2021 NFL Playoff Picture: Patriots, Cardinals headline 14 teams projected to make the playoffs


It took 13 weeks, but it finally happened: a team has officially been eliminated from the NFL playoff race and surprisingly, it WASN’T the Detroit Lions. 

Thanks to their win over the Vikings on Sunday, the Lions survive for at least one more week. However, the same can’t be said for the Houston Texans, who became the first team to get eliminated following their Week 13 loss to the Colts. 

With the Texans out, that means there are 31 teams still alive, which brings us to to this week’s playoff projections. The projections are based on data from number-cruncher Stephen Oh of SportsLine.com. Oh plugged some numbers into his SportsLine computer and then simulated the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, we were able to figure out the playoff chances for all 32 teams. We also projected the 14-team playoff field. 

With that in mind, let’s get to this week’s playoff projections. Actually, before we do that, here’s a mock draft that Texans fans might want to read. Since your team has been eliminated from the playoffs, a mock draft will probably be much more exciting to read than this projection. 

As for everyone else, let’s get to the projection. 

Note: Remember, this is a projection based on how we think the rest of the regular season will play out. If you want to see the current playoff standings, be sure to click here. For a breakdown of the current playoff picture, be sure to click here. SportsLine simulates every game leading up to the playoffs 10,000 times, and you can see the model’s picks both straight up and against the spread here.

AFC Playoff Projection

Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Bengals (48.7%), Steelers (29.2%), Browns (14.6%), Broncos (12.7%), Raiders (12.7%),  Dolphins (4.1%), Jaguars (0.0%), Jets (0.0%), Texans (ELIMINATED). 

Note: The Jets and Jaguars haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention, but they have a 0% chance of making it because the computer hates them. Actually, the computer doesn’t love or hate, it has no feelings. It just doesn’t think there’s a mathematical chance for either of those teams to make it. 

NFC Playoff Projection

Here’s a list of the playoff chances for all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Washington (43.4%), Saints (18.6%), Vikings (16.9%), Falcons (5.7%), Panthers (4.2%), Giants (2.6%), Seahawks (1.9%), Bears (0.2%), Lions (0%). 

Wild-card round projection

AFC

(7) Colts at (2) Titans(6) Chargers at (3) Chiefs(5) Bills at (4) Ravens

Bye: Patriots

NFC 

(7) Eagles at (2) Packers(6) 49ers at (3) Buccaneers(5) Rams at (4) Cowboys

Bye: Cardinals



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