NFL Playoff Picture: Who’s in, Who’s Out After Week 14?

The 49ers hang onto the No. 1 spot in the NFC after what was possibly the the best game of the season against the Saints. Also, a look at the remaining schedules for the teams in contention, the top-10 NFL draft order and more.
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Jimmy Garoppolo

Even if this is the only intrigue we get—the Seahawks and 49ers trading the No. 1 spot in the NFC West like a pair of Indy cars coming down the stretch— it was a good run, though there are a few interesting subplots brewing in the 2019-20 playoff race. On one side of the playoffs, there is a slugfest that will relegate one of the best teams in football to the fifth seed and the potential emergence of a long slumbering-giant. On the other? The Cowboys and Eagles will continue to swat at each other like uncoordinated bar flies, eventually knocking themselves out in the process.

Like last week, it’s time to examine the state of play heading into a somehow-consequential Monday Night Football game between the Eagles and Giants.

AFC

FIRST-ROUND BYES

1. Baltimore (11-2), 2. New England (10-3)

DIVISION WINNERS

3. Kansas City (9-4), 4. Houston (8-5)

WILD-CARD TEAMS

5. Buffalo (9-4), 6. Pittsburgh (8-5)

IN THE NEAR DISTANCE

Tennessee (8-5)

WAY, WAY OFF IN THE DISTANCE

Cleveland (6-7), Indianapolis (6-7), Oakland (6-7), Denver (5-8)

NFC

FIRST-ROUND BYES

1. San Francisco (11-2), 2. Green Bay (10-3)

DIVISION WINNERS

3. New Orleans (10-3), 4. Dallas (6-7)

WILD-CARD TEAMS

5. Seattle (10-3), 6. Minnesota (9-4)

IN THE NEAR DISTANCE

Philadelphia (6-7), LA Rams (8-5)

WAY, WAY OFF IN THE DISTANCE

Chicago (7-6)

* * *

A quick look at the remaining opponents for some teams still in contention for divisional/wild-card battles…

Browns: Cardinals, Ravens, Bengals
Steelers: Bills, Jets, Ravens
Eagles: Giants, Washington, Cowboys, Giants
Cowboys: Rams, Eagles, Washington
Texans: Titans, Buccaneers, Titans
Titans: Texans, Saints, Texans
Colts: Saints, Panthers, Jaguars
Seattle: Panthers, Cardinals, 49ers
Chicago: Packers, Chiefs, Vikings
Minnesota: Chargers, Packers Bears

* * *

Goodbye this week to….

Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Jaguars, Chargers, Jets

The Jets, despite saving themselves from a sports-talk radio meltdown with a narrow victory over the Dolphins, could not hang in playoff contention (there will probably still be a meltdown). The Adam Gase era is officially off to an inauspicious start, while the Jaguars and Chargers chug their way into some fascinating decisions as well.

There are now 12 teams in total who have officially been eliminated from the 2019-20 postseason. An interesting factoid, I thought, from pro football researcher Ivan Urena: This is the lowest number of teams remaining who could possibly win the Super Bowl (20) with three weeks to play since at least 2010. This time last year, there were still 26 teams in contention for the playoffs.

* * *

Current NFL draft order (top 10):

1. Cincinnati
2. N.Y. Giants
3. Washington
4. Miami
5. Detroit
6. Arizona
7. Jacksonville
8. Atlanta
9. N.Y. Jets
10. L.A. Chargers

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