clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What Week 9 means for the 2021 NFL playoff picture

The standings at the top of the AFC and the NFC are both especially tight, and they could change again this week.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals will look to erase the bitter taste of losing to the New York Jets last week, a loss that cost them the first seed in the AFC. They’ll be playing the Cleveland Browns, a team also still chasing postseason aspirations, and these AFC North games are always hard to predict. The top seed in the AFC could shift again this week with the Titans scheduled to play the Rams on Sunday night. They’ll be without Derrick Henry, which is a gift to Los Angeles’ fearsome pass rush.

The Raiders and Ravens are both playing non-conference opponents this week, which won’t help them steal away the top spot this week. Nevertheless, they should both cruise to wins in those games, keeping the seeding tight. Speaking of winnable games, the Bills get the Jaguars this week.

Over in the NFC, the top spot could shift thanks to a couple of injuries and an unforced error. The Cardinals could be without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins this week, which could give the Niners a chance to steal one here. The Packers are taking on the Chiefs without Aaron Rodgers who took some unfortunate medical advice from Facebook and is now on the COVID list.

The Dallas Cowboys are getting Dak Prescott back this week, just in time for a winnable game against the Broncos. A win would make the standings atop the NFC neck and neck. A Rams win could put them back on top in the NFC West, if Arizona loses.

AFC playoff picture

1. Tennessee Titans, 6-2
2. Las Vegas Raiders, 5-2
3. Baltimore Ravens, 5-2
4. Buffalo Bills, 5-2

5. Cincinnati Bengals, 5-3
6. Pittsburgh Steelers, 4-3
7. Los Angeles Chargers, 4-3

Outside looking in: Cleveland Browns (4-4), Denver Broncos (4-4), New England Patriots (4-4), Kansas City Chiefs (4-4), Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

Browns (4-4) @ Bengals (5-3)
Broncos (4-4) @ Cowboys (6-1)
Raiders (5-2) @ Giants (2-6)
Patriots (4-4) @ Panthers (4-4)
Bills (5-2) @ Jaguars (1-6)
Vikings (3-4) @ Ravens (5-2)
Chargers (4-3) @ Eagles (3-5)
Packers (7-1) @ Chiefs (4-4)
Titans (6-2) @ Rams (7-1)
Bears (3-5) @ Steelers (4-3)

NFC playoff picture

1. Green Bay Packers, 7-1
2. Arizona Cardinals, 7-1
3. Dallas Cowboys, 6-1
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6-2

5. Los Angeles Rams, 7-1
6. New Orleans Saints, 5-2
7. Carolina Panthers, 4-4

Outside looking in: Minnesota Vikings (3-4), Atlanta Falcons (3-4), San Francisco 49ers (3-4), Philadelphia Eagles (3-5), Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

Broncos (4-4) @ Cowboys (6-1)
Falcons (3-4) @ Saints (5-2)
Patriots (4-4) @ Panthers (4-4)
Vikings (3-4) @ Ravens (5-2)
Chargers (4-3) @ Eagles (3-5)
Packers (7-1) @ Chiefs (4-4)
Cardinals (7-1) @ 49ers (3-4)
Titans (6-2) @ Rams (7-1)
Bears (3-5) @ Steelers (4-3)