11: 15 PM ET

  • Kevin SeifertESPN Personnel Author


    • ESPN.com national NFL author
    • ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013
    • Lined Vikings for Minneapolis Superstar Tribune, 1999-2008

Welcome to a distinct Thanksgiving Day edition of our NFL playoff image. In the occasion you saved most real looking one leer on the games, or even whereas you watched them carefully, we agree with loads to focus on about. The outcomes of two matchups shook up the playoff standings in each and every conferences. Among the takeaways:

  • The Buffalo Payments regained supremacy within the AFC East, now not much less than temporarily. The Payments, of course, could perchance be wait on amongst the wild-card contenders if the Fresh England Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans this weekend.

  • The Payments’ take over the Fresh Orleans Saints elevated the San Francisco 49ers into the NFC wild-card fling. They’re presently No. 7 within the NFC standings, whereas the Saints’ fourth consecutive loss has them taking a explore up on the NFC field.

  • The Las Vegas Raiders‘ take over the Dallas Cowboys stopped a mid-season trot and set aside them wait on in competition to switch into the AFC wild-card fling must a contemporary contender falter.

  • The Cowboys’ lead within the NFC East is now not yet threatened, but the surging Philadelphia Eagles can no longer be discounted within the division fling.

We agree with updated those conditions and additional below. Spy some other change after Sunday’s games as Week 12 continues.

Soar to: AFC | NFC


1. Tennessee Titans (8-3)

No personnel has exemplified this unpredictable season greater than the Titans, who won seven of their first 9 games no topic going thru the NFL’s most sophisticated time desk over that stretch. They then launched into a grand more uncomplicated time desk, most real looking to endure a beautiful house loss in Week 11 to the Texans. The defeat allowed the Colts to proceed closing the outlet within the AFC South, vexed the Titans’ lead to two games with six to play. (Tennessee won each and every head-to-head matchups with Indianapolis.) Irrespective of whether or now not the Colts must buy them, it’s sophisticated to behold the Titans because the sure-gash back AFC favorite when two of their losses agree with come to the Texans and Jets — who agree with a blended narrative of 4-16. And now the Patriots, arguably the freshest personnel within the league, await them on Sunday.

Next up: at Patriots

2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)

Even with out quarterback Lamar Jackson in Week 11, the Ravens managed to retain their retain on first set aside within the AFC North. They haven’t been relatively for a whereas, having lost to the Bengals and Dolphins and eking out an beyond regular time take over the Vikings over the past month. Nonetheless likely that is appropriate the intention it’ll be for them.

Next up: vs. Browns

3. Buffalo Payments (7-4)

Will a convincing take Thursday within the Superdome be ample to drag the Payments out of a midseason spiral? They entered Week 12 having lost two of their past three games, including an inexplicable defeat to the Jaguars and a 26-level loss to the Colts. The Payments greater hope they’ve figured things out, in consequence of they’re about to bolt real into a brutal stretch of their time desk. They’ll play the red-hot Patriots twice in four weeks, with a game on the Buccaneers jumbled in there, as properly. Nonetheless for about a days, now not much less than, they’ve returned to the discontinue of the AFC East.

Next up: vs Patriots (Week 13)


0: 19

Josh Allen finds Dawson Knox for his second touchdown of the game versus Fresh Orleans.

4. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (7-4)

The Chiefs are rolling off their fourth consecutive victory, a fling that has introduced them from below .500 to atop the AFC West. There doesn’t seem like grand doubt that the Chiefs will be amongst the seven groups representing the AFC within the playoffs, and additional likely than now not, they are going to be the AFC West champion.

Next up: vs. Broncos (Week 13)

5. Fresh England Patriots (7-4)

It took the Patriots much less than two months to build up properly from their 1-3 launch up and even temporarily supplant the Payments atop the AFC East. The Payments reclaimed first set aside with a Thanksgiving take over the Saints, but the Patriots will retake the placement if they beat the Titans in Week 12. Five consecutive wins — and six of their past seven games — agree with now not most real looking given them a division advantage but additionally set aside them inside affordable vary of the discontinue seed within the AFC. It’s all in front of them now. The Patriots agree with a fortuitous house game in opposition to the AFC-main Titans this week then play the Payments twice in a three-game stretch subsequent month. In the occasion you are judging postseason seedings by how groups are taking half in within the intervening time, it’s sophisticated to explore past the Patriots because the most attention-grabbing-located personnel within the AFC (excellent now, of course).

Next up: vs. Titans

6. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

There became a time when a whole bunch people had been vexed about Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow‘s health in getting back from final season’s knee ruin. By 10 games, we can whisper that the undertaking became largely spurious. Right making it thru 10 games did now not appear a certainty when the season started, but he has the Bengals’ offense humming, most now not too long ago with a 32-level outburst in Week 11’s victory over the Raiders. ESPN’s Soccer Vitality Index (FPI) is giving the Bengals roughly a 50-50 likelihood of making the playoffs, but in a large-open AFC, they agree with totally set aside themselves in location to be within the December dialog.

Next up: vs. Steelers

7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-4)

The Chargers did the entirety they’ll additionally honest to drop out of the AFC’s top seven in Week 11, but within the ideal signal yet that they are turning a nook below coach Brandon Staley and quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers stopped doing Chargers things long ample to retake the lead. There is mild loads to ask referring to the Chargers, most particularly their particular groups, but they confirmed they are to be taken severely within the AFC playoff fling.

Next up: at Broncos

In the AFC hunt

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)

The Steelers are winless of their past two games and within the intervening time are out of the AFC’s top seven. It’ll now not accumulate any more uncomplicated after they depart to Cincinnati this weekend.

Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

The Colts agree with won three consecutive games and 5 of their past six, but earlier than Week 11, the quality of the groups they beat wasn’t too impressive. That changed with a blowout victory at Buffalo. The Colts are trending within the total most attention-grabbing directions, and the Buccaneers are their subsequent take a look at.

Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

We are able to agree with nothing but tip our cap to the Raiders, whose put up-Jon Gruden trot looked properly underway for the length of a three-game shedding fling coming into Thursday’s game on the Cowboys. They went into AT&T Stadium and won a battle of attrition, and mild agree with 10 days to organize for a winnable house game in opposition to Washington in Week 13.


0: 21

Anthony Brown is whistled for a bolt interference penalty, which sets the Raiders up for Daniel Carlson’s winning field plot in beyond regular time.

Cleveland Browns (6-5)

It’s fantastic that the Browns agree with won six games given the gruesome affect quarterback Baker Mayfield‘s left shoulder ruin is having on his performance. Oh, and build now not put out of your mind the messy presence and departure of wideout Odell Beckham Jr. In the occasion you are selecting one personnel to drop out of the wild-card fling in consequence of exhaustion, it’s the Browns. They’ve a street day out to Baltimore on deck.

Denver Broncos (5-5)

The Broncos will return from a bye with a .500 narrative, but consecutive games in opposition to the Chargers and Chiefs will likely knock them additional from the AFC wild-card fling.


1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Let’s tip our cap to the Cardinals, who agree with traveled moderately a depart since their final-minute loss in Week 8 to the Packers. Taking half in with out quarterback Kyler Murray and big receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they agree with long past 2-1 with wins at division opponents San Francisco and Seattle. The Cardinals agree with turn out to be the fourth personnel in NFL historical past to launch up a season 6-0 in street games and will accumulate their MVP-caliber quarterback wait on earlier than later. FPI is asking them a digital lock to make the playoffs and giving them the next than 90% likelihood to take the NFC West.

Next up: at Bears (Week 13)

2. Inexperienced Bay Packers (8-3)

In most conditions, the Packers with Aaron Rodgers are a sound Huge Bowl contender. Nonetheless what must we whisper a pair of Packers personnel that is shedding key gamers to ruin on a weekly foundation? They are mild in actually excellent form within the NFC North, main the Vikings by 2½ games, with a Week 17 matchup in opposition to Minnesota at Lambeau Field looming. Nonetheless on the least, the Packers’ depth is going to be examined for the length of December soccer.

Next up: vs. Rams

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

The defending Huge Bowl champions broke a mildly alarming two-game shedding fling on Monday evening with a convincing take over the Giants, a personnel that entered the game ranked No. 23 within the NFL with an common of 18.9 offensive parts per game. The lane is there for a excessive seed within the NFC bracket, as their ideal time desk entails most real looking two groups with winning files (the Colts and Payments).

Next up: vs. Colts

4. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

Uh-oh. The Cowboys had been expected to make a selection off after they got quarterback Dak Prescott wait on from ruin. As a replacement, they agree with lost three of their past four games. Their lead within the NFC East is now not yet threatened; the Eagles would mild be two games within the wait on of within the loss column even if they beat the Giants on Sunday. Nonetheless it no doubt stays an open ask whether or now not the Cowboys will head into the playoffs as a valid contender or will be within the postseason merely in consequence of they’re the least-wrong personnel in a ragged division.

Next up: at Saints (Week 13)


0: 35

A referee takes a drop as Tony Pollard takes the kick return 100 yards to the house.

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

It has been a instant tumble for the “all-in” Rams, who agree with fallen from the discontinue set aside within the NFC to the wild-card image with two consecutive losses. Regardless, the Rams’ Week 11 bye came at an even time. They had two weeks to build up newcomers Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. extra acclimated to their program, moreover understanding why quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown four interceptions for the length of the 2-game skid. They greater hope they accumulate it figured out, in consequence of their upcoming time desk entails now not most real looking the Packers but the Cardinals, Vikings, Ravens and 49ers. That will be a posh speed.

Next up: at Packers

6. Minnesota Vikings (5-5)

Whenever you appear to play discontinuance games a week, the math says you mustn’t much less than take about a of them. The Vikings’ Week 11 victory over the Packers boosted their division and conference files. Each are key categories for tiebreakers, and their 4-2 NFC narrative is the plot they are sooner than the Saints and 49ers (whom they play subsequent week) within the NFC playoff standings. Total, the Vikings agree with performed in seven consecutive games that had been determined by seven or fewer parts, a stretch that both has hardened them for a playoff speed or will finally ticket them entrance into the postseason altogether.

Next up: at 49ers

7. San Francisco 49ers (5-5)

The 49ers agree with won three of their past four, and so that they had been ready to leapfrog the Saints within the wild-card fling following Thursday’s circulation. No one can whisper with certainty whether or now not the 49ers are actually a playoff personnel, but every so recurrently these issues accumulate determined within the postseason. Their ideal energy of time desk ranks No. 25 within the league. One caveat to retain in mind is that the Eagles, some other NFC wild-card competitor, agree with the NFL’s perfect ideal time desk.

Next up: vs. Vikings

In the NFC hunt

Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)

The Eagles even agree with won three of their past four, all of which by extra than 10 parts. And if you notice two games apiece in opposition to Washington and the Giants ideal, as properly as a matchup in opposition to the Jets, you notice a moderately favorable time desk for staying within the wild-card fling. Philly has a street game in opposition to the Giants this week.

Carolina Panthers (5-6)

Can the Panthers actually be a playoff contender with a quarterback they signed out of free company and inserted into the starting up lineup inside two weeks? Cam Newton will be Superman, but he’s now not a magician. Carolina will depart to play the Dolphins on Sunday.

Fresh Orleans Saints (5-6)

That’s now four consecutive losses for the Saints since starting up quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending knee ruin. Their offense had zero punch Thursday evening in opposition to the Payments, and so that they’re now taking a explore up on the NFC playoff field. They’ll play the Cowboys in Week 13, but the one involving set aside is that four of their closing six opponents agree with shedding files.

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