Post Week 15 Updated NFL Playoff Picture
The regular season will soon be coming to a close, so now is a great time to take a look at the latest NFL playoff picture. Some places are already secured, but there’s still a lot to play for in the last few weeks of the season.
Updated AFC Playoff Picture
Let’s begin in the AFC, where the Patriots have asserted their dominance since Week 1. They currently have an 11-2 record which was recently boosted by the return of Rob Gronkowski against the Houston Texans. The Patriots won that game quite comfortably and sit in top position ahead of the playoffs.
Close behind, we have the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals started the season in blistering fashion and surprised many people with some very impressive performances. Recent times have been a little tougher on the squad with a 33-20 loss to the Steelers and injuries for big players like Eifert and Dalton. Bengals’ fans need to hope that Dalton recovers in time for the playoffs, otherwise Cincinnati’s success story could come to a sudden halt.
The Broncos also had a disappointing loss recently in a 15-12 game with the Oakland Raiders. The Denver squad would have been hoping to finish top of the AFC but their chances of doing so have taken a big hit after that loss. They currently have a 10-3 record and have some big games coming up against the Steelers and Bengals.
In the AFC South, it’s the Indianapolis Colts who are leading the way. Their record isn’t entirely convincing at 6-7 and the Houston Texans are close behind. Therefore, the Colts will need to hope that their squad can maintain some level of consistency in their remaining games to lock down a playoff position.
Their latest two results, a 45-10 loss to the Steelers and a 51-16 loss to the Bengals, don’t make good reading for fans. Next up, we have the Kansas City Chiefs who have a solid 8-5 record and sit second in the AFC West. After a mixed start to their season, the Chiefs have put together a great run of seven consecutive wins. If they can maintain that sort of form then a playoff place is guaranteed.
The final playoff place for the AFC is currently being held by the New York Jets who have an 8-5 record. The squad are on a three-game winning streak with signal caller Fitzpatrick being particularly impressive lately. The Jets have been defending especially well and may be able to lock down that last playoff spot ahead of the Steelers.
However, with the Pittsburgh squad putting in some really great performances lately in big wins against the Bengals and Colts, fans will have to wait and see which team blinks first. With players like Roethlisberger on the roster, Pittsburgh could certainly do some damage in the playoffs. If there’s one team on today’s AFC list that people won’t be betting on for playoff glory, it’s easily the Colts. They may be top of their division but they haven’t been playing well at all.
Updated NFC Playoff Picture
Moving on over to the NFC, we have the Carolina Panthers in the number one spot. They have the best record in the NFL and are the only undefeated team in the nation (13-0). With star players like Cam Newton consistently impressing, the Panthers will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs to come.
Next up we have the Arizona Cardinals. With an 11-2 record, they haven’t quite clinched their division but have definitely got their hands on a playoff place. They performed well in their latest 23-20 victory over the Vikings and have extended their winning run to seven games. They still have a chance of nabbing the top seed for the NFC and will just be hoping that the Panthers slip up in the final games of the regular season.
Leading the NFC North are the Green Bay Packers. They started the season very impressively with six straight wins but have struggled since then to give them a 9-4 record overall. Fortunately for them, the Minnesota Vikings have also been struggling which has allowed Green Bay to claim the top spot for now. They beat the Dallas Cowboys 28-7 in their latest game and will hope to take that motivation into their final few matchups.
The final division leader is the Redskins, but the NFC East is easily the weakest division in the conference. The Redskins have a 6-7 record, just like the two teams behind them (the Eagles and the Giants). Clearly, the NFC East is not over yet and all three teams will be vying for glory until the season is finished.
The last two playoff places currently belong to the Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings. The Seahawks have an 8-5 record and are on fire at the moment. They’ve won four games in a row and demolished a hapless Baltimore squad 35-6 in their latest game.
They’ve got some winnable games to come as the season comes to a close and the 2013 Super Bowl champions will be hoping to keep their form going to secure a position in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Vikings can also boast of an 8-5 record but have been losing a few games recently. Fortunately, they still have a good head-start over their closest rivals and a couple more victories will be enough for them to make the playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be particularly upset with recent events. They were in with a chance of earning a playoff spot for themselves but have lost a couple of games lately to leave them with a 6-7 record. This means that the Vikings and Seahawks will most likely guarantee their playoff places in the weeks to come. The only real question mark remains around the NFC East where any one of the Eagles, Giants or Redskins could make a late push for the division title.