The regular season may be winding down, but the 2020 NFL playoff picture is in its prime!
One would figure that with each passing week things would become clearer yet in reality, many races are tightening up as the schedule dwindles down to the last couple of games. BonusSeeker is here to help make sense of it all as we keep tabs on the postseason, which begins in early January.
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AFC Playoff Picture 2020
At the top, the AFC playoff picture has cleared up as Baltimore (11-2) has earned the inside track to the No. 1 overall seed throughout the postseason.
Behind the Ravens is where things get interesting. Kansas City (9-4) has secured the AFC West and likely no worse than a No. 3 seed, but just won a massive road game at New England (10-3) in Week 14. This means if the Chiefs can gain one more game on the Patriots somehow, Kansas City can steal the No. 2 seed and the second bye.
These new developments have seriously altered Kansas City's odds to win the AFC, which we discussed in our most recent NFL playoff predictions piece. The Chiefs are now +350 after being +550 just a week ago, but the current line still presents some value.
New England is just 2-3 since starting 8-0 but does get Miami and Cincinnati in two of its last three games, with Buffalo being the other. The Chiefs would have to beat the Broncos, Bears, and Chargers, then hope for some help to make this a reality.
Believe it or not, that is far from the only drama in the conference, though.
AFC South Up For Grabs In December
The AFC South may still be the Texans' division to lose, but they're dangerously close to losing that grip. The Titans (8-5) are the hottest team in football with QB Ryan Tannehill under center and are now tied atop the division with two matchups against Houston in the next three weeks.
In Week 15, the Texans (8-5) will travel to Nashville before the Titans come to Houston on the final day of the regular season. It's unclear whether the loser of the AFC South will be able to snag a Wild Card berth, which makes this three-week battle for the division even more crucial.
Tennessee is 4-0 at home and 3-0-1 against the spread at home since Tannehill took over at QB. The Texans also have a poor recent history on the road in December, and we could see this division lead change hands once again unless we see some Deshaun Watson heroics.
Despite Tennessee opening up as favorites at NJ betting sites, Houston still has the lowest odds to win the division. This is probably due to the fact that if the two teams split in Weeks 15 and 17 resulting in matching records, the Texans win the division on a tiebreaker. Taking the tiebreakers into account, we still side with Houston to pull out the AFC South, likely in Week 17.
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NFC Playoff Picture 2020
The NFC playoff picture is crowded and truly confounding once you get into all the possible scenarios that could come into play over the final couple of weeks. Unlike the AFC where most of the elite teams are jockeying for position, so many of the NFC's best are mired in divisional races that will help determine the final standings.
NFL Playoff Predictions For NFC Divisions
With only one division winner decided there's so much more to figure out in this conference before we can make any confident NFL playoff predictions. Three divisions are still up for grabs including the NFC East, NFC North, and NFC West, so we are going to break down how each one looks currently.
The Niners (11-2) won in Week 14 while Seattle (10-3) lost, so San Francisco once again has sole possession of first place in the NFC West. What is also easily noticeable when looking at the NFC championship odds is the fact that the Niners have also leapfrogged New Orleans (11-2) into the top spot with +175 odds to win the conference.
But before you make any Super Bowl predictions on the 49ers, this team needs to lock up the division first. The Seahawks may not be as complete as the Niners are, but both teams could still wind up with the same record if Seattle wins out. Keep in mind that the Seahawks defeated the Niners in Week 9 and could sweep the season series in theory.
A win for the Seahawks against San Francisco at home in Week 17 could steal the division (and a bye) from a team that began the season 8-0 and is considered one of the best all-around groups in the league.
Give Seattle a puncher's chance and avoid taking the Niners unless it's for the NFC title or the Super Bowl, given there's no value left in the division odds.
Green Bay (10-3) has put itself in an excellent position to capture the NFC North in coach Matt LaFleur's first season. For the most part, the Packers have beaten the teams they're supposed to, including winning all its divisional games to this point.
Minnesota (9-4) is close behind, though, and gets a chance to defend its undefeated home record in Week 16 when Green Bay comes to town. The Vikings' only chance to steal the division is by running the table, although it looked primed to secure a playoff position.
Even if Minnesota does pick up a home win in Week 16, odds are likely that it won't be enough without some help. Both teams closing the season at 12-4 would result in a Green Bay division title due to the tiebreaker, which means the basement of the NFC North would have to pull an upset. At this point, trust Green Bay to close out the division title.
The Cowboys (6-7) and Eagles (6-7) have played like a couple of teams that don't even want the NFC east title or the home playoff game that comes with it. Still, these two are on a collision course that will come to a head in Week 16 when Philadelphia hosts Dallas, with the winner likely taking the division.
If one of these teams were to win out it means beating the other, which would equal a berth in the postseason. There is a possibility that the head-to-head loser wins the division, but only if it wins the other two games and the other team comes away with two losses. Neither of these teams can be trusted and the Eagles do get Dallas at home, but we aren't believing in Philadelphia just yet.
Dallas is the most talented team in this division, and the Eagles' home-field advantage doesn't mean much when the 2-10 Giants walked into town and led for basically the entire game. It's basically a toss-up, so let's go with the Cowboys at -118 to win on the road and sneak in, assuming it can handle the Rams in Week 15, which can't actually be assumed.
NFL Playoff Bracket 2020: How The Standings Look Ahead Of Week 15
Based on everything we've just discussed, the current standings are likely to change and if you've ever messed around with the NFL playoff machine, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Still, the first 14 weeks of games and the standings they've produced are all we have to go on at this point. Let's get a look at how the NFL playoff bracket would look if things stuck the way they are now:
AFC Standings Through Week 14
- Baltimore Ravens
- New England Patriots
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Houston Texans
- Buffalo Bills
- Pittsburgh Steelers
Wild Card Round: Steelers vs. Chiefs, Bills vs. Texans
Divisional Round: Bills-Texans Winner vs. Ravens, Steelers-Chiefs winner vs. Patriots
NFC Standings Through Week 14
- San Francisco 49ers
- Green Bay Packers
- New Orleans Saints
- Dallas Cowboys
- Seattle Seahawks
- Minnesota Vikings
Wild Card Round: Vikings vs. Saints, Seahawks vs. Cowboys
Divisional Round: Seahawks-Cowboys winner vs. 49ers, Vikings-Saints winner vs. Packers
Looking for more advice on how to bet on football? Visit our NFL playoffs betting guide for everything you need to know about wagering on the postseason!