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NFL playoff picture: What does Patriots-Falcons TNF mean for AFC, NFC standings

The Patriots face the Falcons in Atlanta on Thursday Night Football. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

A general view of the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

UPDATE: The Patriots thumped the Falcons to improve to 7-4 while Atlanta dropped to 4-6. New England remains in second in the AFC East behind the Bills, and climb percentage points ahead of the Steelers for fifth place in the wild card standings.

The New England Patriots travel south to face the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football to open Week 11. Six weeks ago, both teams were 1-3 and their seasons were in serious question. Now, the Patriots are 6-4 and on a four-game winning streak while the Falcons are 4-5 and tied with three other teams at a half game back of the final NFC wild card berth.

The Patriots are a touchdown road favorite for Thursday Night Football at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Patriots playoff picture

Current AFC standing

The Patriots are 6-4 and sit a half game back of the Bills in the AFC East. They currently hold the second wild card berth, sitting right behind the 5-3-1 Steelers and a half game up on the Chargers, Raiders, and Bengals.

Rest of the AFC playoff field

The big game New England will have an eye on is Colts-Bills. Indianapolis visits Buffalo and while the Bills are a touchdown favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, there’s plenty of room for an upset. The rest of the AFC wild card field is facing off against each other this week in a unique bit of scheduling. The seventh place Los Angeles Chargers host fifth place Pittsburgh and eighth place Las Vegas hosts ninth place Cincinnati. We could see things tighten up further or one or two teams could drop deeper out of the race.

Falcons playoff picture

Current NFC standing

The Falcons are 4-5 and sit in last place in the NFC South. However, they are a mere two games back of the first place Buccaneers in what is turning into a surprisingly tightly contested division. Ahead of Atlanta, the Bucs are 6-3, the Saints are 5-4, and the Panthers are 5-5. This could all change in a hurry.

It’s just as wild in the wild card race. The Falcons are in tenth place and are one of six teams within a game and a half of each other. The three current playoff teams are the 5-4 Saints, 5-5 Panthers, and 4-5 Vikings. The Falcons and 49ers are tied for ninth and then the Eagles are right behind them at 4-6.

Rest of the NFC playoff field

The Bucs, 49ers, and Panthers are favorites against the Giants, Jaguars, and Washington, respectively, at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Saints are a one-point road underdog against the Eagles and the Vikings are a two-point home underdog against the Packers.