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What Week 14 means for the 2021 NFL playoff picture

With the regular season winding down, the playoff race is tightening. Here’s a look at how this week’s game could shape the postseason race.

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The NFL season is nearing the end. There are only five weeks left to play, including this week, and the playoff race continues to take shape. Here’s a look at how this week’s results could shape the postseason standings.

The Patriots, on a bye this week, will hang onto to the top seed in the AFC no matter what happens, but the Titans can keep it close with a win over the Jaguars. With an even record, the Patriots have an edge in the tiebreaker because of their 7-1 conference record. The Ravens can join the circle of nine-win teams too with a win over the Browns. However, a loss and a Bengals win over the 49ers, would put Cincinnati on top of the AFC North.

The Chiefs need to beat the Raiders in order to keep the Chargers, who are favored to beat the Giants this week, at bay in the AFC West standings. If Kansas City loses and Los Angeles wins, it would move the Chargers into first place in the division, for now. The Bills have a tough game against the Buccaneers this week. A win would give them a little breathing room for one of the wild card spots with the Colts on a bye. No AFC team can clinch this week.

Over in the NFC the big game on Sunday is an NFC East showdown between Dallas and Washington. While Dallas would stay on top of the division standings if they lose, a Washington win would further tighten things, setting up a big game when these two teams meet again in Week 16.

The Arizona Cardinals can clinch a playoff spot with a win this week. They’ll have to beat the Rams on Monday night to do that, so it’s not guaranteed. If the Rams win that game, they’ll stay in the fifth seed, but it would put them back into the NFC West title chase. If the Cardinals lose that one, it could also put the Packers in the top spot in the conference standings, assuming they beat the Bears, which should be obvious.

AFC playoff picture

1. New England Patriots, 9-4
2. Tennessee Titans, 8-4
3. Baltimore Ravens, 8-4
4. Kansas City Chiefs, 8-4

5. Los Angeles Chargers, 7-5
6. Cincinnati Bengals, 7-5
7. Buffalo Bills, 7-5

Outside looking in: Indianapolis Colts (7-6), Las Vegas Raiders (6-6), Pittsburgh Steelers, (6-6-1), Cleveland Browns (6-6), Denver Broncos (6-6)

Week 14 schedule

Ravens (8-4) @ Browns (6-6)
Jaguars (2-10) @ Titans (8-4)
Raiders (6-6) @ Chiefs (8-4)
Lions (1-10-1) @ Broncos (6-6)
Giants (4-8) @ Chargers (7-5)
49ers (6-6) @ Bengals (7-5)
Bills (7-5) @ Buccaneers (9-3)

NFC playoff picture

1. Arizona Cardinals, 10-2
2. Green Bay Packers, 9-3
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 9-3
4. Dallas Cowboys, 8-4

5. Los Angeles Rams, 8-4
6. Washington Football Team, 6-6
7. San Francisco 49ers, 6-6

Outside looking in: Minnesota Vikings (6-7), Philadelphia Eagles (6-7), Carolina Panthers (5-7), Atlanta Falcons (5-7)

Week 14 schedule

Cowboys (8-4) @ Washington (6-6)
Falcons (5-7) @ Panthers (5-7)
49ers (6-6) @ Bengals (7-5)
Bills (7-5) @ Buccaneers (9-3)
Bears (4-8) @ Packers (9-3)
Rams (8-4) @ Cardinals (10-2)