Jump to content

NFL 2021 Playoff Picture: Here are the 14 projected playoff teams with Eagles and Colts sneaking in


Recommended Posts

NFL 2021 Playoff Picture: Here are the 14 projected playoff teams with Eagles and Colts sneaking in

Here are the 14 teams we are projecting to make the playoffs, plus every team's chances of getting in

John Breech

With just four weeks left to play in the season, you'd think that the NFL playoff picture would be clearing up at this point, but instead, it's somehow gotten more confusing. 

Heading into Week 15, all 14 playoff berths are still up for grabs, which marks just the third time since 1978 that we haven't seen a single team clinch a playoff berth through 14 weeks. 

In the AFC, not only are there three teams tied at 9-4 who are all battling for the top seed, but the wild card race is even crazier with five teams sitting at 7-6, including the current sixth and seventh seeds (Colts and Bills). 

In the NFC, we have the same situation, there are three teams battling for the top seed who all currently have the same record while there are also five teams sitting at 6-7, including the team that currently holds the seventh-seed (Washington).

To help you make sense of all the chaos, we're going to project the 14 teams that are going to make the playoffs. The projections are based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Oh plugged some numbers into his SportsLine computer and simulated the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, not only were we able to figure out the playoff chances for every team, but we're also going to project the entire playoff field. 

With that in mind, let's get to this week's playoff projections. Actually, before we do that, here's a mock draft that Texans, Jets, Lions and Jaguars fans might want to read. Those four teams have officially been eliminated and if you're a fan of one of those four teams, a mock draft will probably be much more exciting to read than this projection. 

As for everyone else, let's get to the projection. 

Note: Remember, this is a projection based on how we think the rest of the regular season will play out. If you want to see the current playoff standings, be sure to click here. For a breakdown of the current playoff picture, be sure to click here. SportsLine simulates every game leading up to the playoffs 10,000 times, and you can see the model's picks both straight up and against the spread here.

AFC Playoff Projection

1. AFC East Champion
team logo
It's the Super Bowl everyone wants and now, the computer is willing it into existence. For the first time all year, the computer is projecting a Buccaneers-Patriots Super Bowl. The Patriots currently have a 29.54% chance of winning the AFC, which is the highest in the conference by far. The next closest team is the Chiefs, who are being given a 21.77% chance.  
2. AFC West Champion
team logo
The computer isn't quite ready to hand the AFC West over to the Chiefs, but it's getting close. According to SportsLine, the Chiefs have a 63.9% chance of winning the division, which is almost double the Chargers chances (34.8%). That should tell you everything you need to know about who the computer is picking their Thursday night showdown. 
3. AFC West Champion
team logo
Even without Derek Henry, the computer feels that the Titans are a lock to win the AFC South crown and that's mostly because they only need two more wins to clinch the title. The Titans have a 96.1% chance of winning the division and they could clinch it as as soon as this weekend if the Colts lose (to the Patriots) and they beat the Steelers.  
4. AFC North Champion
team logo
Despite losing for the second straight week, the Ravens are STILL viewed as the favorite to win the AFC North and it's not even really that close. According to SportsLine, the Ravens have a 45.2% chance of winning the division, which is 20% more than the next closest team. The Bengals (24%), Browns (21.3%) and Steelers (9.5%) all have a shot at winning it, but the computer doesn't like their chances.   
5. Wild Card 1
team logo
As the only wild card contender with eight wins, the computer loves the Chargers chances of making the playoffs. Heading into Week 15, the Chargers have an 85% chance of getting in, which means they're likely headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2018 as long as they don't Charger things up over the final four weeks. 
6. Wild Card 2
team logo
The Bills might be on a two-game losing streak, but the computer isn't really holding it against them and that's because they've lost to two good teams (Patriots, Buccaneers). Despite those losses, the Bills are being given a 70.7% chance of making the playoffs, which is actually higher than the Ravens number right now (67.2%), which either tells you the computer loves the Bills or just isn't so sure about the AFC North. 
7. Wild Card 3
team logo
The computer thinks the race for the final playoff spot in the AFC is down to three teams: the Colts, Bengals and Browns. Unfortunately for the Ohio teams, the computer doesn't think it's going to be much of a race. According to SportsLine, the Colts have a 66.4% chance of making the playoffs while the Bengals are sitting at just 36.5% with the Browns trailing right behind them (31.3%).

Here's a list of the playoff chances for all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Bengals (36.5%), Browns (31.3%), Broncos (19.8%), Steelers (18.6%), Raiders (7.1%),  Dolphins (2.9%), Jaguars (ELIMINATED), Jets (ELIMINATED), Texans (ELIMINATED). 

NFC Playoff Projection

1. NFC South Champion
team logo
The Buccaneers finished the 2020 season on top of the NFL and now, the computer has them back on top in 2021. According to SportsLine, the Buccaneers are now the overall favorite to win the Super Bowl this year. Tampa Bay has a 15.15% chance of winning it all. The next four closest teams are the Patriots (14.53%), Cardinals (12.26%), Chiefs (12.17%) and Packers (10.98%).  
2. NFC North Champion
team logo
Although the computer is projecting the Packers to earn the second seed in the NFC, it still seems to like the Cardinals slightly better. The Packers have a 21.25% chance of being the Super Bowl team out of the NFC, which is a hair lower than Arizona's (21.97%).
3. NFC West Champion
team logo
Although the Cardinals are no longer being projected to earn the top seed in the NFC, they are still being projected to handily win the NFC West. Despite the loss to the Rams, the Cards are still being given an 81.5% chance of winning the division, which is more than four times higher than the chances being given to L.A. (18.4%).  
4. NFC East Champion
team logo
Thanks to their win over Washington on Sunday, the computer thinks the Cowboys have basically wrapped up the NFC East. Going into Week 14, they had a 79.9% chance of winning the division, but that has now shot up to 94.2% following their 27-20 win. 
5. Wild Card 1
team logo
The computer doesn't think the Rams have a shot of winning the NFC West, but it does view them as a lock for the playoffs. According to SportsLine, the Rams have a 99.9% chance of getting in. To put that in perspective, it's a higher chance than three of the four current division leaders in the AFC.     
6. Wild Card 2
team logo
The biggest winner of Week 14 might have been the San Francisco 49ers. Thanks to their win over the Bengals, the computer is now giving them a 79.5% chance of making the playoffs, which means we might see three NFC West teams get in. That would mark just the second time since 2010 that an NFC division has put three teams in (2018, NFC South).  
7. Wild Card 3
team logo
If the computer breaks before the end of the season, it's going to be trying to figure out who's getting the final wild-card spot in the NFC. According to SportsLine, the race is down to the Eagles, Saints, Vikings and Washington. Right now, the Eagles are the heavy favorite though. The Eagles currently have a 40.9% chance of getting in, which is well ahead of New Orleans, (25.6%), Minnesota (21.1%) and Washington (19.8%). 

Here's a list of the playoff chances for all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Saints (25.6%), Vikings (21.1%), Washington (19.8%), Falcons (10.9%), Seahawks (2.4%), Giants (0.4%), Panthers (0.3%), Bears (0.0%), Lions (ELIMINATED). 

Wild-card round projection


(7) Colts at (2) Chiefs
(6) Bills at (3) Titans
(5) Chargers at (4) Ravens

Bye: Patriots


(7) Eagles at (2) Packers
(6) 49ers at (3) Cardinals
(5) Rams at (4) Cowboys

Bye: Buccaneers



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...