We have reached clinching season within the NFL. If all goes nicely within the coming days for the Saints, they will have secured the NFC South by this time subsequent week and turn out to be the primary division winner of the 2019 season. That is one among a number of upshots from an eventful Sunday in Week 12, together with a pair of groups reaching 10 wins atop their respective conferences.
Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at the playoff image because it stands now by Sunday night time of Week 12, utilizing ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index (FPI) to tell our evaluation.
Bounce to: AFC | NFC
The Patriots are closing in on one other AFC East title, however their successful components is about to be examined. They’re going to play consecutive video games towards the Texans and Chiefs, two of the NFL’s 10 highest-scoring offenses. Will the Patriots’ league-leading protection maintain up towards them? Or will their offense, which has averaged 16.7 factors over its previous three video games, have to preserve tempo? Regardless, the Patriots’ favorable schedule thereafter — they will end the season towards the Bengals, Payments and Dolphins — makes them an affordable wager to clinch each the division and home-field benefit all through the playoffs. FPI offers them a 78% probability of the latter.
Subsequent up: at Houston
As they enter Monday night time’s recreation towards the Rams, the Ravens are in an excellent place to win the AFC North and a extremely good place to get a first-round bye. FPI offers them a 98.8% probability to clinch the division and a 62.1% probability to wind up with the No. 2 seed. They’re going to want some assist from the Patriots, nevertheless, to get home-field benefit within the playoffs. FPI sees a 20.8% probability of that taking place.
Subsequent up: at Los Angeles Rams on Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN App
How vital was the Texans’ comeback victory Thursday night time over the Colts? It returned them to a commanding place within the AFC South and made them a near-lock to at the least make the playoffs, all whereas severely diminishing the Colts’ possibilities to claw again into the race. The Texans now have an 89.7% probability to succeed in the postseason and a 74.5% probability to win the division. The schedule will not deal them any favors in Week 13, however at the least they will have the Patriots at house.
Subsequent up: vs. New England
In a matter of six days, the Chiefs moved from a digital tie within the AFC West to a possibility to all however lock up the division by the tip of Week 13. First, they held off the Chargers in Mexico Metropolis final Monday. Then, the Raiders dropped an embarrassing loss Sunday to the Jets. So if the Chiefs can beat the Raiders at house subsequent week, they will full a season sweep and clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker. In essence, which means they’d have a three-game lead within the division with 4 video games remaining. The chance of that situation offers the Chiefs a 96.8% probability to win the division, per FPI.
Subsequent up: vs. Oakland
The excellent news is that the Payments have some separation from the remainder of the AFC wild-card discipline. They’re doubtless going to wish it as they embark on essentially the most tough stretch of their schedule. Solely one among their eight wins have come towards a staff that presently has a successful document — Week 5 towards the Titans — however 4 of their ultimate 5 video games will probably be towards groups who’re above .500 as of Sunday. That listing consists of three division leaders. Nonetheless, FPI is giving them an 82.3% probability to clinch a spot within the postseason, largely as a result of they could want just one or two extra wins the remainder of the best way.
Subsequent up: at Dallas
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There isn’t any downside too massive to be solved by taking part in the Bengals. Contemporary off their disastrous loss to the Browns, the Steelers did simply sufficient to win in Cincinnati. That victory, plus the Raiders’ loss to the Jets, pushed the Steelers to the highest of a four-team pileup at 6-5. The Steelers have a greater convention document than the Raiders and maintain the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Colts. (The Titans can be eradicated from the four-way tie as a result of they misplaced earlier this season to the Colts.) However there’s a lengthy strategy to go for the Steelers, and FPI sees solely a 30.5% probability to make the playoffs.
Subsequent up: vs. Cleveland
7. Oakland Raiders (6-5)
8. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
9. Tennessee Titans (6-5)
10. Cleveland Browns (5-6)
The 49ers put up an awfully spectacular begin Sunday night time to one of the difficult late-season stretches we have ever seen for a convention chief. They thrashed the Packers at house to maintain one step forward of the Saints (within the NFC) and the Seahawks (within the NFC West). However two taller duties await: consecutive video games on the Ravens and Saints. They regarded awfully good Sunday night time. However might any staff make it by that gauntlet?
Subsequent up: at Baltimore
After squeaking by the Panthers and successful their third division recreation, the Saints are in place to tie the NFC South document for the earliest clinch of the division title. They’d do it with a win on Thanksgiving towards the Falcons and a Panthers loss on Sunday to the Redskins. Whether or not it occurs in Week 13 or later, the Saints are a near-lock to win the division at 99.8%, in response to FPI. Their possibilities to clinch a first-round playoff bye additionally bought a lift after the Packers’ loss Sunday night time in San Francisco.
Subsequent up: at Atlanta
Sunday’s loss left the Packers clinging by the smallest of margins to the NFC North lead. They’ve the nominal head-to-head tiebreaker towards the Vikings and likewise a greater division document. Even higher information: Their schedule eases significantly within the coming weeks with video games towards the Giants, Redskins and Bears in consecutive weeks. In truth, the one staff with a successful document remaining on their schedule is the Vikings in Week 16.
Subsequent up: at N.Y. Giants
The Cowboys can be in hassle if anybody else within the NFC East — specifically the Eagles — had their act collectively. However after shedding two of their previous three video games and failing in 4 alternatives this season to beat a staff with a successful document, the Cowboys stay atop the division. FPI offers them a 70.1% probability to win the NFC East, however the Cowboys needs to be nervous. The Eagles’ subsequent three opponents — the Dolphins, Giants and Redskins — are all presently 2-9.
Subsequent up: vs. Buffalo
Tim Hasselbeck lists the assorted causes contributing to the Cowboys’ 13-9 loss to the Patriots and the way climate and mindset could have performed an element.
Sunday’s recreation in Philadelphia carried one of many largest postseason swings in Week 12. Gathering a convention win gave the Seahawks an extra 19.1% probability to make the playoffs; FPI now places their possibilities at 95.0%. Now the query is whether or not they can catch the 49ers. That query won’t be answered till Week 17, when the groups meet in Seattle. So long as the Seahawks are inside one recreation of the 49ers at that time, they will overtake them with a victory on the energy of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Subsequent up: vs. Minnesota
Chris Berman and Tom Jackson recap the weekend’s video games with prolonged highlights and evaluation.
The present will stream reside at 7:30 p.m. ET every Sunday in the course of the 2019 season and will probably be accessible on demand every week till late Wednesday night time. Watch on ESPN+
And there it’s. The Packers’ loss Monday night time put them in a numerical tie with the Vikings within the NFC North. The Packers have a lead within the first two tie breakers, head-to-head and division document. However the Vikings might render these moot by matching the Packers over the subsequent three weeks earlier than the groups meet at U.S. Financial institution Stadium in Week 16. That’s simpler stated than performed, after all. The Vikings play in Seattle in Week 13, whereas the Packers will play on the Giants.
Subsequent up: at Seattle
7. Los Angeles Rams (6-4)
8. Chicago Bears (5-6)
9. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
10. Carolina Panthers (5-6)