10 NFL Playoff Spots Are Up for Grabs with 3 Weeks Remaining

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Week 15 of the NFL season is officially behind us.

Only three weeks remain before the playoff field is officially set, but there is still plenty of important football to be played. Over the final few weeks of the regular season, many teams will play multiple divisional games that could either help or end their playoff hopes. With 11 NFL playoff spots up for grabs heading into the holiday weekend, here is an updated look at the NFL playoff picture.

NFL Playoff Picture Heading into Week 16

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  1. Baltimore Ravens (11-3)
  2. Miami Dolphins (10-4)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6)
  5. Cleveland Browns (9-5)
  6. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
  7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

  1. Houston Texans (8-6)
  2. Buffalo Bills (8-6)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
  4. Denver Broncos (7-7)
  5. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (5-9)
  7. Tennessee Titans (5-9)
  8. New York Jets (5-9)
  9. New England Patriots (3-11)

Only one playoff spot in the AFC has been determined, and that honor belongs to the Baltimore Ravens, who remain in the No. 1 seed after their big win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday night.

Behind them is a mess of teams that could take all three weeks to sort out. Seeds 6-11 remain separated by just one game, and for now, the Texans and Bills are the teams that would just miss out on playoff spots if the season ended today.

NFL Playoffs
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The big mover from Week 15 was the Cincinnati Bengals, who earned an overtime victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday. The win allowed them to jump all the way from No. 10 in the AFC to No. 6, but they have matchups against the Steelers, Chiefs, and Browns to conclude the season. They could either overtake the No. 5 seed in the AFC or fall completely out of the race during this final three-week stretch.


  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
  3. Detroit Lions (10-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7)
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
  7. Los Angeles Rams (7-7)

  1. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
  2. New Orleans Saints (7-7)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (6-8)
  4. Green Bay Packers (6-8)
  5. New York Giants (5-9)
  6. Chicago Bears (5-9)
  7. Washington Commanders (4-10)
  8. Arizona Cardinals (3-11)
  9. Carolina Panthers (2-12)

Miraculously, the Vikings losing three of their past four games hasn’t cost them at all in the NFC playoff picture. They were the No. 6 seed following their Week 11 loss to the Denver Broncos, and that is exactly where they sit heading into Week 16.

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However, that can change very quickly if they don’t get back on track soon. They are fighting for their NFC North lives this weekend when they play host to the Detroit Lions, and there are four other 7-7 teams that can impact Minnesota’s placement in the conference if they don’t earn a win.

Closer to the top of the conference, the NFC East heavyweights (Dallas, Philadelphia) have fallen off the rails since clinching spots in the playoffs. Both teams suffered horrendous losses this weekend, and now, the Detroit Lions are inching their way closer to the No. 2 seed.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. 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.