NFL 2021 standings, playoff picture in Week 14: 49ers rise in NFC wild card, Colts emerge in AFC while idle – CBS Sports

NFL 2021 standings, playoff picture in Week 14: 49ers rise in NFC wild card, Colts emerge in AFC while idle – CBS Sports
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Another week is nearly in the books in the NFL as the playoff races have become even more wild — and confusing — with one month of action still remaining. The league has seen 28 games decided by a game-winning score on the final play this season, the most through Week 14 in NFL history.

Two of those games had an impact on the playoffs in each conference, as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime on a walk-off touchdown while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did the same against the Buffalo Bills. The loss by Cincinnati took the Bengals out of the top seven in the AFC standings while the Bills’ loss dropped them to seventh — the final playoff spot in the conference. The 49ers jumped to sixth in the NFC with their victory while the Buccaneers remained in the hunt for the top seed in the NFC. 

This playoff race is getting more unpredictable by the week. Below, you can find a division-by-division breakdown of the current standings, how each club performed in Week 14 and what each contender is facing on their schedule the rest of the way. 

AFC East

New England Patriots

What to know: The Patriots retain the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC due to being idle this week. New England is actually tied with Tennessee and Kansas City for the top spot, but hold the tiebreaker over both due to best win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Colts, vs. Bills, vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins 

Buffalo Bills

What to know: An overtime loss to Tampa Bay was brutal for Buffalo, but the Bills still have one of the wild card spots thanks to the Steelers losing on Thursday. The Bills hold the final playoff spot in the AFC, losing the tiebreaker for the No. 6 spot to the Colts (conference record). Buffalo owns the tiebreaker over the Browns and Broncos based on having a better win percentage in conference games (all are 7-6). The Bengals also have a 7-6 record, but the Browns own the tiebreaker over them based on head-to-head win percentage — so that forces Buffalo and Cleveland in a tiebreaker with Cleveland eliminating Cincinnati. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers, at Patriots, vs. Falcons, vs. Jets 

Miami Dolphins

What to know: The Dolphins didn’t gain nor lose a spot in the AFC this week, despite being idle. They’re 13th in the conference standings, losing the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Raiders. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Jets, at Saints, at Titans, vs. Patriots

New York Jets

What to know: The Jets are eliminated from the postseason with their loss to the Saints. They are in line for the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft

Remaining schedule: at Dolphins, vs. Jaguars, vs. Buccaneers, at Bills

AFC North

Ravens 

8

5

0

.615

+20

Browns

7

6

0

.538

-11

Bengals

7

6

0

.538

+61

Steelers

6

6

1

.500

-50

Baltimore Ravens

What to know: The Ravens remain in first place in the AFC with them and the Bengals both losing. Baltimore leads Cleveland and Cincinnati by a game in the AFC North. The Ravens are the No. 4 seed in the AFC. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Packers, at Bengals, vs. Rams, vs. Steelers 

Cleveland Browns 

What to know: The big winners this week, Cleveland beating Baltimore puts the Browns at second place in the AFC North (a game behind Baltimore) and tied for the final wild card spot. The Browns are No. 8 in the conference, losing a conference record tiebreaker to the Colts and Bills. The Browns have a head-to-head win over the Broncos (7-6), so they are ahead of them. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders, at Packers, at Steelers, vs. Bengals 

Cincinnati Bengals

What to know: Sunday’s loss to the 49ers dropped the Bengals out of the AFC wild card spots. The Bengals are actually third in the AFC North, losing the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Browns. Cincinnati is No. 9 in the conference standings, winning a conference record tiebreaker over Denver — but falling in the head-to-head tiebreaker to Cleveland which eliminates them from a first tiebreaker with Indianapolis and Buffalo. 

Remaining schedule: at Broncos, vs. Ravens, vs. Chiefs, at Browns 

Pittsburgh Steelers

What to know: A loss to the Vikings puts the Steelers 11th in the conference standings. The Steelers would have had one of the wild card spots with a win, but sit a half-game out of the final playoff spot. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Titans, at Chiefs, vs. Browns, at Ravens 

AFC South

Tennessee Titans 

What to know:  The Titans matched the Patriots for the top record in the AFC with their win over the Jaguars, yet are No. 2 in the conference (Patriots hold the conference record tiebreaker). The Titans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs. A Titans win and a Colts loss next week seals the AFC South. 

Remaining schedule: at Steelers, vs. 49ers, vs. Dolphins, at Texans 

Indianapolis Colts

What to know: The idle Colts jumped into the No. 6 seed in the AFC thanks to the Bills and Bengals losing Sunday. Indianapolis holds a conference record tiebreaker over Buffalo, Cleveland, and Denver — as all are 7-6. The Bengals are 7-6, too, but the Browns own a head-to-head tiebreaker over them — which eliminates Cincinnati from the first tiebreaker. 

Remaining schedule:  vs. Patriots, at Cardinals, vs. Raiders, at Jaguars

Houston Texans

What to know: The Texans are eliminated from the playoffs and are in line for the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft. 

Remaining schedule: at Jaguars, vs. Chargers, at 49ers, vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

What to know: The Jaguars are eliminated from the playoffs after their loss to the Titans and are on track for the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft. Houston is up on Jacksonville in the standings based on head-to-head win percentage, but the two meet next week. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Texans, at Jets, at Patriots, vs. Colts

AFC West

Chiefs

9

4

0

.692

+83

Chargers

8

5

0

.615

+15

Broncos

7

6

0

.538

+47

Raiders

6

7

0

.462

-77

Kansas City Chiefs

What to know: The Chiefs remain in first place in the AFC West with their convincing win over the Raiders. Kansas City jumps up to No. 3 in the conference standings, losing the conference record tiebreaker to the Patriots and the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Titans. First place is on the line in the AFC West this Thursday as Kansas City plays Los Angeles. 

Remaining schedule: at Chargers, vs. Steelers, at Bengals, at Broncos

Los Angeles Chargers

What to know: The Chargers have gained separation in the AFC playoff standings with their win this week. The No. 5 seed in the AFC, the Chargers are up a game on the final playoff spot and a game behind Kansas City for first place in the AFC West. A win over the Chiefs in Week 15 gives the Chargers first place in the division. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Chiefs, at Texans, vs. Broncos, at Raiders 

Denver Broncos

What to know: Denver moves up to 10th in the conference standings and are tied for the final playoff spot in the AFC, yet lose every tiebreaker for the No. 7 spot in the conference. They lose the conference record tiebreaker to the Colts, Bills, Browns, and Bengals — so Denver has a ways to go. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Bengals, at Raiders, at Chargers, vs. Chiefs 

Las Vegas Raiders

What to know: A second consecutive loss for the Raiders pins them 12th in the AFC standings — and last in the AFC West. Vegas has the tiebreaker over Miami based on beating the Dolphins earlier this year. The Raiders control their own playoff destiny with three 7-6 teams in the conference ahead of them in the next three games. 

Remaining schedule: at Browns, vs. Broncos, at Colts, vs. Chargers

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

What to know: The Cowboys are up three games in the NFC East with four games remaining. They basically have the NFC East wrapped up and are 1.5 games behind the Cardinals for the top seed in the conference. Dallas is the No. 4 seed in the NFC at the moment. 

Remaining schedule: at Giants, vs. Washington, vs. Cardinals, at Eagles 

Washington Football Team 

What to know: A loss to Dallas derails Washington’s NFC East title chances, but the Football Team is the No. 7 seed in the conference. Washington wins the tiebreaker over Atlanta and Minnesota based on having a better win percentage on conference games and holds the tiebreaker over Philadelphia based on having a better division record (Atlanta gets the head-to-head tiebreaker over New Orleans, which eliminates the Saints from the first tiebreaker). 

Remaining schedule: at Eagles, at Cowboys, vs. Eagles, at Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

What to know: The Eagles were idle, yet dropped a spot in the conference standings thanks to the Vikings winning this week. Philadelphia is No. 9 in the conference standings, losing a division record tiebreaker to Washington (facing the Football Team twice in the next three weeks). Minnesota owns a tiebreaker over Philadelphia based on a better record in common games. At 6-7, Philadelphia holds the tiebreaker over Atlanta based on beating the Falcons earlier this year.

Remaining schedule: vs. Washington, vs. Giants, at Washington, vs. Cowboys

New York Giants 

What to know: The Giants are two games out of the final playoff spot, but are in better shape for a top 10 draft pick (currently the No. 6 pick in the draft). They’re 14th in the NFC standings. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Cowboys, at Eagles, at Bears, vs. Washington

NFC North

Packers

10

3

0

.769

+56

Vikings

6

7

0

.462

+11

Bears

4

9

0

.308

-101

Lions

1

11

1

.115

-141

Green Bay Packers

What to know: The Packers defeated the Bears Sunday night to keep their commanding lead in the NFC North. A win next week seals the division title for Green Bay, which sits as the No. 2 seed in the NFC — a half-game behind the Cardinals with the head-to-head tiebreaker in hand. 

Remaining schedule: at Ravens, vs. Browns, vs. Vikings, at Lions

Minnesota Vikings

What to know: The Vikings are back in the playoff picture with their thrilling victory over the Steelers. Minnesota is tied with Washington for the final playoff spot, but the Football Team owns the tiebreaker due to better win percentage in conference games. They own the tiebreaker over the Eagles based on having a better record in common games and a tiebreaker over Atlanta based on a better win percentage in conference games.

Remaining schedule: at Bears, vs. Rams, at Packers, vs. Bears

Chicago Bears

What to know: The Bears fall to 15th in the conference standings after their loss to the Packers. Chicago would be in line to have a top five draft pick in hand, but traded that to the New York Giants. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Vikings, at Seahawks, vs. Giants, at Vikings 

Detroit Lions

What to know: The Lions are eliminated from the playoffs after their loss to the Broncos. With the worst record in football, Detroit is in line for the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Cardinals, at Falcons, at Seahawks, vs. Packers

NFC South

Buccaneers

10

3

0

.769

+113

Falcons

6

7

0

.462

-108

Saints

6

7

0

.462

+19

Panthers

5

8

0

.385

-25

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to know: A win by the Buccaneers next week gives them their first NFC South title since 2007. Tampa Bay is fighting for the top seed in the NFC, trailing Arizona by a half-game (the Cardinals play Monday night). The Buccaneers are No. 3 in the conference standings, losing a conference record tiebreaker to the Packers. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Saints, at Panthers, at Jets, vs. Panthers

Atlanta Falcons

What to know: The Falcons are 6-7 and are in a five-way tie for the final playoff spot in the NFC. Atlanta is 10th in the conference, losing a conference record tiebreaker to Washington and Minnesota and a head-to-head tiebreaker to Philadelphia. The Falcons have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints. 

Remaining schedule: at 49ers, vs. Lions, at Bills, vs. Saints

New Orleans Saints

What to know: The Saints are also 6-7, in a five-way tie for the final playoff spot. They are 11th in the conference, losing the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Falcons — which eliminates them from the conference record tiebreaker with Minnesota. The Saints beat Washington but lost to the Eagles. 

Remaining schedule: at Buccaneers, vs. Dolphins, vs. Panthers, at Falcons

Carolina Panthers

What to know: The Panthers are a game out of the final NFC wild card spot at 5-8, but are 12th in the conference. They hold the conference-record tiebreaker over the Seahawks. 

Remaining schedule: at Bills, vs. Buccaneers, at Saints, at Buccaneers

NFC West

Cardinals

10

2

0

.833

+119

Rams

8

4

0

.667

+66

49ers

7

6

0

.538

+28

Seahawks

5

8

0

.385

+10

Arizona Cardinals

What to know: The Cardinals host the Rams on Monday and have an opportunity to take full command of the NFC West, while keeping the top seed in the NFC. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Rams, at Lions, vs. Colts, at Cowboys, vs. Seahawks

Los Angeles Rams

What to know: The Rams will have the No. 5 seed in the NFC standings with a win or loss to the Cardinals, but can cut into the division lead with a win over Arizona. 

Remaining schedule: at Cardinals, vs. Seahawks, at Vikings, at Ravens, vs. 49ers

San Francisco 49ers

What to know:  A huge overtime win over the Bengals puts the 49ers a game up on the final playoff spot in the NFC. San Francisco is the No. 6 seed in the conference standings, 1.5 games behind Los Angeles with the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Falcons, at Titans, vs. Texans, at Rams

Seattle Seahawks

What to know: The Seahawks are a game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC, yet are 13th in the conference thanks to a five-way tiebreaker for the No. 7 spot. The Panthers have the tiebreaker over the Seahawks for the No. 12 spot based on having a better win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Rams, vs. Bears, vs. Lions, at Cardinals