Sunday, September 24

NFL standings: updated image of the AFC and NFC playoffs for week 12 of the 2021 season

The 2021 NFL season is in double-digit weeks and closer to the end of its new 17-game schedule. It’s time to recheck the updated standings and what the playoff picture looks like for Week 12.

The league maintained its expanded playoff field, with 14 of its 32 teams (43.8 percent) set to qualify for the final postseason. That includes 7 each from the AFC and NFC, and only the No. 1 seeds got free passes in addition to home advantage.

Who would he be, who is still in dispute, and who should he be thinking about next season? Here’s a full look:

Cardinals back to No. 1; Chiefs and Patriots rise as Cowboys and Bills fall in Week 12

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NFL standings for week 12

Image of the AFC playoffs

Who would be inside?

1. Baltimore Ravens (7-3), first place, AFC North. The Ravens recovered without Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown to survive in Chicago and maintain the leadership in the division. They also put more pressure on the losing Titans and stayed ahead of the winning Patriots, which they can do with a Week 12 win. They drew the Browns on Sunday night. Remaining hours: vs. CLE, in PIT, in CLE, vs. GB, in CIN, vs. LAR, vs. PIT

2. New England Patriots (8-4), first place, AFC East. The Patriots matched the Bills’ result from Week 12 to return to the top in the division by half a game. They are behind the Ravens with a lower winning percentage after having played more than two games. Their victory over the Titans also gave them the tiebreaker for No. 2. Remaining hours: vs. BUF, BYE, in IND, vs. BUF, vs. JAX, at MIA

3. Tennessee Titans (8-4), first place, AFC South. The Titans slipped from No. 1 with their loss to the Patriots, falling a complete game behind the Ravens and staying just half a game ahead of the Chiefs, whom they beat earlier in the season, along with the Bills. The Titans don’t need to worry about him yet Remaining hours: BYE, vs. JAX, at PIT, vs. SF, vs. MIA, at HOU

4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), first place, AFC West. The Chiefs stayed here after beating the Cowboys because they lost to the Titans and Ravens and the Patriots also hold the top conference record. A win was huge to stay ahead of the Chargers. The Chiefs get a much-needed break in week 12. Remaining hours: versus DEN, versus LV, in LAC, versus PIT, in CIN, in DEN

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5. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4), second place, AFC North. The Bengals have returned to wild-card and division playoff contention with big back-to-back wins over the Raiders and Steelers after the break. They beat the Ravens on the road earlier and can finish first if the Ravens lose to the Browns. They hold the tiebreaker for this spot over the Bills with a better conference record. However, nothing is easy on the board. Remaining hours: vs. LAC, vs. SF, in DEN, vs. BAL, vs. KC, in CLE

6. Buffalo Bills (7-4), second place, AFC East. The Bills fell here after their win over the Saints because the Patriots responded by looking out for the Titans. They will have their chance to catch and pass the Patriots next Monday night. Aside from New England twice, Buffalo has a big challenge ahead against Tampa Bay. Remaining hours: vs. NE, in TB, vs. CAR, in NE, vs. ATL, NYJ.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5), second place, AFC West. The Chargers lost a lot to the Broncos on the road to squander a great opportunity to keep up with the Bengals, Raiders and Bills winning. They go head-to-head with the Bengals with the possibility of promotion in Week 13. Remaining hours: at CIN, vs. NYG, vs. KC, at HOU, vs. DEN, at LV

Who can get there?

8. Cleveland Browns (6-5)
9. Denver Broncos (6-5)
10. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
11. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

The Raiders won to help themselves in Week 12, while the Steelers and Colts lost to lag behind. The Browns have a great opportunity against the Ravnes Sunday night, while the Broncos seized theirs against the Chargers.

Who is ready to go?

13. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
14. New York Jets (3-8)
15. Houston Texans (2-9)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

The Dolphins have won four straight games after a 1-7 start on a climb to respectability, but it’s too little, too late for a push to the playoffs. The Jets parted ways with the latter two with a win over the Texans and still play the Jaguars.

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NFL SELECTIONS WEEK 12: Direct | Against the spread

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NFC playoffs image

Who would be inside?

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2), first place, NFC West. The Cardinals did their best to pull off an impressive road win in Seattle once again without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. They already jumped here after the Packers lost to the Vikings in Week 11. The Cardinals are enjoying a break in Week 12. Remaining hours: in CHI, versus LAR, in DET, versus IND, in DAL, versus SEA

2. Green Bay Packers (9-3), first place, NFC North. The Packers took care of business against the Rams to move into the midgame of the inactive Cardinals, whom they beat, for the first seed. In the process, they also helped the Cardinals gain a bigger advantage in their division. Now they can rest. And I hope the Cardinals get mad at the Bears in Week 13. Remaining hours: BYE, vs. CHI, in BAL, vs. CLE, vs. MIN, in DET

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3), first place, NFC South. The Buccaneers used the Week 12 win over the Colts to get closer to the top seed. They again beat the Cowboys, who lost, and are behind the Packers by No. 2 with a minor conference record. Tampa Bay desperately needed the second win in a row after losing two straight games at halftime with Tom Brady having rare interception problems. Remaining hours: in ATL, against BUF, against NO, in CAR, in NYJ, against CAR

4. Dallas Cowboys (7-4), first place, NFC East. The Cowboys couldn’t stay ahead of the Packers by losing heavily to the Chiefs in Week 12. They fell to No. 4 after the Buccaneers, who defeated them in Week 1, won. The Cowboys don’t need to worry about falling into the wild cards, because the division is a foregone conclusion with everyone else in the East still under .500. The loss to the Raiders to open Week 12 kept them here. Remaining hours: at NO, at WAS, at NYG, versus WAS, versus ARI, at PHI

5. Los Angeles Rams (7-4), second place, NFC West. The Rams lost their third game in a row and had a disappointing result with over Matthew Stafford after a break at Green Bay. They are now two full games behind the Cardinals and just one game ahead of the 49ers, who Remaining hours: vs JAX, in ARI, vs SEA, in MIN, in BAL, vs SF

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6. San Francisco 49ers (6-5), third place, NFC West. The 49ers beat the Vikings for their third straight win and four in the past five games, going from a slow start to a solid playoff position for Kyle Shanahan despite playing in a tough division. They jumped on the Vikings and pushed the Rams further for the best wild card in the West. They get another break with the Seahawks reeling in last place before a key road interconference game against the Bengals. Remaining hours: in SEA, in CIN, against ATL, in TEN, against HOU, in LAR

7. Minnesota Vikings (5-6), second place, NFC North. The Vikings fell to the 49ers and dropped just one spot because despite having the same record as the winning Falcons and losing Saints, they have a superior conference record against both teams. They will try to use their free bingo space well against the Lions in Week 13. Remaining hours: in DET, versus PIT, in CHI, versus LAR, in GB, versus CHI

Who can get there?

8. Altanta Falcons (5-6)
9. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
11. Carolina Panthers (5-7)
12. Washington soccer team (4-6)
13. New York Giants (4-7)
14. Chicago Bears (4-7)
15. Seattle Seahawks (3-7)

The Falcons beat the Jaguars to overtake the Saints, whom they beat on the road earlier. The Eagles lost to the Giants, giving them the same record as the Panthers. The Giants’ victory allowed them to overtake the Bears, who beat the Lions on Thanksgiving. Washington has a chance to get close to a wild card and sink Seattle on Monday night.

Who is ready to go?

16. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

The Lions lost again frustratingly in week 11 after getting a post-halftime tie in week 10. That only grew with their last close teenage loss to the Bears at home on Thanksgiving.

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