Updated NFL standings, playoff picture: Rams take down Saints

NFL News

There were a few shakeups in the NFL standings from Week 12. Here are the updated standings and playoff pictures heading into Monday Night Football.

Now that we’ve pretty much gotten through Thanksgiving week in the NFL, things are starting to get really interesting in several playoff races. There is only one Week 12 game remaining on the slate. That would be Monday Night Football, which features the Houston Texans (4-6) and the Baltimore Ravens (5-5).

The two big games this week were the first Thanksgiving Day game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions and an excellent Sunday afternoon game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. Minnesota improved to 9-2 on Thanksgiving by outlasting the Lions at Ford Field. Los Angeles stopped the Saints’ winning streak at eight games to take the head-to-head tiebreaker in the NFC.

Here are the updated standings and playoff pictures in both conferences heading into Monday Night Football in Week 12. Who is in and who would be out if the season ended today?

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots (9-2)
  2. Buffalo Bills (6-5)
  3. New York Jets (4-7)
  4. Miami Dolphins (4-7)

New England is running away with the AFC East as usually at 9-2. The Patriots lead the Bills by three games. New England has a five-game lead over both the Jets and Dolphins in the divisional race. A win over Buffalo on Sunday knocks New York and Miami out of the AFC East race entirely.

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)*
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
  4. Cleveland Browns (0-11)

Pittsburgh is in control of the AFC North. The Steelers are 3.5 games up on the Ravens. Depending on what happens Monday night, Baltimore could be three or four games back of the Steelers in the AFC North race. Cincinnati is four games back of the Steelers. Cleveland has been eliminated from playoff contention, as the Browns have the worst record in football at 0-11.

AFC South

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-4)
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4)
  3. Houston Texans (4-6)*
  4. Indianapolis Colts (3-8)

Tennessee takes back control of first place in the AFC South after its narrow victory over Indianapolis, coupled with Jacksonville’s road loss to Arizona. The Titans have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jaguars. They will meet again in Nashville in Week 17. Houston is 2.5 games back of the Titans. The Texans could be two or three games back of Tennessee depending on the outcome on Monday night. Indianapolis is four games back of the Titans with five weeks left.

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5)
  2. Los Angeles Chargers (5-6)
  3. Oakland Raiders (5-6)
  4. Denver Broncos (3-8)

Despite losing five of six, the Chiefs are still in first place in the AFC West. However, they only hold one-game leads over the Chargers and the Raiders. Oakland has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Kansas City, while Los Angeles does not. Denver is three games back of the Chiefs in the divisional race.

If the season ended today, and Pittsburgh would get home-field advantage. The Steelers have a better strength of schedule over New England, who would be the No. 2 seed and get a first-round bye. Tennessee would be the No. 3 seed as the AFC South champion. Kansas City would be the No. 4 seed as the AFC West champion. The two wild card teams would be Jacksonville and Buffalo. However, the Ravens can take the No. 6 from Buffalo if they beat the Texans on Monday night.

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
  3. Washington Redskins (5-6)
  4. New York Giants (2-9)

Philadelphia has almost clinched the NFC East. The Eagles lead both the Cowboys and the Redskins by five games with five remaining. New York has been eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC, as the Giants are only 2-9.

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
  2. Detroit Lions (6-5)
  3. Green Bay Packers (5-6)
  4. Chicago Bears (3-8)

The Vikings are running away with the NFC North race. They are three games better than the Detroit Lions though 12 weeks. Green Bay is four games back of the Vikings. Chicago has been eliminated from the NFC North race, as the Bears are 3-8 on the year, barely clinging to their playoff hopes as a wild card team.

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints (8-3)
  2. Carolina Panthers (8-3)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)

New Orleans leads the NFC South race by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker over Carolina. Arch rival Atlanta is only one game back of both teams. Tampa Bay is a ways back of all three at 4-7, and four games back of the division-leading Saints.

NFC West

  1. Los Angeles Rams (8-3)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
  3. Arizona Cardinals (5-6)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (1-10)

Los Angeles leads Seattle by a game in the NFC West standings. Arizona is three games back of the Rams. The 49ers have been eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC, as San Francisco is a terrible 1-10 this season.

If the season ended today, Philadelphia would get home-field advantage as the No. 1. Minnesota would get a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed. Los Angeles would be the No. 3 seed as the NFC West winner. New Orleans would get the No. 4 seed as the NFC South winner. The two wild card teams in the NFC would be Carolina and Atlanta as the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds, respectively.

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