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AFC and NFC playoff race after Thanksgiving


Narratives, and the playoff picture, can change fast in the National Football League. For months, the NFC was the far superior conference, with four or five teams viewed as being better than anyone the AFC had to offer, except for maybe the Tennessee Titans when Derrick Henry is healthy. However, the Rams and Cowboys are now in mini-slumps, and the Patriots have now cracked the top three in DVOA behind only Tampa Bay and Arizona. Week 12 in the NFL will provide an even clearer picture of who’s for real in the AFC and NFC playoff race.

NFL Playoff Picture for Week 13

A fifth of the week’s games were already in the books before sunrise Sunday, with three games on Thanksgiving. Titans-Patriots, Buccaneers-Colts, and Steelers-Bengals are the week’s most impactful 1 PM games.

The late window includes Chargers-Broncos, Rams-Packers, and Vikings-49ers — the Browns and Ravens finish out the day in prime time.

Current AFC Playoff Picture

1. Tennessee Titans (8-3)
2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
3. Buffalo Bills (7-4)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
5. New England Patriots (7-4)
6. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-4)

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)
9. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
10. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

Buffalo Bills make a move in AFC East race

The Bills at their best are as good as anyone. Their issue is consistency. But if Buffalo plays like it did on Thursday night — hammering the Saints 31-6 — Sean McDermott’s crew has a viable path to the 1 seed and the Super Bowl.

Josh Allen completed 23 of 28 passes for 260 yards and 4 touchdowns while Buffalo’s defense limited Trevor Siemian and the free-falling Saints to 190 yards. New Orleans has now lost four straight to drop out of the NFC playoff field.

Current NFC Playoff Picture

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
2. Green Bay Packers (8-3)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
5. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
6. Minnesota Vikings (5-5)
7. San Francisco 49ers (5-5)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
9. Carolina Panthers (5-6)
10. New Orleans Saints (5-6)

Raiders stun slumping Cowboys

After losing 36-33 to the Raiders Thanksgiving evening, the Cowboys were actually as close in the standings to the Philadelphia Eagles as they were the conference’s No. 1 seed. The Cowboys entered Sunday with still a 65% chance to win the NFC East but just a 4% chance to capture the 1 seed per FiveThirtyEight. The Raiders, meanwhile, got their biggest win of the season and served notice that they’ll be in the AFC playoff race through the holidays.



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