2019 NFL Playoff Projections: Vikings steal NFC North from Packers, Cowboys outlast Eagles for NFC East

It's Thanksgiving week, which means now is probably a good time to list all the teams in the NFL that should be feeling extra thankful this week, starting with the Steelers. After missing out on the postseason in last week's projection, the Steelers are now being projected as the final wild-card team in the AFC. Minnesota also made a move this week: For the first time all year, the Vikings are being projected to win the NFC North, which means they could potentially be hosting a playoff game in January. 

Another team that should be thankful this week is the Cowboys, who are still projected to win the NFC East despite their loss to New England on Sunday. Of course, that's only three teams, to find out where the other 29 teams fit into all of this, let's get to the Week 13 playoff projections. 

As always, these projections will be based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Each week, Oh plugs some numbers into his SportsLine computer, and that computer simulates the rest of the NFL season. Using those numbers, we're going to let you know the playoff chances for all 32 teams, and how the computer sees the 12-team playoff field shaking out. 

If you feel like your team probably isn't going to make the playoffs this year -- I'm looking at you Bengals, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants and Redskins fans -- here's a mock draft that you can read. I feel like you'll enjoy that more. 

Which teams will win and cover on Thanksgiving? And where will Tua land? Brady Quinn and Ryan Wilson join Will Brinson to break it all down on the Pick Six Podcast. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.

Alright, let's get to the projections. 

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, click here to see Will Brinson's thorough breakdown of what the playoff race looks like as we head into Week 13.

AFC Playoff Projection

1. (AFC East champion)
Although the Patriots still haven't been able to figure out how to solve their offensive problems, the computer still views them as a lock for the top seed in the AFC. According to SportsLine's projections, the season will likely end with the Patriots finishing 14-2 and the Ravens finishing 13-3, which means the Patriots don't have much room for error, and that's because if the two teams end up with identical records, the Ravens would win any tiebreakers due to their head-to-head victory over New England in Week 9. 
2. (AFC North champion)
The computer was absolutely astonished by what the Ravens did to the Rams on Monday night. Although Baltimore is still projected to finish as the second seed in the AFC, the computer did bump them up in a much more important category: The Ravens are now being given the best chance to win the Super Bowl out of any team in the NFL. According to SportsLine, the Ravens have a 27.1% chance of winning the Lombardi Trophy, which puts them ahead of the Patriots, who have a 22.89% chance of winning it all. No other team in the NFL is being given more than a 17% chance. 
3. (AFC West champion)
The Chiefs didn't even play in Week 12 and somehow, they still came out as one of the biggest winners of the week in the NFL. The reason it was a good week for the Chiefs -- their main competition in the AFC West (The Raiders) fell flat on their face in a loss to the Jets. Due to that loss, the Chiefs now have a 92.8% chance of winning the division, which will go up to nearly 99.9% if Kansas City beats Oakland on Sunday.  
4. (AFC South champion)
According to the computer, the AFC South is the only division in the AFC that's still up for grabs. With five weeks left in the season, the computer is giving the Texans a 53.6% chance of winning the division, which is almost double the number being given to the Colts, who have a 27.1% chance of winning the division. Of course, let's not forget about the Titans, who are being given a 19.2% chance of winning the division. Although the Texans won in Week 12, their chances of winning the division actually went down from 60% to 54%, because of how impressed the computer was with the Titans. The Titans and Texans still play each other twice, which means Tennessee controls its own fate. If the Titans win out, they'll take home the AFC South crown.  
5. (Wild Card 1)
With the Bills now holding a two-game lead over any team that could potentially knock them out of a wild-card spot, the computer is inching closer and closer to chalking up Buffalo as a lock for the postseason. As things currently stand, the Bills have an 83.1% chance of making the playoffs, which is nearly 45% higher than any other wild-card contender.  
6. (Wild Card 2)
Although the Steelers are in this spot right now, the Browns can steal it from them with a win in Pittsburgh on Sunday. The computer basically views Browns-Steelers this week as an elimination game for both teams. The Steelers currently have a 38.5% chance of making the playoffs, a number that will shoot up to 54% if they win. However, if they lose to Cleveland, the Steelers' playoff chances will tumble down to 16%. As for the Browns, their chances will jump up from 17.7% to 31% with a win, but if they lose, their playoff chances will drop to 4%, which is the computer's way of saying they'll have no shot at the playoffs if they don't win on Sunday. The Colts-Titans game is also big, but the computer doesn't think a loss will kill either team's playoff chances since both could potentially still win the AFC South.

Just missed: Colts (36.7% chance of getting into the playoffs), Titans (30.9%), Browns (17.7%), Raiders (17.1%)

Here's a list of all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Chargers (1.3%), Jaguars (1.0%), Jets (0.2%), Broncos (0.0%), Dolphins (0.0%), Bengals (0.0%). 

NOTE: Although there are three AFC teams with a zero percent chance of making the playoffs, that doesn't mean those teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, it just means that the computer thinks their playoff chances are mathematically dead. The Bengals are the only team that's been officially eliminated so far. 

NFC Playoff Projection

1. (NFC West champion)
The 49ers handed the Packers such a vicious beatdown that the computer has now decided to jump on their bandwagon. Thanks to the dominating win, not only are the 49ers once again projected to get the top seed in the NFC, but their chances of winning the Super Bowl shot up from 9.7% to 13.86%. As much as the computer likes the 49ers, it's still giving the Saints the best chance of winning the Super Bowl out of the NFC (16.26% chance).  
2. (NFC South champion)
The Saints are the only team in the NFL this week that can clinch a playoff spot without getting any help from any other team. If New Orleans can knock off the Falcons in Atlanta on Thanksgiving night, that will officially clinch the NFC South crown for the Saints. Of course, the computer knew this day was coming a long time ago, as it projected the Saints to win the title back in our first projection of the 2019 season.     
3. (NFC North champion)
The Vikings bye week couldn't have gone any better for them, and that's because they got to sit at home and watch one of their division rivals get pounded. The Packers' loss was so bad the computer is now convinced that the Vikings are going to win the division. According to SportsLine, the Vikings have a 55.4% chance of winning the NFC North, which is exactly 10% higher than the chances being given to the Packers. The Vikings are also being given a 98.4% chance of making the playoffs as either a wild-card or division winner, which basically means the computer views Minnesota as a lock for the postseason. 
4. (NFC East champion)
This is the one division in NFL where it seems like no one actually wants to win it. With the Cowboys and Eagles both losing on Sunday, the computer had to do some major calculations to figure out who's going to win the NFC East. Despite the fact that the Eagles have a much easier schedule, the computer still likes the Cowboys to take home the division title. According to SportsLine, the Cowboys have a 68.9% chance of winning the division, while the Eagles chances are floundering at just 31.1%.  
5. (Wild Card 1)
Although the Seahawks keep winning, the computer hasn't been impressed enough to move them ahead of the 49ers in the projection for who wins the NFC West. As things currently stand, the Seahawks are being given a 37.3% chance of winning the division, which is way lower than the 62.5% chance that the computer is giving the 49ers. The one fascinating thing about these two teams is that they play each other in Week 17, and when that happens, the winner will likely get a week off thanks to a first-round bye, while the loser will likely have to play the very next week in the wild-card round. 
6. (Wild Card 2)
Like most of America, the computer was not impressed with the Packers' performance on Sunday night against the 49ers. After watching the Packers get destroyed 37-8, the computer no longer feels that Green Bay is going to win the division. However, the good news for the Packers is that the computer still feels like they have a great chance of getting into the playoffs. According to SportsLine, the Packers have an 81.2% chance of getting in the postseason, which is much higher than the Eagles, who are the only team that's even remotely being given a chance of stealing the final wild card spot out of the NFC. 

Just missed: Eagles (32.2% of making the playoffs), Rams (19.8%)

Here's a list of all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Bears (2.8%), Panthers (0.6%), Lions (0.1%), Buccaneers (0.1%), Cardinals (0.0%), Falcons (0.0%), Giants (0.0%), Redskins (0.0%). 

NOTE: Although there are four NFC teams with a zero percent chance of making the playoffs, that doesn't mean those teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, it just means that the computer thinks their playoff chances are mathematically dead, and the computer is good at math, so it would know. 

Wild-card round projection

AFC

(6) Steelers at (3) Chiefs

(5) Bills at (4) Texans

Byes: Patriots, Ravens

NFC 

(6) Packers at (3) Vikings

(5) Seahawks at (4) Cowboys

Byes: 49ers, Saints

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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