Friday December 11th, 2015

The NFL playoff picture is growing clearer, and in the wake of the Cardinals clinching a place with a win over the Vikings Thursday night, here’s a renewed look at the current standings with four games left to go.

In the AFC, the Bengals, Broncos and Patriots are all sitting pretty at 10–2, leading their divisions and fighting for the two first-round byes. The Colts are 6–6, with a tenuous grip on the AFC South. The Chiefs and Jets (7–5), in that order, are currently in as the AFC’s two wild-card teams.

On the outside looking in are the Steelers (7–5), Bills (6–6) and Texans (6–6), with the Raiders and Dolphins long shots at 5–7. Houston and Indianapolis are even in terms of record in the South.

The NFC is led by the undefeated Panthers (12–0), followed by the Cardinals (11–2), two teams with inside tracks on first-round byes and who have clinched playoff berths. The Packers (8–4) and Redskins (5–7) are the current third and fourth seeds, leading their divisions. The Vikings (8–5) and Seahawks (7–5) lead the wild card race.

The overall picture here is a bit cloudier, largely due to the mediocre NFC East, where the Eagles and Giants (5–7) are neck and neck with the division-leading Redskins and the Cowboys not mathematically out, despite being 4–8. One of those four teams will end up with the fourth seed.

The Buccaneers and Falcons are hanging around at 6–6. The Bears are 5–7 and in need of major help to have a chance to sneak in.


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