There is only one week left in the National Football League regular season, so eyes are all over the 2020 NFL playoff scenarios that will be playing out as December winds down.
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2020 NFL Playoff Bracket: How Does It Look Before Week 17?
As we enter the final week of the season, the NFL playoff picture is finally beginning to cement itself in certain areas. Most of the postseason teams are in place and some of the matchups are set. There is, however, still plenty of seeding and one more Wild Card spot in the AFC to figure out on the last Sunday before we know which teams face off in the playoffs.
Let's use the current standings to preview how the 2020 NFL playoff bracket is filling out prior to the Week 17 NFL schedule kicking off:
AFC Standings Through Week 16
- Baltimore Ravens (13-2)
- New England Patriots (12-3)
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)
- Houston Texans (10-5)
- Buffalo Bills (10-5)
- Tennessee Titans (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)
*Titans win tiebreak based on strength of victory
Wild Card Round: Titans vs. Chiefs, Bills vs. Texans
Divisional Round: Bills-Texans Winner vs. Ravens, Titans-Chiefs winner vs. Patriots
NFC Standings Through Week 16
- San Francisco 49ers (12-3)
- Green Bay Packers (12-3)
- New Orleans Saints (12-3)
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (11-4)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-5)
Wild Card Round: Vikings vs. Saints, Seahawks vs. Eagles
Divisional Round: Seahawks-Eagles winner vs. Niners, Vikings-Saints winner vs. Packers
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AFC Playoff Picture 2020
Following a Week 16 win, the Baltimore Ravens (13-2) now have home-field advantage throughout the postseason. New England (12-3) still holds the No. 2 seed but needs a victory over the Dolphins or a loss from the Chiefs to secure a bye in the AFC playoffs.
Kansas City (11-4) has fainting hope of stealing the second spot, needing a win and an unlikely New England loss to take over. The Chiefs still need a win in Week 17 to lock down the No. 3 spot and host the sixth seed during Wild Card Weekend.
In the final AFC division winner spot, the Texans slot in after taking the AFC South for the fourth time in five years, believe it or not. If the 2020 NFL playoff bracket holds as it looks now, Houston will host the Bills while the Chiefs wait in Kansas City for whichever team lands the final spot.
AFC Wild Card Scenarios
Any drama left in the AFC playoff picture comes directly from the Wild Card race, where it[‘s down to a pair of teams for the last spot. Despite the fact that Tennessee and Pittsburgh both lost, the Titans managed to leapfrog into playoff position because Pittsburgh lost to an AFC team, handing Tennessee a tiebreaker.
In Week 17, all Tennessee needs is a win or a Pittsburgh loss to sneak into the postseason, where it likely visits Kansas City during the Wild Card round. If you recall, the Titans' resurgence began with an unlikely come-from-behind win over the Chiefs several weeks ago.
For Pittsburgh, it needs a win over the Ravens in Week 17 AND a loss from Tennesee, who plays Houston on the road. Because the Texans and Baltimore have their divisions won, both the Titans and Steelers could have easier roads to victory on Sunday, though it only really helps Tennessee if both win.
NFC Playoff Picture 2020
The six teams in the NFC playoff picture are locked in, but the seeding is anything but set.
Green Bay has earned a place in the top three with their first NFC North crown since 2016, which leaves only the NFC West as undecided. With San Francisco, Green Bay, and New Orleans all 12-3, the two byes and home-field advantage throughout the postseason is still completely up for grabs.
The Niners have beaten both Green Bay and the Saints, so that's one tiebreaker down, but San Francisco also has the most difficult game of the three in Week 17 as they draw Seattle on the road. The Packers have the tiebreak over New Orleans due to their win percentage in conference games and get the No. 1 overall seed if the Seahawks manage to steal the NFC West.
NFC West Playoff Scenarios: Win And In For Niners, Seahawks?
The NFC West title and possibly the top overall seed in the conference have come down to one game in the Pacific Northwest on Sunday evening.
It's amazing that despite Seattle's awful Week 16 loss to Arizona, it still can steal the division and a home game in the postseason. After starting 8-0 this season, the Niners are in danger of traveling the opening week of the postseason if they don't come up with one more impressive road win before the schedule runs out.
Although it's obvious at this point that the Niners is a healthier, more well-rounded team than Seattle, don't count the Seahawks out just yet. With a magician at quarterback and home-field advantage on its side, they may come through to steal the NFC West as our NFL predictions stated a few weeks back.
If not, the road to the NFC title runs through San Francisco, which puts teams like New Orleans and Green Bay at a disadvantage.
NFC East Playoff Scenarios: Philadelphia In Control For Week 17
Although our prediction for this game was incorrect, we have some clarity in the NFC West. After a 17-9 win over the Cowboys at home, the Philadelphia Eagles control its own destiny for a division title and the No. 4 seed in the conference.
All the Eagles need to do is beat the lowly Giants on the road and they'll be hosting a playoff game the following week. New York nearly beat the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 14, and now Big Blue has a chance to ruin the season of a rival, albeit to help out another rival.
A Philadelphia playoff berth likely results in a matchup against the NFC West loser, whether it be the 49ers or the Seahawks. The only way Dallas sneaks in is if the Eagles lose to the Giants and the Cowboys defeat Washington in Week 17, although it may be too late for all that.
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NFL Playoff Predictions 2020 | Futures Bets Before Week 17
With just one week left in the regular season, bettors' attention is turning to postseason odds and the markets that await after Week 17. Because most of the 2020 NFL playoff picture is set, we are definitely prepared enough to make futures bets for the upcoming postseason. We know who the favorites are like Baltimore, New Orleans, and New England. These teams have the lowest odds and thus, the lowest value. But what about the next tier of teams?
Using current NFL lines from Sugarhouse, one of the top PA and NJ betting sites in the industry, we are making NFL playoffs predictions for several teams with high-value odds that may be able to reach Super Bowl 54.
- Kansas City Chiefs To Win AFC (+350)
These odds are unchanged from last week, and we still like them. Although it seems unlikely the Chiefs will grab the home-field advantage, they're still worth a look at +350 to win the AFC. As the No. 3 seed, Kansas City gets to avoid Baltimore until the AFC championship game, which would present a hedging opportunity and a chance for automatic profits. Getting to that point means winning in New England, which this Chiefs team has done before.
- Green Bay Packers To Win NFC (+400)
The Packers have wrapped up the NFC North and even have a chance at a first-round bye, which is why odds dropped from +600 last week to +400 now. Home playoff games at Lambeau Field are no joke, and although Green Bay will probably need to win at least once on the road to reach the NFC title game, much less surprising things have happened. If by some break the Packers wind up with the top overall seed (win plus 49ers loss in Week 17), Green Bay will have quietly put itself in striking distance of a Super Bowl.
- Seattle Seahawks to Win NFC (+500)
Between injuries piling up and a bad loss last week, the line on Seattle has jumped all the way to +500 to win the conference. The Seahawks are already in the postseason and get to play at home with the division title on the line. The 49ers, who have already lost to Seattle, are going on the road in Week 17 but are +250 to win the NFC.
Seattle is flawed, but the value speaks for itself. Our recent NFL playoff predictions have chosen Seattle to take the NFC West, and we are going down with that ship. Even with a loss, the Seahawks have that slim chance of catching lightning in the bottle on the road thanks to Russell Wilson and a decent running game that now features Marshawn Lynch once again.