Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

NFL Playoff Picture: Week 11

Mark Menard
November 13, 2019 - 5:42 pm
Categories: 

Now that we’ve finally reached double-digits when counting the weeks of the NFL season, it’s time to start breaking down the weekly playoff picture. The division leaders haven’t had much flux in recent weeks, but a surprise contender leapt into the wild card race this week as Pittsburgh has ridden a four-game winning streak back into contention.

Let’s break it down:

 

AFC

 

AFC NORTH

1) Baltimore (7-2) | 2) Pittsburgh (5-4) | 3) Cleveland (3-6) | 4) Cincinnati (0-9)

The Ravens made a statement two weeks ago when they took down the Patriots, and Lamar Jackson is undoubtedly in the MVP conversation, but the story right now is the Steelers’ rise from the dead. Four straight wins have pushed Pittsburgh back into the division race as they climbed from 1-4 to now sit above .500 at 5-4. They now sit just 2 games behind Baltimore. Can the Browns close the gap in the back half? After so much offseason hype, it’ll be a very disappointing year if they can’t, but as of now they sit 4 games out of first.

The Bengals are also in the North.

AFC WEST

1) Kansas City (6-4) | 2) Oakland (5-4) | 3) Los Angeles (4-6) | 4) Denver (3-6)

The feeling after the first quarter of the season was that Kansas City was poised to run away with this division. Six weeks and four losses later, and they find themselves in a dogfight with… the Raiders? The Hard Knocks crew has surprised this season and sits above .500 more than halfway through the season and trail the Chiefs by just a ½ game. And as pleasantly surprising as Oakland is, the Chargers are that much more disappointing. Denver is trending upward as first-year coach Vic Fangio finds his sea legs

AFC EAST

1) New England (8-1) | 2) Buffalo (6-3) | 3) Miami (2-7) | 4) New York (2-7)

New England had the bye week last week to dwell on their first loss of the year. They should continue to roll through this division in the back half, with two of the NFL’s worst team both sitting in the AFC East.

Miami holds the tiebreaker for third place thanks to their head-to-head win over the Jets, and the Dolphins have actually won two straight. Both the Fins and Jets gained a ½ as the Pats sat idle but the Bills dropped further back after their upset loss at the hands of the Browns and now sit 2 games back of first.

SOUTH

1) Houston (6-3) | 2) Indianapolis (5-4) | 3) Tennessee (5-5) | 4) Jacksonville (4-5)

As the first-place Texans sat idle last week, they were gifted an inexplicable loss by the Colts to the Dolphins, giving Houston a one-game edge in the South. The Titans upset the Chiefs though to close their own gap to just 1 ½ games. The Jags sit just two games back despite being a game below .500.

 

DIVISION LEADERS

1) New England (8-1) | 2) Baltimore (7-2) | 3) Houston (6-3) | 4) Kansas City (6-4)

The Patriots saw their lead for the top seed in the AFC narrow to just a single game, and the second-place Ravens hold already hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pats. Houston isn’t far behind at 2 games back, while the Chiefs at 2 ½ back have been fading as of late.

 

WILD CARD

1) Buffalo (6-3) | 2) Pittsburgh (5-4)

3) Oakland (5-4) | 4) Indianapolis (5-4) | 5) Tennessee (5-5)

The Bills have held the advantage in the wild-card race for weeks, but it’s only a 1-game edge now with three teams nipping at their heels. Of those three 5-4 squads, it’s the Zombie Steelers who have suddenly gained the inside track for the second wild-card spot over the Raiders and Colts.

Indianapolis is eliminated from this three-team race because they lost to both of the other teams. From there it comes down to conference record with Pittsburgh at 4-2 and Oakland at 3-2. There’s still a long way to go, but Pittsburgh has miraculously worked their way back into the conversation. The Titans at 5-5 are also just a ½ game behind the 5-4 pack.

 

AFTERTHOUGHTS

1) Jacksonville (4-5) | 2) Los Angeles (4-6) | 3) Denver (3-6) | 4) Cleveland (3-6)

5) Miami (2-7) | 6) New York (2-7) | 7) Cincinnati (0-9)

While it’s still too early to mathematically eliminate anyone, it probably won’t be too long before some of the very worst will be forced to yield even their faintest hopes.

For now, everyone remains in play and they fall in line this way. Denver owns a head-to-head tiebreaker over Cleveland. Miami holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over New York, though a rematch will be played later this season.

 

NFC

 

NORTH

1) Green Bay (8-2) | 2) Minnesota (7-3) | 3) Chicago (4-5) | 4) Detroit (3-5-1)

The Packers rebounded from an ugly loss to the Chargers to earn an impressive win over Carolina on snowy Lambeau Field. That was important because the Vikings kept the heat on them by beating Dallas to stay within a game of first place. The Bears downed a hobbled Detroit to pull into third place.

WEST

1) San Francisco (8-1) | 2) Seattle (8-2) | 3) Los Angeles (5-4) | 4) Arizona (3-6-1)

The race in the West is razor-thin now that the Niners have picked up their first loss of the season, and at the hands of their closest divisional competitors to boot. The Seahawks head into their bye week trailing San Francisco by just a ½ game. Meanwhile the reigning champion Rams are 3 games back with seven to play.

EAST

1) Dallas (5-4) | 2) Philadelphia (5-4) | 3) New York (2-8) | 4) Washington (1-8)

The Cowboys’ Week 7 win over the Eagles looms large right now with Dallas and Philly tied for the lead in the West. The two will meet up again before this thing gets settled, but for right now, that win is the difference between hosting a playoff game and hosting a playoff watch party.

SOUTH

1) New Orleans (7-2) | 2) Carolina (5-4) | 3) Tampa Bay (3-6) | 4) Atlanta (2-7)

The Saints laid a massive egg against the Falcons on Sunday, but Carolina’s loss to Green Bay meant they didn’t really lose any ground. New Orleans still leads the South by 2 games over the Panthers with Tampa and Atlanta sitting in the distant rear.

 

DIVISION LEADERS

1) San Francisco (8-1) | 2) Green Bay (8-2) | 3) New Orleans (7-2) | 4) Dallas (5-4)

Even after absorbing their first loss of the season, the Niners still sit atop the NFC, but their lead is narrow. The Packers trail by just a ½ game as they head into their bye week, and the Saints are also just 1 game back. San Francisco has to play both in the coming weeks. If whoever wins the East ends up with the NFC’s top seed, you’ll know absolute chaos ruled the back half of the season.

 

WILD CARD

1) Seattle (8-2) | 2) Minnesota (7-3)

3) Los Angeles (5-4) | 4) Philadelphia (5-4) | 5) Carolina (5-4)

The Seahawks and Vikings have led the wild card race for weeks with each holding at least a 1 ½ game advantage over the rest of the field. That field includes the defending NFC champions. The Rams do lead the “Group of 5 And 4” with the tiebreaker being conference record.

Los Angeles – 3-3, Philadelphia – 3-4, Carolina – 2-4.

 

AFTERTHOUGHTS

1) Chicago (4-5) | 2) Detroit (3-5-1) | 3) Arizona (3-6-1) | 4) Tampa Bay (3-6) |

5) Atlanta (2-7) | 6) New York (2-8) | 7) Washington (1-8)

Like the AFC, no one is officially done in the NFC, but Washington is closing in on that distinction fast. They have the biggest deficit to make up of anyone in the NFL, sitting 5 ½ games out of the chase for the final wild card spot. They actually have a better chance of winning the East, as they trail Dallas and Philadelphia by just 4 games in the divisional race.

 

GAMES TO WATCH: WEEK 11

The matchup with the most seeding intrigue in Week 11 is in Baltimore, where the 7-2 North-leading Ravens play host to the 6-3 South-leading Houston Texans.

The Ravens already hold a win over the Patriots. Getting a victory over Houston would put them in prime position to steal the AFC’s top seed, with tiebreakers over two of the other three division leaders. While they did lose to Kansas City, the Chiefs have fallen back of the pack a bit and trail Baltimore by 2 games in the loss column.

 

Comments ()