It took 13 weeks, but it finally happened: For the first time this season, a team has officially been eliminated from playoff contention. Actually, there were two teams that were eliminated and in news that probably won't surprise anyone, one of those teams was the Houston Texans (The other team to get eliminated was the Bears).
With the Texans and Bears out, that means there are 30 teams still alive, which brings us to to this week's playoff projections. The projections are based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Oh plugged some numbers into his SportsLine computer and then simulated the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, we were able to figure out the playoff chances for the 30 remaining teams. We also projected the 14-team playoff field.
With that in mind, let's get to this week's playoff projections. Actually, before we do that,that Texans and Bears fans might want to read. Since your teams have been eliminated from the playoffs, a mock draft will probably be much more exciting to read than these projections.
As for everyone else, 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, be sure to click here. For a breakdown of the .
AFC Playoff Projection
|1. (AFC East Champion)|
|The biggest winner in the AFC playoff race in Week 13 was a team that didn't even play on Sunday: The Buffalo Bills. After playing on Thursday, the Bills got to sit at home on Sunday and watch both the Dolphins and Chiefs lose. The loss by Miami bumped Buffalo to the top of the AFC East while the loss by Kansas City bumped Buffalo up to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Now that the Bills are the top of the AFC, the computer thinks they're going to stay there. The computer is actually projecting the Bills and Chiefs to finish with the same record, but the Bills will get the No. 1 seed due to their head-to-head win over Kansas City. |
|2. (AFC West Champion)|
|There's only one first-round bye in the AFC playoffs and the computer thinks the Chiefs just blew their chances at getting it with their loss to the Bengals in Week 13. However, the computer does like the Chiefs: Of all the teams in the NFL, Kansas City has the second-best chance of winning the Super Bowl, behind only the Bills, but ahead of the Eagles. |
|3. (AFC North Champion)|
|Even with Lamar Jackson out for one to three weeks, the computer still thinks the Ravens are going to end up winning the AFC North. The Ravens still have four remaining division games (Bengals, Browns, Steelers x 2) and if they can go 2-2 in those games, that would guarantee them the division tiebreaker over the Bengals since they've already beat Cincinnati once. If that 2-2 record happens, the Bengals would have to finish a full game ahead of the Ravens and the computer doesn't see that happening (The computer is projecting Baltimore and Cincinnati to finish with the same record). |
|4. (AFC South Champion)|
|The Titans are in a total rut right now. Not only have they lost two games in a row, but they also just FIRED their general manager. If the Tennessee played in any other division, the computer would probably be concerned about the Titans' playoff chances, but they play in the AFC South, so there's no concern at all. According to SportsLine, the Titans currently have a 95.7% chance of winning the division, which means the computer views them as a virtual lock. |
|5. Wild Card 1|
|The computer was impressed with the Bengals' big win over the Chiefs, but not impressed enough to project them to win the AFC North title. According to SportsLine, the Bengals have just a 36.5% chance of winning the division while the Ravens have a 59.8% chance. As things stand, the computer thinks the Bengals will be heading to Nashville for the second postseason in a row. |
|6. Wild Card 2|
|With the Dolphins getting blown out by the 49ers on Sunday, the computer now seems pretty sure that Miami is NOT going to win the AFC East. According to SportsLine, the Dolphins have just a 10.7% chance of winning the division, which is well below Buffalo (85.7% chance). Of Miami's final five games, only one will come against a team that's currently below .500, which is one reason why the computer doesn't see the Dolphins making a run at the division title down the stretch. |
|7. Wild Card 3|
|Although the computer likes the Bengals and Dolphins' chances of making the playoffs, it doesn't feel as strongly about the Jets' chances of getting to the postseason. The way the computer sees it, there's going to be a three-horse race between the Jets, Chargers and Patriots for the final wild-card spot in the AFC. The Jets currently have a 46.6% chance of getting in with the Patriots (38.8%) and Chargers (34.8%) lurking right behind them.|
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): Patriots (38.8%), Chargers (34.8%), Raiders (5.4%), Browns (5.2%), Steelers (4.4%), Jaguars (3.9%), Colts (0.9%), Broncos (0.0%), Texans (Eliminated).
NFC Playoff Projection
|1. (NFC East Champion)|
|The Eagles only have a one-game lead for the top spot in the NFC, but it might as well be a 100-game lead, because the computer views them as a virtual lock to get the No. 1 seed. The biggest advantage for the Eagles is that Minnesota would have to finish one full game ahead of Philly to get the top spot since the Eagles hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Eagles could officially clinch a playoff spot on Sunday with a win over the Giants. |
|2. (NFC North Champion)|
|The Vikings could become the first team in the NFL to clinch a division title this year and it will happen this week if they beat the Lions. Even if they don't beat Detroit, it's only a matter of time before they officially claim the NFC North crown. According to the computer, the Vikings have a 99.8% chance of winning the division and with a two-game lead on the 49ers in the NFC playoff race, the Vikings also seem to have the two-seed locked up. |
|3. (NFC West Champion)|
|Despite losing Jimmy Garoppolo for the season, the computer still likes the 49ers' chances of winning the NFC West. According to SportsLine, the 49ers still have a 75.2% chance of winning the division, which is well ahead of the Seahawks (24.8%). The 49ers are projected to finish a full game ahead of Seattle even with a rookie seventh-round pick starting for them at quarterback for the rest of the season. |
|4. (NFC South Champion)|
|Thanks to the Buccaneers' miraculous win on Monday night, the computer now views Tampa Bay as a lock to win the NFC South. According to the computer, the Buccaneers have a 91% chance of winning the division, which means the computer unsurprisingly has no faith in the Falcons, Panthers or Saints to catch Tampa Bay. |
|5. Wild Card 1|
|After destroying the Colts 54-19 on Sunday night, the computer views the Cowboys as a lock to make the playoffs. Unfortunately for Dallas, the computer is giving them almost no chance to overtake the Eagles in the NFC East, which means there's a good chance the Cowboys will be hitting the road in the wild-card round to face a Buccaneers team that might only win eight games.|
|6. Wild Card 2|
|The Seahawks almost suffered a shocking loss to the Rams on Sunday, but Geno Smith saved the day -- and probably their season -- with a brilliant performance that pushed Seattle to a 27-23 win. Even though the Seahawks are currently the seventh-seed in the NFC, the computer is projecting that they'll be moving up to the sixth-seed before the end of the season. One thing working in Seattle's favor is that the two teams immediately below them in these projections -- Washington and New York -- will be playing each other in Week 15, which means one of them has to lose, well, unless they tie again.|
|7. Wild Card 3|
|Last week, the computer projected that the Giants would finish as the NFC's seventh-seed and after TYING the Commanders on Sunday, the computer still thinks New York will end up with the seventh-seed. According to the computer, the Giants have a 62.8% chance of making the playoffs, which is comfortably ahead of Washington. One thing to note here is that the Giants and Commanders have two of the three toughest remaining schedules over the final five weeks and if they slip up, the Lions might be able to sneak in and steal the NFC's final playoff spot. The computer doesn't think that has a chance of happening, but I thought I'd toss it out there just because you don't get to hear the words "Lions" and "playoffs" in the same sentence too often.|
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): Commanders (53.8%), Panthers (5.2%), Falcons (3.3%), Lions (2.9%), Packers (2.2%), Saints (0.7%), Cardinals (0.2%), Rams (0.0%), Bears (Eliminated).
Note: The Broncos and Rams haven't been eliminated from playoff contention, but they have a 0% chance of making it because the computer hates them. Actually, the computer doesn't love or hate, it has no feelings, it just doesn't think there's a mathematical chance for either of those teams to make it to make it.
Wild-card round projection
(7) Jets at (2) Chiefs
(6) Dolphins at (3) Ravens
(5) Bengals at (4) Titans
(7) Giants at (2) Vikings
(6) Seahawks at (3) 49ers
(5) Cowboys at (4) Buccaneers