the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs by a half game over the Steelers. The Chargers have the tiebreaker over the Bills based on a better win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Saints, vs. Patriots, at Buccaneers, vs. Panthers, at Patriots, vs. Falcons, vs. Jets 

Miami Dolphins

What to know:  The Dolphins have won three in a row and are still three games out of first place in the AFC East. They’re 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the AFC, currently sitting 13th in the conference. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers, vs. Giants, Bye Week, vs. Jets, at Saints, at Titans, vs. Patriots

New York Jets

What to know:  The Jets are last in the AFC with a 2-8 record, behind the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans. Houston and Jacksonville have a better win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Texans, vs. Eagles, vs. Saints, at Dolphins, vs. Jaguars, vs. Buccaneers, at Bills

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

What to know: The Ravens sit at the No. 2 seed in the AFC, a half game behind the Titans for the top spot, after Sunday’s win over the Bears. Baltimore leads Cincinnati by a game in the AFC North. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Browns, at Steelers, at Browns, vs. Packers, at Bengals, vs. Rams, vs. Steelers 

Cincinnati Bengals

What to know: The Bengals trail the Ravens by a game in the AFC North and are currently the No. 5 seed in the conference standings. Cincinnati has the same record as Los Angeles and Buffalo, but the Bengals own the tiebreaker over the Chargers based on having a better win percentage in common games. They win the tiebreaker over the Bills based on a better win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers, vs. Chargers, at 49ers, at Broncos, vs. Ravens, vs. Chiefs, at Browns 

Pittsburgh Steelers

What to know: The tie is certainly hurting Pittsburgh’s chances in the AFC playoff race (for now), as the Steelers currently have possession of the No. 8 seed in the conference after Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. Pittsburgh is a half game behind Buffalo for the final playoff spot and 1.5 games out of the division lead. 

Remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Ravens, at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Chiefs, vs. Browns, at Ravens 

Cleveland Browns 

What to know: The Browns have a winning record, yet are out of the AFC playoff race. They’re actually 10th in the conference due to losing a tiebreaker to the Colts (better win percentage in conference games). Cleveland is 1.5 games out of the division lead and a 0.5 game out of the final wild card spot. 

Remaining schedule: at Ravens, Bye Week, vs. Ravens, vs. Raiders, at Packers, at Steelers, vs. Bengals 

AFC South

Titans

8

3

0

.727

+37

Colts

6

5

0

.545

+64

Texans

2

8

0

.200

-121

Jaguars 

2

8

0

.200

-103

Tennessee Titans 

What to know:  The Titans still lead the Colts by two games in the AFC South, and hold the tiebreaker since they swept Indianapolis this year. They also hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC by a half game over the Ravens, even with the loss to the Texans.

Remaining schedule: at Patriots, Bye Week, vs. Jaguars, at Steelers, vs. 49ers, vs. Dolphins, at Texans 

Indianapolis Colts

What to know: The Colts have rebounded from an 0-3 start to win six of eight and get over the .500 mark. Here’s the issue — Indianapolis is still out of the playoff hunt in the AFC. The Colts are a half game behind the Bills for the final playoff spot, but hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. Indianapolis is currently the No. 9 seed in the AFC, holding the tiebreaker over Cleveland based on a better win percentage in conference games.

Remaining schedule: vs. Buccaneers, at Texans, Bye Week, vs. Patriots, at Cardinals, vs. Raiders, at Jaguars

Houston Texans

What to know: The Texans snapped an eight-game losing streak by upsetting the Titans. They are tied for the worst record in the AFC, but are 14th in the conference based on beating Jacksonville in Week 1 and having a better win percentage in conference games than the Jets. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Jets, vs. Colts, vs. Seahawks, at Jaguars, vs. Chargers, at 49ers, vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

What to know: The Jaguars are tied for the worst record in the AFC. They lose a tiebreaker to Houston since the Texans beat them in Week 1 — giving Jacksonville a better draft position. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Falcons, at Rams, at Titans, vs. Texans, at Jets, at Patriots, vs. Colts

AFC West

Chiefs

7

4

0

.636

+31

Chargers

6

4

0

.600

-5

Raiders

5

5

0

.500

-39

Broncos

5

5

0

.500

+17

Kansas City Chiefs

What to know: The Chiefs remain in first place of the AFC West with Sunday’s win over the Cowboys, leading the Chargers by a half game (Los Angeles beat Kansas City earlier this year). Kansas City has the No. 4 seed in the AFC based on New England having a better win percentage in conference games.

Remaining schedule: Bye Week, vs. Broncos, vs. Raiders, at Chargers, vs. Steelers, at Bengals, at Broncos

Los Angeles Chargers

What to know: The Chargers have one of the wild card spots in the AFC after Sunday’s pivotal win over the Steelers. The Chargers are currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC based on having a better win percentage in conference games. The Bengals have a better win percentage in common games, which gives them the tiebreaker over the Chargers for the No. 5 seed. 

Remaining schedule: at Broncos, at Bengals, vs. Giants, vs. Chiefs, at Texans, vs. Broncos, at Raiders 

Las Vegas Raiders

What to know: The Raiders are 1.5 games behind the Chiefs for the division lead, and lost the first matchup with Kansas City. They’re a game behind the Bills for the final playoff spot in the AFC, yet are just 11th in the playoff standings. Vegas has the tiebreaker over Denver based on beating the Broncos earlier in the year. 

Remaining schedule: at Cowboys, vs. Washington, at Chiefs, at Browns, vs. Broncos, at Colts, vs. Chargers

Denver Broncos

What to know:  The Broncos are 1.5 games behind the Chiefs for the division lead — and haven’t faced Kansas City yet this season. They’re a game behind the Bills for the final playoff spot in the AFC, yet are just 12th in the playoff standings. Denver lost the tiebreaker to Vegas based on the Broncos losing to the Raiders in their first meeting. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Chargers, at Chiefs, vs. Lions, vs. Bengals, at Raiders, at Chargers, vs. Chiefs 

NFC East

Cowboys

7

3

0

.700

+79

Eagles

5

6

0

.455

+37

Washington

4

6

0

.400

-55

Giants

3

6

0

.333

-37

Dallas Cowboys

What to know: A loss to the Chiefs means the Cowboys have dropped two of their last three, yet are still up 2.5 games on the Eagles for the NFC East lead. Dallas is the No. 3 seed in the NFC and will remain there no matter how Tampa Bay fares Monday night (due to owning a better conference record).  

Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders, at Saints, at Washington, at Giants, vs. Washington, vs. Cardinals, at Eagles 

Philadelphia Eagles

What to know: The Eagles have won three of their last four and are becoming a factor in the wild NFC playoff race. Philadelphia is a half game behind New Orleans for the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs — and the Eagles beat the Saints Sunday. The Eagles are currently the No. 9 seed in the NFC, holding a tiebreaker over the Panthers (Philly beat Carolina in Week 5). 

Remaining schedule: at Giants, at Jets, Bye Week, vs. Washington, vs. Giants, at Washington, vs. Cowboys

Washington Football Team 

What to know: Washington has won two in a row after a 2-6 start to the season, and are just a game behind New Orleans for the final playoff spot in the conference (lost head-to-head tiebreaker to New Orleans earlier in year). The Football Team is 11th in the conference standings, owning the head-to-head win over the Falcons. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Seahawks, at Raiders, vs. Cowboys, at Eagles, at Cowboys, vs. Eagles, at Giants

New York Giants 

What to know: The Giants travel to Tampa to face the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. They are currently 13th in the conference. 

Remaining schedule: at Buccaneers, vs. Eagles, at Dolphins, at Chargers, vs. Cowboys, at Eagles, at Bears, vs. Washington

NFC North

Packers

8

3

0

.727

+33

Vikings

5

5

0

.500

+13

Bears

3

7

0

.300

-77

Lions

0

9

1

.050

-113

Green Bay Packers

What to know:  A loss to the Vikings cut the Packers’ division lead to 2.5 games in the NFC North, but Green Bay still controls the division. Green Bay is a game behind Arizona for home-field advantage in the NFC — and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Rams, Bye Week, vs. Bears, at Ravens, vs. Browns, vs. Vikings, at Lions

Minnesota Vikings

What to know: The Vikings are in the NFC playoffs thanks to their win over the Packers. Minnesota is currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC, holding a tiebreaker over New Orleans and San Francisco based on a better win percentage in conference games. All three teams have a 5-5 record. 

Remaining schedule: at 49ers, at Lions, vs. Steelers, at Bears, vs. Rams, at Packers, vs. Bears

Chicago Bears

What to know: The Bears have lost their fifth straight game and are falling out of the NFC playoff race. They have the 14th-best record in the NFC, holding the tiebreaker over the Seahawks based on a better win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Lions, vs. Cardinals, at Packers, vs. Vikings, at Seahawks, vs. Giants, at Vikings 

Detroit Lions

What to know: The Lions are still seeking their first win, having the worst record in football. They are two losses away from being eliminated from the playoff hunt and hold a 1.5 game lead for the No. 1 draft pick. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Bears, vs. Vikings, at Broncos, vs. Cardinals, at Falcons, at Seahawks, vs. Packers

NFC South

Buccaneers

6

3

0

.667

+67

Saints

5

5

0

.500

+33

Panthers

5

6

0

.455

+6

Falcons

4

6

0

.400

-110

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to know: The Buccaneers host the Giants on “Monday Night Football.” Win or lose, Tampa Bay will remain the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoff standings based on having a worse conference record than the Cowboys. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Giants, at Colts, at Falcons, vs. Bills, vs. Saints, at Panthers, at Jets, vs. Panthers

New Orleans Saints

What to know: The Saints fell to the Eagles for their third straight loss, yet are still the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs. They hold the tiebreaker over the 49ers based on strength of victory and lost the three-way tiebreaker to the Vikings, who have a better win percentage in conference games. A Tampa Bay loss keeps New Orleans a game out of the NFC South lead. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Bills, vs. Cowboys, at Jets, at Buccaneers, vs. Dolphins, vs. Panthers, at Falcons

Carolina Panthers

What to know: A loss to Washington dropped Carolina to 10th in the conference standings, even though the Panthers are only a half game behind New Orleans (who Carolina has beaten) for the final playoff spot in the NFC. 

Remaining schedule: at Dolphins, Bye Week, vs. Falcons, at Bills, vs. Buccaneers, at Saints, at Buccaneers

Atlanta Falcons

What to know: The Falcons are just a game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC playoffs, even if they were blown out in back-to-back games. They are currently 12th in the NFC standings, falling on a tiebreaker to Washington based on the head-to-head matchup. 

Remaining schedule: at Jaguars, vs. Buccaneers, at Panthers, at 49ers, vs. Lions, at Bills, vs. Saints

NFC West

Cardinals

9

2

0

.818

+108

Rams

7

3

0

.700

+44

49ers

5

5

0

.500

+24

Seahawks

3

7

0

.300

-15

Arizona Cardinals

What to know: The Cardinals take over the No. 1 seed in the NFC thanks to their win over the Seahawks and the Packers’ loss to the Vikings. Arizona is 1.5 games up on Los Angeles for the NFC West lead with the head-to-head tiebreaker in hand. 

Remaining schedule: Bye Week, at Bears, vs. Rams, at Lions, vs. Colts, at Cowboys, vs. Seahawks

Los Angeles Rams

What to know:  The Rams were off this week, so they lost a half game to the Cardinals after Arizona beat Seattle. Los Angeles holds the top wild card spot at 7-3, two games up on the No. 6 seed. 

Remaining schedule: at Packers, vs. Jaguars, at Cardinals, vs. Seahawks, at Vikings, at Ravens, vs. 49ers

San Francisco 49ers

What to know: The 49ers had an impressive win over the Jaguars to get back to .500 and back into the NFC playoff race. Even though the 49ers have the same record as the Vikings and Saints, they are out of the NFC playoffs as of now. San Francisco lost the strength of victory tiebreaker to New Orleans and the conference record tiebreaker to New Orleans and Minnesota. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Vikings, at Seahawks, at Bengals, vs. Falcons, at Titans, vs. Texans, at Rams

Seattle Seahawks

What to know: The Seahawks have the second-worst record in the NFC after their loss to the Cardinals. Seattle is two games out of the final playoff spot in the conference and is 15th in the conference standings (loses conference record tiebreaker to Chicago). 

Remaining schedule: at Washington, vs. 49ers, at Texans, at Rams, vs. Bears, vs. Lions, at Cardinals 



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