Standings, bracket after Thanksgiving games, plus Week 12 outlook


Spears said that everyone in theNFC should be worried about the Buccaneers.

Marcus Spears breaks down the play of the team. The song is called "1:27."

11:30 PM.

This is a special Thanksgiving Day edition of our picture. We have a lot to discuss if you only kept one eye on the games, or if you watched them closely. Both conferences saw a change in their playoff seeding. Among the things that have been learned.

The Buffalo Bills regained their dominance in the division. The Bills could be back in the playoffs if the New England Pats beat the TennesseeTitans this weekend.

The Bills' win over the Saints made the 49ers into the wild-card race. The Saints' fourth consecutive loss has them looking up at the NFC field, while they're currently No. 7 in theNFC.

The Las Vegas Raiders' win over the Dallas Cowboys put them back in contention to make the playoffs if a current contender stumbles.

The Philadelphia Eagles are in the running for the division title, even though the Cowboys' lead is not yet threatened.

We've added more situations. There will be an update after Sunday's games.

Go to:AFC

A group of people.

1. The TennesseeTitans (8-3) are doing well.

Despite facing the most difficult schedule in the league, the TennesseeTitans won seven of their first nine games. They suffered a stunning home loss to the Texans in Week 11. The Colts have narrowed the gap in the AFC South to two games with six to play. Tennessee won both head-to-head battles. The Texans and Jets have a combined record of 4-16, so it's not clear if the Colts can catch them. The hottest team in the league will be waiting for them on Sunday.

Next stop: at the team.

2. The Baltimore Ravens are 7-1.

Without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens were able to maintain their hold on first place in the division. They have lost to the Dolphins and theBengals in the past month, and have also lost an overtime game to the Vikings. Maybe that's how it's going to be for them.

Next up: Cleveland.

3. The Buffalo Bills are 4-7.

Will a convincing win in the Superdome be enough to get the Bills out of their rut? They had lost two of their past three games, including a 26 point loss to the Colts. The Bills are about to head into a brutal stretch of their schedule, so they better hope they've figured it out. They will play the red-hot Pats twice in four weeks, with a game at the Buccaneers mixed in. For a few days, they've been at the top of the East.

Next up: against the Pats.


Josh Allen found a second touchdown in the game against New Orleans.

4. The Kansas City Chiefs are 7-4

The Chiefs are on a four-game winning streak that has catapulted them to the top of the AFC West. There is no doubt that the Chiefs will be in the playoffs, and they will be the champion of the West.

Next up is the Broncos.

5. New England is 7-1.

It took the Pats less than two months to bounce back from their rocky start. The Bills reclaimed the top spot after a Thanksgiving win over the Saints, but the Pats will regain the top spot if they beat the Titans in Week 12. They have won five in a row and six in a row to give them a division advantage and put them within range of the top seed. It's all in front of them. Next month, the Bills will play two games in a three-game stretch, while the Pats will play one game in a two-game stretch. It's hard to see how the New England is the best team in the AFC right now.

Next up is the Titans.

6. The Cincinnati Bengals are 3-6.

There was a time when a lot of people were worried about the health of the quarterback. We can say that the concern was not true through 10 games. When the season began, it didn't seem like he'd make it through 10 games, but he has the offense humming, most recently with a 32-point performance in Week 11's victory over the Raiders. In the wide-open AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals have put themselves in a good position to make the playoffs, despite being given a 50% chance of making the playoffs.

Next up is the Steelers.

7. The Los Angeles Chargers are 3-6.

In the biggest sign yet that they are turning a corner under coach Brandon Staley and quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers stopped doing things long enough to regain the lead in Week 11. There is still a lot to question about the Bolts, most notably their special teams, but they showed they are serious about the playoffs.

Next stop: at Broncos.

In the hunt for the football team.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 5-5.

The Steelers are out of the top seven in the league after losing their past two games. It will be difficult when they travel to Cincinnati this weekend.

The Indianapolis Colts are 5-5.

The Colts have won three consecutive games and five of their past six, but prior to Week 11, the quality of the teams they beat wasn't too impressive. The victory at Buffalo changed that. The Colts are on the right path and will face the Buccaneers next.

The Raiders are from Las Vegas.

We can't do anything but give the Raiders our thanks, as their slide seemed to be well underway during their three-game losing streak entering Thursday's game at the Cowboys. They have 10 days to prepare for their home game against Washington in Week 13 after going into AT&T Stadium and winning a war of attrition.


Daniel Carlson kicked a field goal in overtime after Anthony Brown was whistled for pass interference.

The Cleveland Browns have a losing record.

It's amazing that the Cleveland Browns have won six games despite the fact that quarterback Baker Mayfield's left shoulder injury is having on his performance. If you're going to pick a team to fall out of the playoffs due to exhaustion, it's the Cleveland Browns. They are going to Baltimore on a road trip.

The Denver Broncos are 5-5)

The Broncos will return from their bye with a.500 record, but they will likely be knocked out of the wild-card race if they play the Chargers and Chiefs in consecutive games.

The NFC is a part of the game.

1. The Arizona Cardinals are 9-2

Since their last-minute loss to the Packers in Week 8, the Cards have traveled quite a journey. They have gone 2-1 with wins over San Francisco and Seattle, despite not having quarterback Kyler Murray or wide receiver DeAndreHopkins. The Cards are the fourth team in the history of the league to start a season with a perfect record on the road, and they will get their quarterback back sooner than later. They are a virtual lock to make the playoffs and have a good chance to win the West.

Next stop: at Bears.

Here's how the playoffs looks at the moment and what might happen in the future.

Who is currently in the playoffs?

The Playoff Machine is a program on the ESPYS.

The Football Power Index is a measure of standings.

2. The Green Bay Packers are 8-3.

The Packers with Rodgers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. What should we say about a Packers team that is losing key players to injury on a weekly basis? They are in good shape in theNFC North, leading the Vikings by 212 games, with a Week 17 game against Minnesota looming. The Packers' depth is going to be tested in December.

Next up is the Rams.

3. The Buccaneers are 7-3).

The Giants entered the game with an average of 18.9 points per game, but they were soundly beaten by the defending Super Bowl champion. There is a lane for a high seed in the playoffs, as their remaining schedule includes only two teams with winning records.

Next up: Colts.

4. The Dallas Cowboys are 4-7.

Uh-oh. The Cowboys were expected to do well once they got their quarterback back. They have lost three of their last four games. Even if the Eagles beat the Giants on Sunday, they would still be two games behind in the loss column. The Cowboys are the least-flawed team in a weak division, so it's not certain if they will head into the playoffs as a genuine contender or not.

Next up: at the Saints.


Tony Pollard takes a kick return 100 yards to the house as a referee takes a fall.

5. The Los Angeles Rams have a winning record.

The "all-in" Rams have fallen from the top spot in theNFC to the wild-card picture with two consecutive losses. The bye came at a good time for the Rams. They had two weeks to get Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr.acclimatized to their program. Their upcoming schedule includes not only the Packers, but also the Vikings, Vikings, Ravens, and 49ers. It will be a tough run.

Next stop: at Packers.

6. The Minnesota Vikings are 5-5.

The math says you should at least win some of the close games you play. The Vikings' victory over the Packers boosted their division and conference records. The reason they are ahead of the Saints and 49ers in the playoffs is because of their 4-2 record in theNFC. The Vikings have played in seven games in a row that have been decided by seven or fewer points, a stretch that either hardened them for a playoff run or will cost them entry into the playoffs altogether.

Next stop: at 49ers.

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7. The 49ers are 5-5)

The 49ers leapfrogged the Saints in the wild-card race after Thursday's action, as they have won three of their past four. Sometimes the 49ers are not truly a playoff team, but sometimes they are. Their remaining strength of schedule is 25. The Eagles, another wild-card team, have the easiest remaining schedule.

Next up: Vikings.

In the hunt for the nearest store.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a poor record.

The Eagles have won three of their past four by at least 10 points. You can see a favorable schedule for staying in the wild-card race, with games against the Giants and Washington remaining. The Giants are in Philly this week.

The Carolina panthers are 5-5.

Can the Carolinas really be a playoff contender with a quarterback they signed out of free agency and inserted into the starting lineup within two weeks? The man is not a magician, but he is Superman. The Dolphins will play the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints have a losing record.

The Saints have lost four in a row since starting quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending knee injury. They are looking at the playoffs after their offense had no punch against the Bills. The Cowboys will play them in Week 13 but four of their final six opponents have losing records.