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With only two weeks left in the 2021 NFL regular season, the playoff field is beginning to quickly fill up.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only AFC to punch their ticket to the postseason, clinching a sixth straight AFC West title. In the NFC, though, only two spots are still up for grabs and the NFC West is the only division yet to be decided.
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-4); clinched AFC West
- Tennessee Titans (10-5)
- Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
- Buffalo Bills (9-6)
- Indianapolis Colts (9-6)
- New England Patriots (9-6)
- Miami Dolphins (8-7)
- Baltimore Ravens (8-7)
- Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)
- Las Vegas Raiders (8-7)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1)
- Cleveland Browns (7-8)
- Denver Broncos (7-8)
- New York Jets (4-11); eliminated
- Houston Texans (4-11); eliminated
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13); eliminated
- Green Bay Packers (12-3); clinched NFC North
- Dallas Cowboys (11-4); clinched NFC East
- Los Angeles Rams (11-4); clinched playoff spot
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4); clinched NFC South
- Arizona Cardinals (10-5); clinched playoff spot
- San Francisco 49ers (8-7)
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)
- Minnesota Vikings (7-8)
- Atlanta Falcons (7-8)
- New Orleans Saints (7-8)
- Washington Football Team (6-9)
- Carolina Panthers (5-10); eliminated
- Chicago Bears (5-10); eliminated
- Seattle Seahawks (5-10); eliminated
- New York Giants (4-11); eliminated
- Detroit Lions (2-12-1); eliminated
Projected Wild Card Round Matchups
No. 7 Baltimore Ravens at No. 2 Tennessee Titans
No. 6 New England Patriots at No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals
No. 5 Indianapolis Colts vs. No. 4 Buffalo Bills
No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2 Dallas Cowboys
No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 Los Angeles Rams
No. 5 Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Looking ahead to Week 17, Sunday could be a big litmus test for the Arizona Cardinals.
Following their 10-2 start, the Cardinals have dropped three straight games. For fans, it could be a case of history repeating itself after Arizona was 5-2 heading into its bye in 2020 before finishing at 8-8.
Qualifying for the playoffs doesn’t feel as momentum when a team is playing as badly as the Cardinals are right now.
A road win over the Dallas Cowboys could alleviate a lot of anxiety the fanbase is experiencing right now. Conversely, a defeat will only add to the concern.
Fans of the Baltimore Ravens are in a similar position, albeit without the safety of knowing their team is through to Wild Card Weekend regardless of what happens over the next two weeks.
The Ravens have dropped four in a row and at 8-7 sit a full game back of the Cincinnati Bengals while having lost the head-to-head tiebreaker. Baltimore watched Sunday as Joe Burrow shredded its secondary to the tune of 525 yards and four touchdowns.
Joe Burrow loves playing the Ravens 🤯 pic.twitter.com/oLPCwyoFAj
Head coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about Lamar Jackson’s status for practice this week, which isn’t an encouraging sign for the 2019 MVP. Even if he plays, Jackson can only do so much to cover for a depleted defense.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Baltimore as a 3.5-point underdog at home to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 17. A loss Sunday and the Ravens could be in a very precarious position in the AFC wild-card race. Should they pull out the victory with a healthy Jackson under center, the perception around Harbaugh’s squad could shift dramatically.
Neither the Washington Football Team nor the Denver Broncos has been mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but both face an uphill climb from here. If nothing else, they have a prime opportunity in Week 17 to play the role of spoiler.
The Broncos play the Los Angeles Chargers, who are probably still reeling from a 41-29 upset at the hands the Houston Texans. Washington hosts the seventh-place Philadelphia Eagles.
Falling to 8-8 would deal a significant blow to the Chargers, while an eighth loss for the Eagles would leave the final wild-card spot in the NFC wide open.
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