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How the NFL playoff picture looks coming out of Week 5

The NFL is wrapping up Week 5, and a few teams are standing out in the playoff picture heading into Week 6.

Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after kicking the game winning field goal during overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The NFL is only just now getting through the first quarter of the season, but it’s never too early to start talking about the playoff picture. A lot is going to change. Multiple teams currently in the thick of the playoff race will drop out, and someone struggling is going to catch fire and surprise us coming December.

That being said, as we work our way through Week 5, it’s worth seeing who is off to a good start and who is struggling. We’re starting to get some huge matchups with significant playoff implications. The week opened with a huge Thursday Night Football matchup featuring the Seahawks hosting the Rams. The NFC West is looking like the best division in football, although the game brought huge repercussions. The Rams won but more importantly, the Seahawks lost Russell Wilson to a finger injury that could cost him up to two months of playing time.

On Sunday, the highlight in the 1 p.m. slate was Packers-Bengals, and it lived up to whatever hype there might have been. The two teams struggled on game-winning field goal attempts, but Mason Crosby finally got Green Bay a big overtime road win.

The evening will close with the Bills and Chiefs facing off on Sunday Night Football. One of the two teams will secure a key tiebreaker and there’s a good chance these two teams are facing off sometime in January.

4:05/4:25 p.m. update: The Cardinals remain undefeated, holding off the 49ers. The Cowboys beat the Giants to maintain their second position in the conference. In the AFC, the Chargers won a shootout over the Browns in a potential playoff preview and remain the top seed five weeks into the season.

SNF update: The Bills impressed in primetime, beating the Chiefs 38-20.

MNF update: The Ravens overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Colts 31-25 in overtime.

Here’s a look at what the playoff picture looks like following the close of Week 5 with Monday Night Football.


1. Los Angeles Chargers, 4-1
2. Baltimore Ravens, 4-1
3. Buffalo Bills, 4-1
4. Tennessee Titans, 3-2

5. Cincinnati Bengals, 3-2
6. Las Vegas Raiders, 3-2
7. Denver Broncos, 3-2

Outside looking in: Cleveland Browns (3-2), Kansas City Chiefs (2-3), New England Patriots (2-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)


1. Arizona Cardinals, 5-0
2. Dallas Cowboys, 4-1
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-1
4. Green Bay Packers, 4-1

5. Los Angeles Rams, 4-1
6. Chicago Bears, 3-2
7. Carolina Panthers, 3-2

Outside looking in: New Orleans Saints (3-2), Washington Football Team (2-3), Minnesota Vikings (2-3), Philadelphia Eagles (2-3), Seattle Seahawks (2-3), San Francisco 49ers (2-3), Atlanta Falcons (2-3)