NFL 2021 playoff picture, standings ahead of Week 15: Chargers miss chance to gain AFC West lead with loss

Another week is in the books in the NFL as the playoff races have become even more wild — and confusing — with one month of action still remaining. The league has seen 28 games decided by a game-winning score on the final play this season, the most through Week 14 in NFL history.

Two of those games had an impact on the playoffs in each conference, as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime on a walk-off touchdown while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did the same against the Buffalo Bills. The loss by Cincinnati took the Bengals out of the top seven in the AFC standings while the Bills’ loss dropped them to seventh — the final playoff spot in the conference. The 49ers jumped to sixth in the NFC with their victory while the Buccaneers remained in the hunt for the top seed in the NFC. 

This playoff race is getting more unpredictable by the week. Below, you can find a division-by-division breakdown of the current standings, how each club performed in Week 14 and what each contender is facing on their schedule the rest of the way. 

AFC East

New England Patriots

What to know: The Patriots retain the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC due to being idle this week. New England is actually tied with Tennessee and Kansas City for the top spot, but hold the tiebreaker over both due to best win percentage in conference games. 

Remaining schedule: at Colts, vs. Bills, vs. Jaguars, at Dolphins 

Buffalo Bills

What to know: An overtime loss to Tampa Bay was brutal for Buffalo, but the Bills still have one of the wild card spots thanks to the Steelers losing on Thursday. The Bills hold the final playoff spot in the AFC, losing the tiebreaker for the No. 6 spot to the Colts (conference record). Buffalo owns the tiebreaker over the Browns and Broncos based on having a better win percentage in conference games (all are 7-6). The Bengals also have a 7-6 record, but the Browns own the tiebreaker…


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