NFL Playoff Picture: Steelers, Saints Top Seeds Entering Week 12

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The slate of Week 11 games provided clarity to the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 12 and the final six weeks of the 2020 season.

In Week 11, the Seahawks defeated their NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals to remain one game behind the Rams in the division. However, all three teams can still make the playoffs depending on how the remaining weeks unfold in the division. 

The Steelers remain undefeated and dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars to claim the top spot in the AFC standings. Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs in a comeback victory over the Las Vegas Raiders after losing to them in Week 5. With the Chiefs' victory, Kansas City has not lost twice to the same team in the regular season since 2014.

NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs Take Top Spot, Saints Will Be Just Fine Without Bres

The Saints proved that they could continue winning behind backup quarterback Taysom Hill. New Orleans earned its seventh consecutive victory in a win over the Falcons, which put the franchise as the top seed in the NFC going into Week 12. 

However, the remainder of the Saints' schedule includes two division games and four games that include the Eagles, the Chiefs, the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos. 

In a football season that will include 14 playoff teams, the final six weeks will be critical to see which teams from each conference lock in playoff spots. As a reminder, under the new format, only No. 1 seeds from each conference get first-round byes.

Here's the latest picture of the NFL playoffs heading into Week 12. 

AFC Playoff Picture

Pittsburgh (10-0)

Kansas City (9-1) 

  • The Chiefs are currently the No. 2 seed
  • Next opponent: @ Buccaneers on Nov. 29

Buffalo (7-3)

  • The Bills are currently the No. 3 seed. 
  • Next opponent: Chargers on Nov. 29

Indianapolis ( 7-3)

  • The Colts currently hold the No. 4 seed.
  • Next opponent: Titans on Nov. 29

Tennessee ( 7-3)

  • The Titans currently hold the No. 5 seed.
  • Next opponent: @ Colts on Nov. 29

Cleveland (7-3)

  • The Browns currently hold the No. 6 seed.
  • Next opponent: @ Jaguars on Nov. 29

Las Vegas (6-4)

  • The Raiders currently hold the No. 7 seed. 
  • Next opponent: @ Falcons on Nov. 29

In the Hunt  Miami (6-4), Baltimore (6-4), Denver (4-6) and New England (4-6)

  • The Dolphins go on the road to face the Jets on Sunday.
  • Baltimore has a quick turnaround against the Steelers, a game that could rearrange some things in the AFC North and in the conference should the Steelers lose.
  • Mathematically, the Broncos and the Patriots are still alive for a playoff spot. The Broncos' remaining schedule includes matchups against five current playoff teams in their matchup against the Saints on Sunday, the Chiefs, the Panthers, the Bills, the Chargers and the Raiders.
  • The Patriots will face the Cardinals, the Chargers, the Rams, the Dolphins, the Bills and the Jets over the next six weeks.

AFC Matchups (if playoffs started this week)

(1) Pittsburgh (first-round bye)

(7) Las Vegas @ (2) Kansas City

(6) Cleveland @ (3) Buffalo 

(5) Tennessee @ (4) Indianapolis 

NFC Playoff Picture

New Orleans (8-2)

  • The Saints currently control the NFC with the top seed.
  • Next opponent: Broncos on Nov. 29

Los Angeles (7-3)

  • The Rams currently hold the No. 2 seed.
  • Next opponent: 49ers on Nov. 29

Green Bay (7-3)

  • The Packers currently hold the No. 3 seed.
  • Next opponent: Bears on Nov. 29

Philadelphia (3-6-1)

  • The Eagles currently hold the No. 4 seed.
  • Next opponent: Seahawks on Nov. 30

Seattle (7-3)

  • The Seahawks currently hold the No. 5 seed.
  • Next opponent: @ Eagles on Nov. 30

Tampa Bay (7-4)

  • The Buccaneers currently hold the No. 6 seed.
  • Next opponent: Chiefs on Nov. 29

Arizona (6-4)

  • The Cardinals currently hold the No. 7 seed.
  • Next opponent: @ Patriots on Nov. 29

In the Hunt — Chicago (5-5), Carolina (4-7) and Atlanta (3-7) New York Giants (3-7), Dallas Cowboys (3-7) and Washington Football Team (3-7)

  • The Bears are still in the hunt but it could be a tall task to climb their way into the playoffs. The Bears are coming off a bye week but lost quarterback Nick Foles to injury in a 19-13 loss to the Vikings the previous week. Chicago's remaining schedule includes a pair of games versus the Packers and games against the Lions, the Houston Texans, the Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars. 
  • The Panthers' remaining schedule includes games against the Vikings, Broncos, Packers, Washington football team and the Saints.
  • The Falcons split the season series with the Panthers. Atlanta's remaining schedule includes games versus the Raiders, the Saints, Chargers, two games versus the Buccaneers and the Chiefs. 

NFC Matchups (if playoffs started this week)

(1) New Orleans (first-round bye)

(7) Arizona @ (2) Los Angeles

(6) Tampa Bay @ (3) Green Bay

(5) Seattle @ (4) Philadelphia