The 2021 NFL season is into double-digit weeks and closer to the end of its new 17-game schedule. It’s time again to check in on the updated standings and what the playoff picture is looking like for Week 14.
The league kept its expanded playoff field, with 14 of its 32 teams (43.8 percent) set to qualify for the latest postseason. That includes 7 each from the AFC and NFC, with only the No. 1 seeds getting byes on top of home-field advantage.
Who would be in, who’s still in contention, and who should be thinking about next season? Here’s a comprehensive look:
NFL POWER RANKINGS:
Chiefs, Steelers, Dolphins climb; 49ers, Ravens, Vikings fade for Week 14
NFL standings for Week 14
AFC playoff picture
Who would be in?
1. New England Patriots (9-4), first place, AFC East. The Patriots already went into Monday night’s closing Week 13 game at the Bills with the top seed in hand after the Ravens lost, but with the win, there is no tiebreaker situation with them up a half-game outright. The Patriots also are supported by a dazzling record in AFC play (7-1) heading into a welcome late bye. Remaining schedule: at IND, vs. BUF, vs. JAX, at MIA
2. Tennessee Titans (8-4), first place, AFC South. The Titans also moved during their Week 13 bye because of the Ravens losing to the Steelers because they have the next-best conference-game record at 5-3 while the Ravens fell to 5-4. They saw the division tighten a little with the Colts winning but keep in mind they already swept that team. Remaining schedule: vs. JAX, at PIT, vs. SF, vs. MIA, at HOU
3. Baltimore Ravens (8-4), first place, AFC North. The Ravens slid out of the No. 1 spot but still hold the division lead as the Bengals lost and the Browns were idle. The Steelers needed the Week 13 game stay alive but Baltimore needs to rebound quickly with three division games and two other tough ones left. Remaining schedule: at CLE, vs. GB, at CIN, vs. LAR, vs. PIT
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4), first place, AFC West. The Chiefs came out of Week 13’s Sunday night home game vs. the Broncos with a bad conference record of 3-4, with losses to the Titans, Ravens, Bills and Chargers. The Chiefs won to stay ahead of the winning Chargers in the division, with the Raiders and Chargers on the docket again next. Remaining schedule: vs. LV, at LAC, vs. PIT, at CIN, at DEN
5. Los Angeles Chargers (7-5), second place, AFC West. The Chargers jumped up a spot by taking care of the Bengals, the team that used to be ahead of them, on the road in Cincinnati. They look like stronger wild-card contenders with Justin Herbert and Brandon Staley with some key AFC wins. They also put more division pressure on the Chiefs, whom they beat earlier and play again in two weeks. Remaining schedule: vs. NYG, vs. KC, at HOU, vs. DEN, at LV
6. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5), second place, AFC North. The Bengals cooled off after their big post-bye wins over the Raiders and Steelers as they got sloppy with Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon and the offense making too many mistakes against a hungry Chargers defense. There’s nothing easy left to try to secure a wild card, but the Broncos game in Week 15 can help them a ton. Remaining schedule: vs. SF, at DEN, vs. BAL, vs. KC, at CLE
7. Buffalo Bills (7-5), second place, AFC East. The Bills had a chance to take the East lead on Monday night at home but lost to the Patriots, keeping New England at No. 1 but dropping Buffalo two spots in the wild-card race because of a weaker conference record (5-5) than the Chargers and Bengals. The Bills don’t get a short-week break at all having to travel to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Remaining schedule: at TB, vs. CAR, at NE, vs. ATL, NYJ.
Who can get there?
9. Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1)
11. Las Vegas Raiders (6-6)
11. Cleveland Browns (6-6)
12. Denver Broncos (6-6)
The Steelers got a key win over the Ravens to jump into the top spot of the “out” teams in the AFC. The Colts stayed ahead of the losing Raiders and Broncos and idle Browns by ripping the Texans. The Broncos tumbled among the .500 teams because they lost to the Raiders and Browns earlier in the season.
Who’s set to be out?
13. Miami Dolphins (6-7)
14. New York Jets (3-9)
15. Houston Texans (2-10)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
The Dolphins extended their winning streak to five consecutive games after a 1-7 start in a climb toward respectability, but it’s too little, too late for a playoff push. The Jets separated themselves from the bottom two with a win over the Texans and they still also play the Jaguars.
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NFC playoff picture
Who would be in?
1. Arizona Cardinals (10-2), first place, NFC West. The Cardinals smashed the Bears coming out of the bye with Kyler Murray leading the offense to familiar big things running and passing. Their defense also threw down again with the pass rush and takeaways to keep Chicago down. The Cardinals are set to have a two-game lead going into a key rematch with the Rams at home. Remaining schedule: vs. LAR, at DET, vs. IND, at DAL, vs. SEA
2. Green Bay Packers (9-3), first place, NFC North. The Packers took care of business against the Rams in Week 12 to move within a half-game of the idle Cardinals, whom they beat, for the top seed. In the process, they also helped the Cardinals grow a bigger lead in their division. Now they can rest up during the Week 13 bye knowing the Cardinals’ lead over them is still only one game. They stayed ahead of the winning Buccaneers because of a superior record in NFC play, Remaining schedule: vs. CHI, at BAL, vs. CLE, vs. MIN, at DET
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3), first place, NFC South. The Buccaneers pulled even with the Packers and also stayed within a game of the Cardinals after having little trouble taking care of the Falcons on the road. Tom Brady is getting locked and loaded at the right time before the playoffs again. Remaining schedule: vs. BUF, vs. NO, at CAR, at NYJ, vs. CAR
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-4), first place, NFC East. The Cowboys will stay here a game behind the Buccaneers, to whom they lost in Week 1 after they beat the Saints to open up Week 13 on Thursday night. They stll have work to do to win the division with red-hot Washington and rebounding Philadelphia lurking behind the team. Remaining schedule: at WAS, at NYG, vs. WAS, vs. ARI, at PHI
5. Los Angeles Rams (8-4), second place, NFC West. The Rams went into Week 13 on a three-game losing streak and had disappointing recent results with more of struggling Matthew Stafford. They stay two full games behind the Cardinals with a win over the Jaguars at home before getting a another shot at the Cardinals, to whom they lost at home. The Rams also fell to the team right behind them in the division, the 49ers, but now have a two-game lead there. Remaining schedule: at ARI, vs. SEA, at MIN, at BAL, vs. SF
6. Washington Football Team (6-6), second place, NFC East. Washington won a tough road game against AFC wild-card hopeful Las Vegas and jumped both San Francisco and Philadelphia in the course of an afternoon. They are sizzling with a four-game winning streak under Ron Rivera and Taylor Heinicke. They have fixed some defensive problems and are flashing enough offense. Somehow, the quirk of the slate gives them all division games left. Remaining schedule: DAL, at PHI, at DAL, vs. PHI, at NYG
7. San Francisco 49ers (6-6), third place, NFC West. The 49ers got upset by the Seahawks to coll off and drop back to .500, but they still stay in playoff position with an even overall record to Washington but a much worse conference record. They could afford the stumble with everyone except the Eagles, Seahawks, Lions losing behind them. Remaining schedule: at CIN, vs. ATL, at TEN, vs. HOU, at LAR
Who can get there?
8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
9. Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
10. Carolina Panthers (5-7)
11. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)
12. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
13. New York Giants (4-8)
14. Chicago Bears (4-8)
15. Seattle Seahawks (4-8)
The Eagles, who have a bye in Week 14, stayed ahead of this crowd with a win over Jets, staying right behind Washington and losing San Francisco, to whom the team lost earlier in the season. Otherwise here’s a mess with the fading Vikings (again) and the uninspiring NFC South three-team jumble.
Who’s set to be out?
16. Detroit Lions (1-10-1)
The Lions got their first win in dramatic fashion after being close against the Steelers, Browns and Bears. They played major spoiler to the Vikings and can do that to a few more teams.