NFL Playoff Bracket if the Postseason Started Today


Dec 5, 2023

We have to soak in every minute of football action we can. After 18 weeks, the NFL regular season is over, and most teams are left licking their wounds. However, the 14 teams left standing dial things up a notch, competing for glory and the chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Here’s what the playoff brackets would look like if the postseason started today.

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Division Leaders (odds to win the division) Wild Card Teams (odds to make the playoffs)
No. 1 – Philadelphia Eagles (-490) First-Round Bye
No. 2 – San Francisco 49ers (-20000) No. 7 – Green Bay Packers (-215)
No. 3 –  Detroit Lions (-1150) No. 6 – Minnesota Vikings (+106)
No. 4 – Atlanta Falcons (-190) No. 5 – Dallas Cowboys (Unavailable)

More NFC: Niners Comeback | NFC East Heat

A loss by the Philadelphia Eagles has shifted the balance of power in the NFC playoff picture. Granted, the San Francisco 49ers entered the clash of Titans as -3 road favorites, but few people expected the win to be as decisive as it was. That leaves the door open for the Niners to catch Philly for the first-round bye, as well as creating an avenue for the Dallas Cowboys to usurp the Eagles in the NFC East. 

The win moves San Francisco to 9-3 on the season and a prohibitive -20,000 chalk to win the NFC West. If the playoffs started today, they would face a familiar foe, hosting the upstart Green Bay Packers. The Packers have won three in a row and four of their past five to move into the final wild-card spot. Their grip is tenuous, as they are tied with three other teams at 6-6, but hold the playoff berth on the strength of a tiebreaker. 

One of the teams Green Bay is tied with resides just ahead of them in the standings. The honeymoon phase has worn off for Joshua Dobbs, as his Minnesota Vikings now face plus-money odds to make the playoffs. The Vikings were on a bye in Week 13, playing their next two on the road against AFC playoff hopefuls. That’s followed by three straight divisional contests, two of which would come against the team they potentially take on in Round 1, the Detroit Lions. 

Lastly, the Atlanta Falcons maintained their spot at the front of the pack in the NFC South, hanging on for a 13-8 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. The New Orleans Saints couldn’t handle business at home, putting their playoff chances on life support. Still, whichever team wins the division faces long odds in the opening round, taking on a Dallas Cowboys team that rates as one of the best in the league. The Cowboys have looked unstoppable this season, sitting with the sixth-best odds on the Super Bowl futures board.

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Division Leaders (odds to win the division) Wild Card Teams (odds to make the playoffs)
No. 1 – Miami Dolphins (-3000) First-Round Bye
No. 2 – Baltimore Ravens (-650) No. 7 – Indianapolis Colts (Unavailable)
No. 3 – Kansas City Chiefs (-6000) No. 6 – Cleveland Browns (Unavailable)
No. 4 – Jacksonville Jaguars (-240) No. 5 – Pittsburgh Steelers (Unavailable)

More AFC: SNF Controversy | Jags a Risky Bet

With losses in two of their last three, the Kansas City Chiefs have fallen from their once-mighty perch in the AFC. The Baltimore Ravens occupied the top spot in the conference last week, but they’ve been usurped by the Miami Dolphins following Week 13. The Dolphins easily dispatched the Washington Commanders, moving to first overall in the AFC and -3,000 favorites to win the division. 

By virtue of the Dolphins’ win, Baltimore was relegated to the second seed and a potential matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were written off after Anthony Richardson went down with a shoulder injury, but leave it to Gardner Minshew to revive their chances. Minshew-mania has taken hold of the Colts, leading them on a four-game win streak into a playoff spot. Indianapolis has a relatively unobstructed path to the end of the season, breathing life into the hapless franchise. 

The Chiefs now sit in the third seed, on a potential collision course with the Cleveland Browns. However, Kevin Stefanski might be getting close to hitting the panic button, as the Browns have lost two in a row without Deshaun Watson. Cleveland plays three of its next four at home. If they fail to reverse course on their recent downturn, the Browns could be on the outside looking in come January. 

That’s a familiar refrain for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also face steep odds to make the postseason. Kenny Pickett went down with an ankle injury and is expected to miss an extended period. As we’ve seen in the past, Mitch Trubisky shouldn’t be trusted, particularly if the Steelers hold on and travel to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round. The Jags have their own problems after losing Week 13’s primetime showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Houston Texans are breathing down their necks for the AFC South lead, ensuring plenty of drama over the coming weeks. 

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Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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