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Updated Week 15 NFL Playoff Picture, Bracket, Odds: Saints One Step Closer to No. 1 Seed

Dec 18, 2018 10:30 AM EST
Credit:

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Drew Brees

  • The New Orleans Saints pulled off a tough road win vs. the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football, all but locking up the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
  • The New England Patriots got upset by the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15, and in the process, they lost their grasp on the AFC's No. 2 seed. The Texans now have a better chance to get a first-round bye than New England.
  • We run through the full playoff picture and odds as Week 15 unfolds, including each team's chances of making the playoffs, getting a first-round bye and securing the No. 1 overall seed.

Buckle up, folks … the NFL playoff race is about to get real.

As usual, Week 15 features plenty of opportunities for teams to clinch playoff berths, first-round byes and more.

We run through all of the relevant playoff scenarios below, along with each team’s chances of making the dance, earning a first-round bye and securing the No. 1 overall seeds in the AFC/NFC.

Standings and odds as of Tuesday morning.

Week 15 NFL Playoff Picture, Odds

Teams are ordered by the current playoff standings. Projections below are from our Bet Labs simulations, which run each team’s remaining schedule 10,000 times.


AFC Playoff Picture, Odds

After the Texans’ win over the Jets on Saturday night, Houston temporarily moved into the No. 2 spot in the AFC.

The Patriots’ loss to the Steelers solidified that Houston would indeed end the week with a one-game lead on New England for the No. 2 seed.

Before beating New England, the Steelers were at risk of falling out of the playoffs altogether, but with their victory, they’re back in first place in the AFC North.

Baltimore and Indy both won on Sunday, but neither gained any ground after the Steelers won. The Colts remain on the outside looking in, losing the tiebreaker the Ravens due to having a worse record against AFC opponents.

After playing on Thursday night, the Chiefs and Chargers are locked into the No. 1 and 5 seeds, respectively, for now. That could change as soon as next week, as both have difficult matchups looming. (KC goes to Seattle; LA gets Baltimore at home.)

The Chiefs still control their own destiny: If they win out, they’ll secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 74.7%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 74.2%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 68.2%

2. Houston Texans (10-4)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 99.7%
  • Chance to win division: 91%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 56.6%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 6.8%

3. New England Patriots (9-5)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 99.1%
  • Chance to win division: 99.1%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 41.7%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.5%

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 72.7%
  • Chance to win division: 68.7%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.8%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 25.3%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 25.3%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 24.6%

6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 39.3%
  • Chance to win division: 31.3%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.3%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 45.7%
  • Chance to win division: 3.9%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.1%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

8. Tennessee Titans (8-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 42.0%
  • Chance to win division: 5.2%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 1.1%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

9. Miami Dolphins (7-7)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 1.5%
  • Chance to win division: 0.9%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

10. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 0.0002%
  • Chance to win division: 0.0%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

Current AFC Wild Card Bracket

  • No. 6 Baltimore Ravens at No. 3 New England Patriots
  • No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at No. 4 Pittsburgh Steelers 
  • BYES: Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans

NFC Playoff Picture, Odds

The Rams’ massive upset loss to the Eagles will make securing the No. 1 seed very difficult, especially after the Saints beat the Panthers on Monday Night Football.

New Orleans simply needs to beat either the Steelers in Week 16 or the Panthers in Week 17. The Saints will be favored in both games.

A Rams loss down the stretch would also clinch the No. 1 seed for New Orleans.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, kept its playoff hopes alive after winning as 13.5-point underdogs on Sunday Night Football.

The Bears clinched the NFC North on Sunday with a win over the Packers, but there’s little chance they can earn a first-round bye.

The Cowboys lost to the Colts on Sunday, failing to clinch the NFC East, but little changes with their playoff chances as they’re a near-lock to make the dance.

Seattle lost to the 49ers in overtime, but it didn’t change its playoff seeding at all (still in the No. 5 slot), and its odds to make the playoffs won’t go down much, either.

After beating the Dolphins at home on Sunday, the Vikings maintained their spot as the 6-seed in the NFC.

1. New Orleans Saints (12-2)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 100%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 99%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 95.7%

2. Los Angeles Rams (11-3)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 100%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 88.6%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 4%

3. Chicago Bears (10-4)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 100%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 12.4%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.3%

4. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 95.3%
  • Chance to win division: 94.1%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

5. Seattle Seahawks (8-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 96.3%
  • Chance to win division: 0.0%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

6. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 61.3%
  • Chance to win division: 0.0%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

7. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 40%
  • Chance to win division: 5.3%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

8. Washington Redskins (7-7)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 6.2%
  • Chance to win division: 0.7%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

9. Carolina Panthers (6-8)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 0.9%
  • Chance to win division: 0.0%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

Current NFC Wild Card Bracket

  • No. 6 Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 Chicago Bears
  • No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 Dallas Cowboys
  • BYES: New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams
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