The NFL’s trio of Thanksgiving Day video games delivered one divisional championship and put a second workforce on the cusp of a playoff berth. The Saints clinched the NFC South with a 26-18 victory over the Falcons, securing the primary of 12 playoff spots. They’re the 15th workforce to win a division in Week 13 or earlier because the league realigned into eight divisions in 2002. One other of these groups? The 2009 Saints, who additionally went on to win the Tremendous Bowl.
Earlier within the day, the Payments put themselves as shut as they might get to a wild-card playoff berth with a powerful 26-15 victory at Dallas. They now have 9 wins and possibly have to win just one extra to make sure their second journey to the playoffs in three seasons.
Week 13 will choose up Sunday with two extra groups in place to hitch the Saints (and shortly the Payments) within the postseason. Let’s take a better have a look at the playoff image because it stands now by way of the Thanksgiving Day video games of Week 13, utilizing ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index (FPI) to tell our evaluation.
Observe: X denotes a workforce that has clinched a playoff berth, whereas Z reveals a workforce that has clinched its division and Y signifies a workforce that secured a first-round bye (an asterisk reveals home-field benefit).
Soar to: AFC | NFC
The Patriots are closing in on one other AFC East title, however their successful formulation is about to be examined. They will 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 maintain tempo? Regardless, the Patriots’ favorable schedule thereafter — they’re going to end the season towards the Bengals, Payments and Dolphins — makes them an inexpensive wager to clinch each the division and home-field benefit all through the playoffs. FPI provides them a 78% probability of the latter. They’ll clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Texans and a loss (or tie) by both the Raiders or Steelers.
Subsequent up: at Houston
Can anybody cease the Ravens in the course of the common season? The Rams had no shot Monday evening, getting blown out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Patriots have already tried and failed (in a 17-point loss throughout Week 9). The following — and maybe final — probability will come Sunday when the Ravens host the 10-1 49ers. Not solely do the 49ers have a bodily protection, however they’re additionally quick and athletic on the sting. That may show an attention-grabbing, however hardly insurmountable, problem for MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson. If they’ll get previous the 49ers, the Ravens have a wonderful alternative to leapfrog the Patriots and seize home-field benefit within the AFC playoffs.
Subsequent up: vs. San Francisco
How necessary was the Texans’ comeback victory final Thursday evening over the Colts? It returned them to a commanding place within the AFC South and made them a near-lock to a minimum of make the playoffs, all whereas severely diminishing the Colts’ probabilities to claw again into the race. The Texans now have an 89.7% probability to achieve the postseason and a 74.5% probability to win the division. The schedule will not deal them any favors in Week 13, however a minimum of they’re going to have the Patriots at residence.
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 in Week 11. Then, the Raiders suffered an embarrassing loss Sunday to the Jets. So if the Chiefs can beat the Raiders at residence this weekend, they’re going to full a season sweep and clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker. In essence, which means they might have a three-game lead within the division with 4 video games left. The probability of that state of affairs provides the Chiefs a 96.8% probability to win the West, per FPI.
Subsequent up: vs. Oakland
Thursday introduced one of many Payments’ most significant and spectacular victories in twenty years. After dismantling the division-leading Cowboys on the street in a brief week, the Payments confirmed they’re able to extra than simply feasting on a weak schedule. And consequently, they’re now a near-lock for a wild-card playoff spot. They’re even in place to swoop into the AFC East lead if the Patriots falter. The Payments’ probability to achieve the postseason is now 95%, in keeping with FPI. With another victory, they’re going to have their finest regular-season report since 1999.
Subsequent up: vs. Baltimore (Week 14)
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There is no such thing as a downside so huge it will probably’t 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 in Week 12. 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 report 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 predicts 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 evening to one of the difficult late-season stretches we have ever seen for a convention chief. They thrashed the Packers at residence 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. San Francisco regarded superb Sunday evening. However might any workforce make it by way of that gantlet unscathed? That mentioned, the 49ers can clinch a playoff berth this weekend with a win over the Ravens and a Rams loss on the Cardinals.
Subsequent up: at Baltimore
Chris Berman and Tom Jackson recap the weekend’s video games with prolonged highlights and evaluation.
The present will stream stay at 7:30 p.m. ET every Sunday in the course of the 2019 season and shall be out there on demand every week till late Wednesday evening. Watch on ESPN+
With the NFC South division title claimed, the Saints have their sights set on a much bigger aim: incomes home-field benefit within the NFC playoffs for the second consecutive season. They might leapfrog the 49ers as early as Week 14. That state of affairs would require a 49ers loss Sunday in Baltimore — an inexpensive risk — after which a Saints victory within the groups’ head-to-head matchup Dec. 8. The Saints would not have clinched by that time, however they might be in command of the highest spot coming into Week 15.
Subsequent up: vs. San Francisco (Week 14)
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 report. Even higher information: Their schedule eases significantly within the coming weeks with video games towards the Giants, Redskins and Bears in consecutive weeks. In reality, the one workforce left with a successful report on their schedule is the Vikings in Week 16.
Subsequent up: at New York Giants
The Cowboys at the moment are 0-5 towards groups with successful information after dropping Thursday to the Payments. However this is the factor: They’ll nonetheless win the NFC East with out beating a single workforce that’s presently over .500. If they’ll defeat the Bears (6-6), Eagles (5-6) and Redskins (2-9), they’re going to go to the playoffs with a 9-7 report. If not, they’re going to need to hope that the Eagles cannot get their act collectively and overtake them. All informed, FPI remains to be giving the Cowboys a 64.6% probability to go to the playoffs. As dangerous as they appeared Thursday, issues may very well be a lot worse.
Subsequent up: at Chicago (Week 14)
Sunday’s recreation in Philadelphia carried one of many largest postseason swings in Week 12. Incomes a convention victory gave the Seahawks an extra 19.1% probability to make the playoffs; FPI now places their probabilities at 95.0%. Now the query is whether or not they can catch the 49ers. That query may not 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’ll overtake them with a victory on the energy of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Subsequent up: vs. Minnesota
The Packers’ loss Sunday evening put them in a numerical tie with the Vikings within the NFC North. The Packers have a lead within the first two tiebreakers, head-to-head and division report. However the Vikings might render these moot by matching the Packers over the following three video games earlier than the groups meet at U.S. Financial institution Stadium in Week 16. That’s simpler mentioned than finished, after all. The Vikings play in Seattle on Monday evening, and the Packers will play on the Giants.
Subsequent up: at Seattle
7. Los Angeles Rams (6-5)
8. Chicago Bears (6-6)
9. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
10. Carolina Panthers (5-6)