The NFL Playoff Picture Heading into Week 12: The AFC Is a Mess, Vikings Still Have a Cushion

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Week 11 of the NFL season is behind us, and we only have seven weeks left in the regular season.

Even still, the NFL playoff picture remains a mess, particularly in the AFC. As we look ahead to Week 12, here is where both conferences stand, and a look at which teams would be in the tournament if the season ended today.

NFL Playoff Picture

NFL Playoff Picture
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  1. Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)
  4. Miami Dolphins (7-3)
  5. Cleveland Browns (7-3)
  6. Houston Texans (6-4)
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)


  1. Buffalo Bills (6-5)
  2. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
  3. Denver Broncos (5-5)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)
  5. Las Vegas Raiders (5-6)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)
  7. New York Jets (4-6)
  8. Tennessee Titans (3-7)
  9. New England Patriots (2-8)

The AFC is a disaster right now in the best possible way. There are currently 11 teams at 5-5 or better, and we are setting up for a hell of a finish in the conference. Five teams at the top sit within half a game of each other, and we cannot rule out a further rise from the Houston Texans, especially considering they have a matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.

Week 5 NFL Picks
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  1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
  2. Detroit Lions (8-2)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (7-3)
  4. New Orleans Saints (5-5)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
  7. Minnesota Vikings (6-5)


  1. Green Bay Packers (4-6)
  2. Los Angeles Rams (4-6)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)
  5. Washington Commanders (4-7)
  6. New York Giants (3-8)
  7. Chicago Bears (3-8)
  8. Arizona Cardinals (2-9)
  9. Carolina Panthers (1-9)

The NFC isn’t quite as crazy right now as the AFC, but there is still plenty of time in this season for chaos. As things stand heading into Week 12, the Vikings hold a 1.5-game lead over a four-horse group which includes the Packers, Rams, Falcons, and Buccaneers.

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Things do get interesting over the next few weeks, though. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers face off with each other twice in the next three weeks, which could lead to some shuffling in the standings. In between those games, Seattle plays Dallas while San Francisco plays Philadelphia. The next few weeks will go a long ways towards determining how exactly things land in the conference.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.