The 2021 NFL season is in double-digit weeks and has passed the midpoint of its new 17-game schedule. That makes for another good time to check out the updated standings and what the playoff picture looks like after the action of Week 11 and getting into the action on Sunday of Week 12.
The league maintained its expanded playoff field, with 14 of its 32 teams (43.8 percent) set to qualify for the final postseason. That includes 7 each from the AFC and NFC, and only the No. 1 seeds got free passes in addition to home advantage.
Who would he be, who is still in dispute, and who should he be thinking about next season? Here’s a full look:
NFL POWER RATINGS:
Cardinals back to No. 1; Chiefs and Patriots rise as Cowboys and Bills fall in Week 12
NFL Standings for Week 11
Image of the AFC playoffs
Who would be inside?
1. Tennessee Titans (8-3), first place, AFC South. The Titans stumbled through a shocking home loss to the Texans to cool off from strong seeded control. They still hold him with a game and an additional win in hand over the Ravens, but he gets a lot more precarious with the red-hot Patriots next. The Titans have key wins over the Chiefs and Bills. Remaining schedule strength: .411
2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3), first place, AFC North. The Ravens recovered without Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown to survive in Chicago and maintain the leadership in the division. They also put more pressure on the losing Titans and stayed ahead of the winning Patriots. Remaining schedule strength: .603
3. Buffalo Bills (7-4), first place, AFC East. The Bills fell hard to the Colts at home in Week 11 of August when it looked like they were back on track with their offense, thanks to the running defense that disappointed them in a big way. The loss gave the Patriots first place before the teams met in two weeks, but the win over the Saints to open Week 12 allowed the Bills to rise again based on a perfect and best record in the game. division. Remaining schedule strength: .507
4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), first place, AFC West. The Chiefs are staying here after their winning Cowboys result because they lost to both the Titans and the Ravens and the Patriots also hold the top record in the conference. A win was huge to stay ahead of the Chargers. Remaining schedule strength: .549
5. New England Patriots (7-4), second place, AFC East. The Patriots jumped out of wild-card status after ripping the Falcons to open Week 11 and then seeing the Bills get mad at the Colts on Sunday, but backtracked with even records coming out on Thursday. The Patriots have a key game against the Titans before facing the Bills and those same Colts on the road after a 14 week bye. They are 5-1 in the AFC game, losing only to the Dolphins, but need a win on Sunday. Remaining schedule strength: .508
6. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4), third place, AFC North. The Bengals had a great break with the rest of their division at 0-2-1 and continued to outperform the Raiders comfortably in Week 11. The Bengals are ahead of the Steelers, who they beat before, and also jumped to the Bills and Chargers, whom they host in Week 13, due to conference playoffs. Remaining schedule strength: .576
7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-4), second place, AFC West. The Chargers outlasted the Steelers to stay in the playoff position and a half game behind the Chiefs in the division. Justin Herbert gives them a chance each week and Brandon Staley remains on his way to coach of the year. Remaining schedule strength: .472
Who can get there?
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)
9. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
10. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
11. Cleveland Browns (6-5)
12. Denver Broncos (5-5)
The Steelers fell here after losing to the Chargers on Sunday night. The Colts got a big win to put pressure on them and stay ahead of the Browns. The Bengals beat the Raiders in Week 11, which helped create more separation in the confusing environment. The Broncos have the classification against them.
Who is ready to go?
13. Miami Dolphins (4-7)
14. Houston Texans (2-8)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8)
16. New York Jets (2-8)
The Texans tied the Jaguars and Jets after beating the Titans. The Dolphins helped out there by beating the Jets.
NFL SELECTIONS WEEK 12: Direct | Against the spread
NFC playoffs image
Who would be inside?
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2), first place, NFC West. The Cardinals did their best to pull off an impressive road win in Seattle once again without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. They already jumped here again after the Packers lost to the Vikings in the early week 11 Sunday window. Remaining schedule strength: .430
2. Green Bay Packers (8-3), first place, NFC North. The Packers couldn’t win the back-and-forth thriller with the Vikings. That loss hurt them the most in the NFC first-place race between them, the Cardinals, Cowboys and Buccaneers, given their divisional lead is still three games. Remaining schedule strength: .468
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3), first place, NFC South. The Buccaneers used Monday night’s win over the Giants to get closer to the top seed with the Packers and Cowboys losing and also increased the division’s lead over the losing Saints, Panthers and Falcons. Tampa Bay desperately needed victory after losing two straight games around a break with Tom Brady having rare interception problems. Remaining schedule strength: .452
3. Dallas Cowboys (7-4), first place, NFC East. The Cowboys could not stay ahead of the Packers by losing heavily to the AFC Chiefs on the road in Week 11. They fell to No. 4 after the Buccaneers, who defeated them in Week 1, won Monday by the night. The Cowboys don’t need to worry about falling into the wild cards, because the division is a foregone conclusion with everyone else in the East still under .500. The loss to the Raiders to open Week 12 kept them here. Remaining schedule strength: .484
5. Los Angeles Rams (7-3), second place, NFC West. The Rams had a hiatus in Week 11, so you should like how several of the teams around them lost to gain some ground even when they were inactive, with the exception of the Cardinals, the team they still chase in the division and they are two games behind. The Rams need to get back on track in Week 12 after recent bad losses to the Titans and 49ers. Remaining schedule strength: .542
6. Minnesota Vikings (5-5), second place, NFC North. The Vikings have fared better in close games and the last-second win over the Packers was huge to bring them squarely into the center of the playoff picture. They have been dangerous all season due to their balanced and explosive offense and Mike Zimmer is getting a more timely game from the shaky defense. Remaining schedule strength: .459
7. San Francisco 49ers (5-5), third place, NFC West. The 49ers, who play the Vikings with a chance to jump a key spot Sunday, came here when the Saints fell below .50 when they lost to the Bills on Thursday night. They got a key early win over the Eagles that may pay off later in the playoffs. Remaining schedule strength: .479
Who can get there?
8. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
9. Carolina Panthers (5-6)
10. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
11. Washington soccer team (4-6)
12. Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
13. Chicago Bears (4-7)
14. New York Giants (3 to 7)
15. Seattle Seahawks (3-7)
The Saints are in trouble with their losing streak and also lost to the Eagles and Panthers. The Eagles, who lost to the 49ers, should also think about the wild card after their recent hot streak. The Panthers’ home loss to Washington was costly, as it also tightened things up behind them. The Giants failed in a game they were supposed to win Monday night. The Bears are still nearing completion, and the Seahawks’ streak of winning seasons with Russell Wilson is abruptly stopped.
Who is ready to go?
16. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)
The Lions lost again frustratingly in Week 11 after getting a post-halftime tie in Week 10. That only grew with their last close teenage loss to the Bears at home on Thanksgiving.