Updated Week 16 NFL Playoff Picture, Bracket, Odds: Steelers Are Officially in Trouble

Dec 24, 2018 9:48 AM EST
Credit:

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers will need some big-time help in Week 17 to make the NFL playoffs after losing to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
  • The Seattle Seahawks sealed a spot in the postseason by beating the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. K.C. failed to clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles victory keeps their NFC playoff hopes alive, as they're a half-game back of the Vikings for the NFC's No. 6 seed.

Entering Week 16, nearly two-thirds of the NFL teams (19, to be exactly) have either clinched a playoff berth or could do so in the season’s final two games.

Some franchises have locked up their tickets to the dance, while others are hoping for fortune to fall their way.

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

Let’s dive in.

Standings and odds as of Sunday evening.

Week 16 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.


NFC Playoff Picture, Odds

There’s really only one NFC playoff spot up for grabs; the rest of the drama involves seeding.

Two teams are vying for what’s effectively the final spot: Vikings and Eagles.

The Vikings (63.8% chance to make it) have a half-game lead, but the Eagles  (37.5%) have an easier game coming in Week 17 (at Redskins, compared to vs. Bears for Minnesota).

If Minnesota wins, it is in.

Dallas and Seattle officially clinched playoff spots on Sunday. The two teams will likely play in the wild-card round, with the Seahawks traveling to Dallas.

New Orleans is officially the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC after coming back to beat the Steelers.

The Rams could still lose the No. 2 overall seed to the Bears after both teams won in Week 16, but it would require LA to lose to the 49ers at home. That combination only happened in 10% of our sims.

1. New Orleans Saints (13-2)

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

2. Los Angeles Rams (12-3)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 100%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 90.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0%

3. Chicago Bears (11-4)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 100%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 10.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

4. Dallas Cowboys (9-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 100%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

5. Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • 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 (8-6-1)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 63.8%
  • 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 (8-7)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 37.5%
  • 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

AFC Playoff Picture, Odds

The Steelers’ loss to the Saints on Sunday could prove very costly.

The loss moved them from the No. 4 overall seed (and leaders in the AFC North) to the No. 8 seed.

After beating the Chargers on Saturday night, Baltimore moved to 9-6, a half-game ahead of Pittsburgh.

The Steelers can make the playoffs two different ways: 1) They beat the Bengals and the Ravens lose to the Browns; 2) They beat the Bengals and the Colts and Titans tie on Sunday night.

Pittsburgh makes it in just 18.7% of our simulations.

The final wild-card spot will likely come down to the next week’s game between the Colts and Titans. Winner take all (unless they tie, then Pittsburgh is the real winner).

The Chargers and the Chiefs both lost in Week 16, meaning the same situation stands in the final week: If K.C. wins, it seals the division and the No. 1 seed. If it doesn’t, the Chiefs could potentially lose a first-round bye altogether should LA beat Denver.

The Patriots clinched the AFC East with their win over Buffalo. Even better, they regained the No. 2 seed after Houston lost to Philadelphia. (New England holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Texans.)

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 91.9%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 88.3%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 86.4%

2. New England Patriots (10-5)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 100%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 81.1%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 4.7%

3. Houston Texans (10-5)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 99.1%
  • Chance to win division: 73.7%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 19.5%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.8%

4. Baltimore Ravens (9-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 81.3%
  • Chance to win division: 81.3%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 1.5%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-4)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 100%
  • Chance to win division: 8.2%
  • Chance to get first-round bye:8.2%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 8.2%

6. Indianapolis Colts (9-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 48.1%
  • Chance to win division: 12.2%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

7. Tennessee Titans (9-6)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 51.9%
  • Chance to win division: 14.2%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 1.4%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1)

  • Chance to make the playoffs: 18.7%
  • Chance to win division: 18.7%
  • Chance to get first-round bye: 0.0%
  • Chance to get No. 1 seed: 0.0%

Current AFC Wild Card Bracket

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