NFL Week 15 has come and gone, with a number of surprises occurring on both Sunday and Monday. The former showed us the high-powered Rams come up short against the previously winless Jets by a score of 23-20, while Monday portrayed the Steelers’ third consecutive loss, this time at the hands of the struggling Bengals.
And with tight playoff races taking place all throughout the league, these surprises and edge-of-our-seat moments alter the postseason standings each and every week.
Heading into Week 16, let’s take a look at the updated NFL Playoff picture as well as the odds for numerous teams to make or miss the annual tournament, brought to you by DraftKings Sportsbook.
AFC Playoff Picture/Odds
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||13-1|
|Tennessee Titans (10-4)||-10000||+1700|
|Cleveland Browns (10-4)||-1250||+725|
|Indianapolis Colts (10-4)||-1250||+725|
|Miami Dolphins (9-5)||+220||-278|
|Baltimore Ravens (9-5)||N/A||N/A|
|Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)||N/A||N/A|
The Titans could be eliminated from playoff contention if they were to lose the final two games of the season, but according to DraftKings Sportsbook, the oddsmakers don’t believe a situation such as that is going to occur. Tennessee carries the highest odds to make the playoffs on the AFC list at -10000 and should be able to beat the issue-filled Texans in the final week of the regular season.
The Browns and Colts, both of whom are red hot, are also likely to make the playoffs at -1250, and there’s a chance either could actually win their respective divisions. Both teams have won five of their last six games, with Indy emerging victorious in each of the last three. Due to a Week 15 win over the Giants paired with a Steelers loss to Cincinnati, the Browns sit just a game back of the AFC North lead with two games remaining, the last of which will be against the Steelers (the potential Week 17 primetime game and AFC North championship).
The Dolphins (+220 to make, -278 to miss) have two tough games remaining, participating in matchups with the Raiders and Bills. Baltimore (right behind them) faces the Giants and Bengals, two inferior opponents.
NFC Playoff Picture/Odds
|1||Green Bay Packers||11-3|
|2||New Orleans Saints||10-4|
|4||Washington Football Team||6-8|
|5||Los Angeles Rams||9-5|
|6||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9-5|
|Los Angeles Rams (9-5)||-10000||+1700|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5)||-10000||+1700|
|Arizona Cardinals (8-6)||-250||+200|
|Chicago Bears (7-7)||+200||-250|
|Minnesota Vikings (6-8)||+1700||-10000|
The Rams and Buccaneers own the same odds to either make (-10000) or miss (+1700) this year’s playoffs. Despite the Rams losing to the Jets this past Sunday, Los Angeles needs to win just one more game in order to reach January football, but it has two tough divisional matchups remaining on its schedule against the Seahawks and Cardinals.
The Buccaneers are very likely to make the postseason, but if they lose their final two games (against the Lions and Falcons) and the Bears win their final two games (against the Jaguars and Packers), Chicago would surpass them due to its head-to-head win over the Tom Brady-led squad earlier this season.
The Cardinals are also favored to reach the postseason, but their odds aren’t as high, sitting at -250. At 8-6, they need to have the Bears (7-7) and Vikings (6-8) not catch up to them, so they must undergo a strong finish with wins over the 49ers and Rams — two beatable opponents.
I’m not a fan of the Bears’ chances, but they have been playing well in recent weeks, winning back-to-back games over the Texans and Vikings. They don’t possess as long of a shot to reach the postseason as the Vikings though, who are at +1700 to accomplish that feat. Minnesota needs to win its last two matchups against the Saints and Lions while hoping for two losses from Arizona and at least one from Chicago. It’s an unlikely scenario, but it is indeed 2020 — anything is possible.