Updated NFL Playoff Scenarios: Browns Would Face Chiefs with Win, Steelers Would Face Bills

Updated NFL Playoff Scenarios: Browns Would Face Chiefs with Win, Steelers Would Face Bills article feature image
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Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Ben Roethlisberger

Updated NFL Playoff Scenarios

7:45 p.m. ET: The NFC bracket is set. Now we await the AFC.

With the Saints cruising past the Bears, New Orleans is set to host Tampa Bay in the Divisional Round while the Packers welcome the Rams to Lambeau.

The two AFC matchups hinge on the result of Browns-Steelers:

  • If Browns win: They would face the Chiefs, and the Bills would host the Ravens.
  • If Steelers win: They would face the Bills, and the Chiefs would host the Ravens.

3:55 p.m. ET: With the 5-seeded Ravens beating the 4-seeded Titans on Sunday afternoon, we now know six of the eight teams that will compete in the Divisional Round — though we still don’t know exact matchups.

Here’s a quick overview of what to watch in the final two games of Wild Card Weekend:

  • Bears-Saints: If the 2-seeded Saints win, they’ll host the 5-seeded Buccaneers while the 6-seeded Rams would head to Green Bay to face the 1-seeded Packers. But if the 7-seeded Bears win, they’ll get the Packers on the road while the Bucs would host the Rams.
  • Browns-Steelers: The AFC bracket comes down to this game — if the 3-seeded Steelers win, they’ll face the 2-seeded Bills while the 5-seeded Ravens would travel to Kansas City to face the 1-seeded Chiefs. But if the 6-seeded Browns win, they would draw the Chiefs next weekend and the Ravens would head to Buffalo instead.

Sunday morning: Figuring out the NFL playoff bracket isn’t as confusing as Week 17 clinching scenarios, but it’s still a question for fans on Sunday.

There are three games left in the Wild Card Round, but because the NFL doesn’t utilize a traditional bracket, there are a variety of possibilities for Divisional Round matchups.

In the NFL, the lowest advancing seed plays the highest remaining seed. So, for example in the AFC, the lowest-seeded team that wins on Sunday will play the Chiefs next weekend while the highest-seeded team that wins will face the Bills.

Read below to see how the playoff picture can play out on Sunday.

Ravens-Titans Playoff Scenarios

Baltimore is the lower seed (5) in this matchup, but is favored against the AFC’s 4-seeded Tennessee team.

No matter which team wins here, the likelihood is a date with the Kansas City Chiefs, the top seed in the AFC. However, should the 6-seeded Browns upset the 3-seeded Steelers on Sunday night, the winner of this Titans-Ravens matchup will travel to Buffalo to play the 2-seeded Bills.

Saints-Bears Playoff Scenarios

The Saints are the biggest favorite on the board this weekend at home against the Bears.

If New Orleans wins as expected, the No. 2 Saints will host a playoff game next week against the 5-seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 6-seeded Rams then travel to Green Bay.

If Mitch Trubisky and the No. 7 Bears shock the world and send the Saints home, the reward is a road playoff game against Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1-seeded Packers.

A Bears win would give the 5-seeded Bucs a home playoff game against the Rams.

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Steelers-Browns Playoff Scenarios

Pittsburgh is hosting Cleveland as the favorite as the Browns battle COVID-19 issues. 

A Steelers win as the No. 3 seed clinches a matchup against the No. 2 Bills and would send the winner of Tennessee-Baltimore to Kansas City.

The Browns reward for winning a playoff game for the first time since 1994 would be a date against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. In that scenario, the winner of Titans-Ravens then goes to Buffalo.

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