The NFL’s 2021 season is in double-digit weeks and closer to the end of its new 17-game schedule. It’s time to recheck the updated standings and what the post-Week 12 playoff picture looks like heading into Week 13 weekend games.
The league kept its playoff field widened, with 14 of its 32 teams (43.8 percent) set to qualify for the final postseason. That includes 7 each from the AFC and NFC, with only the No. 1 seeds getting free passes on top of home advantage.
Who would be in, who is still in dispute, and who should he be thinking of next season? Here’s a full look:
NFL POWER RATINGS:
Patriots, 49ers, Buccaneers rise as Rams and Steelers fall in Week 13
NFL standings for week 12
Image of the AFC playoffs
Who would be inside?
1. Baltimore Ravens (8-3), first place, AFC North. The Ravens made sure to stay ahead of the Patriots in the race for the No. 1 seed and the Bengals for the division lead by beating the Browns at home Sunday night. Balitmore still has a tough slate ahead of him, but he’s finding ways to win even when he’s not at his best on either side of the ball. The Ravens still have four divisional games left and two disheartening NFC foes waiting. Remaining hours: in PIT, in CLE, versus GB, in CIN, versus LAR, versus PIT
2. New England Patriots (8-4), first place, AFC East. The Patriots matched the Bills’ result from Week 12 to return to the top of the division by half a game. They are behind the Ravens with a lower winning percentage after having played more than two games. Their victory over the Titans also gave them the tiebreaker for No. 2. Remaining hours: vs. BUF, BYE, in IND, vs. BUF, vs. JAX, at MIA
3. Tennessee Titans (8-4), first place, AFC South. The Titans fell from No. 1 with their loss to the Patriots, falling a complete game behind the Ravens and staying just half a game ahead of the Chiefs, whom they beat earlier in the season, along with the Bills. The Titans don’t need to worry about him yet Remaining hours: BYE, vs. JAX, at PIT, vs. SF, vs. MIA, at HOU
4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), first place, AFC West. The Chiefs stayed here after beating the Cowboys because they lost to both the Titans and the Ravens, and the Patriots also have a superior record in the conference. A win was huge to stay ahead of the Chargers. The Chiefs get a much-needed break in Week 12. Remaining hours: versus DEN, versus LV, in LAC, versus PIT, in CIN, in DEN
5. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4), second place, AFC North. The Bengals have returned to wild-card and division playoff contention with big back-to-back wins over the Raiders and Steelers after the break. They beat the Ravens on the road earlier and may finish first if the Ravens lose to the Browns. They hold the tiebreaker for this spot over the Bills with a better conference record. However, nothing is easy on the board. Remaining hours: vs. LAC, vs. SF, at DEN, vs. BAL, vs. KC, at CLE
6. Buffalo Bills (7-4), second place, AFC East. The Bills fell here after their win over the Saints because the Patriots responded by looking out for the Titans. They will have their chance to catch and pass the Patriots next Monday night. Aside from New England twice, Buffalo has a big challenge ahead against Tampa Bay. Remaining hours: vs. NE, in TB, vs. CAR, in NE, vs. ATL, NYJ.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5), second place, AFC West. The Chargers lost a lot to the Broncos on the road to squander a great opportunity to keep up with the Bengals, Raiders and Bills winning. They go head-to-head with the Bengals with the possibility of promotion in Week 13. Remaining hours: at CIN, vs. NYG, vs. KC, at HOU, vs. DEN, at LV
Who can get there?
8. Denver Broncos (6-5)
9. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
10. Indianapols Colts (6-6)
11. Cleveland Browns (6-6)
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)
The Raiders won to help themselves in Week 12, while the Steelers and Colts lost to lag behind. The Browns blew a great opportunity against the Ravnes Sunday night, while the Broncos seized theirs against the Chargers.
Who is going out?
13. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
14. New York Jets (3-8)
15. Houston Texans (2-9)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
The Dolphins have won four straight games after a 1-7 start on a climb to respectability, but it’s too little, too late for a push to the playoffs. The Jets parted ways with the bottom two with a win over the Texans and still play the Jaguars.
NFL SELECTIONS WEEK 12: Direct | Against the spread
NFC playoff image
Who would be inside?
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2), first place, NFC West. The Cardinals did their best to pull off an impressive road win in Seattle once again without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. They’ve already jumped here again after the Packers lost to the Vikings in Week 11. The Cardinals are enjoying a break in Week 12. Remaining hours: in CHI, versus LAR, in DET, versus IND, in DAL, versus SEA
2. Green Bay Packers (9-3), first place, NFC North. The Packers took care of business against the Rams to move into the midgame of the inactive Cardinals, whom they beat, for the first seed. In the process, they also helped the Cardinals build a bigger advantage in their division. Now they can rest. And I hope the Cardinals get mad at the Bears in Week 13. Remaining hours: BYE, vs. CHI, in BAL, vs. CLE, vs. MIN, in DET
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3), first place, NFC South. The Buccaneers used the Week 12 win over the Colts to get closer to the top seed. They again beat the Cowboys, who lost, and are behind the Packers by No. 2 with a minor conference record. Tampa Bay desperately needed the second straight win after losing two straight games at halftime with Tom Brady having rare interception problems. Remaining hours: in ATL, against BUF, against NO, in CAR, in NYJ, against CAR
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-4), first place, NFC East. The Cowboys stayed here after beating the Saints in Week 13 on the road in the NFC game Thursday night to bounce back from their inter-conference home loss to the Raiders in Week 12. They moved to just a game behind the Packers and a half game behind the Buccaneers, to whom they lost in Week 1. They needed the win to create some separation between them and Washington, the next opponent, in the division. Remaining hours: at WAS, at NYG, versus WAS, versus ARI, at PHI
5. Los Angeles Rams (7-4), second place, NFC West. The Rams lost their third game in a row and had a disappointing result with over Matthew Stafford after a break at Green Bay. They are now two full games behind the Cardinals and just one game ahead of the 49ers, who Remaining hours: vs JAX, in ARI, vs SEA, in MIN, in BAL, vs SF
6. San Francisco 49ers (6-5), third place, NFC West. The 49ers beat the Vikings for their third straight win and four in the past five games, going from a slow start to a solid playoff position for Kyle Shanahan despite playing in a tough division. They jumped on the Vikings and pushed the Rams further for the best wild card in the West. They get another shot with the Seahawks reeling in last place before a key road interconference game against the Bengals. Remaining hours: in SEA, in CIN, against ATL, in TEN, against HOU, in LAR
7. Washington soccer team (5-6), second place, NFC East. Washington moved into the final position of the NFC playoffs in a game below .500 with a win over the Seahawks on Monday night to close out Week 12 thanks to a stellar 5-2 conference record. Ron Rivera’s team is no stranger to this kind of situation, having won the division with a losing record in 2020. WFT is also just two and a half games behind Dallas with the season series still ahead. Remaining hours: in LV, vs. DAL, in PHI, in DAL, vs. PHI, in NYG
Who can get there?
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
9. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
11. Carolina Panthers (5-7)
12. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
13. New York Giants (4-7)
14. Chicago Bears (4-7)
15. Seattle Seahawks (3-8)
The Vikings fell here after losing in San Francisco and Washington won Monday night. The Falcons beat the Jaguars to overtake the Saints, whom they beat on the road earlier. The Eagles lost to the Giants, giving them the same record as the Panthers. The Giants’ victory allowed them to overtake the Bears, who beat the Lions on Thanksgiving. The Seahawks finished barring a miraculous six-game trade. The Saints, who lost to the Eagles and Panthers earlier, fell further after losing to the Cowboys to open Week 13.
Who is going out?
16. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)
The Lions lost again in frustrating fashion in week 11 after getting a post-halftime tie in week 10. That only grew with their last close teenage loss to the Bears at home on Thanksgiving.