February 22, 2024

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NFL playoff photo: Christian McCaffrey, 49ers clinch division. Is the top seed in the NFC next?

NFL playoff photo: Christian McCaffrey, 49ers clinch division.  Is the top seed in the NFC next?

The San Francisco 49ers are the most exciting team in the NFL and seem unstoppable. Their latest conquest was shelling the Arizona Cardinals 45-29 for their sixth straight win. The 49ers also became this year’s division champions, clinching their second straight NFC West title.

They take a one-win lead over the Philadelphia Eagles in the win column, but the Eagles will have a chance to respond Monday night on the road against the Seattle Seahawks. As for the rest of the NFL, Week 15 saw a lot of playoff action. Let’s take a look at where things stand with one match left on the agenda.

The listed odds of making the playoffs, securing the No. 1 seed, and winning the Super Bowl are all across The athleteNFL betting model created by Austin Mock.

Asian qualifiers photo

seed a team register Week 15 result

S–1

11-3

W v Jax

2

10-4

W vs NYJ

3

9-5

W vs. NE

4

8-6

L vs BAL

5

9-5

W vs Chi

6

8-6

W vs Min

7

8-6

W vs PIT

x — Clinched a playoff berth | y — snatch the division title

This may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but the Ravens have won three straight games while holding a double-digit lead. Importance? Their loss to the Cleveland Browns five weeks ago was their sixth-worst league loss by double-digits over the past two seasons, and the Ravens certainly don’t want to play with that seed of doubt in their minds in the playoffs. .

Remaining schedule: At 49ers, vs. Miami Dolphins, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 100 percent | To earn a bye: 58.8 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 15.8 percent

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins didn’t need wide receiver Tyreek Hill to demolish the talented New York Jets defense. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw just three incompletions, and wideout Jaylen Waddle stepped up with eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown to keep the Dolphins in play for the No. 1 seed.

Remaining schedule: vs. Dallas Cowboys, at Ravens, vs. Buffalo Bills

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 100 percent | To earn a bye: 21.6 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 10.6 percent

The Chiefs’ receivers are a concern, especially after Kadarius Toney went down again and turned into an interception, but rookie Rashee Rice may have star potential. He has 32 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns in his past four games.

Remaining schedule: vs. Las Vegas Raiders, vs. Cincinnati Bengals, at Los Angeles Chargers

Prospect: For qualifying: 99.5 percent | To earn a bye: 17.9 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 11.9 percent

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The Jaguars are 6-6 against teams .500 or better, but there’s a big problem: They’re 0-4 against the top six teams in the AFC. To be showcased among the AFC’s elite and improve on last season’s trip to the divisional round, they’ll have to deserve it.

Remaining schedule: At Tampa Bay Buccaneers, vs. Carolina Panthers, at Tennessee Titans

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 73.1 percent | To earn a bye: 0 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 2.4 percent

Cleveland Browns

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who turns 39 next month, has eclipsed 300 receiving yards in consecutive games and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in all three of his starts this season. The Browns scored 13 points in the final 13 minutes on Sunday to beat a much-improved Chicago Bears team, and the win kept the Browns out of the dreaded tiebreaker scenario for the final wild card spots.

Remaining schedule: At Houston Texans, vs. Jets, at Bengals

Prospect: For qualifying: 93 percent | To earn a bye: 1.8 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 2.7 percent

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals couldn’t ask for more from backup quarterback Jake Browning, who has a passer rating of at least 96 in all four of his starts. But the biggest concern is defense. Lo Anarumo ranks 18th in points allowed (22.2 points per game), and has given up at least 30 points in three of its past six matches.

Remaining schedule: At Steelers, at Chiefs, vs. Browns

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 14.1 percent | To earn a bye: 0 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 0.1 percent

Go deeper

Kapolei: Steelers’ “terrible” performance reveals their biggest problem – mental weakness

There is no quit in Colts. They have overcome several injuries and just beat the Steelers 30-13, despite trailing by 13 points. The Colts could have folded when they lost three straight to fall to 3-5, but they responded by winning five of their past six games.

Remaining schedule: At Atlanta Falcons, vs Raiders, vs Texans

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 65.6 percent | To earn a bye: 0 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 0.8 percent

In pursuit

• Houston Texans (8-6)
• Buffalo Bills (8-6)
• Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
• Denver Broncos (7-7)
• Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)
• Los Angeles Chargers (5-9)

Excluded

• Tennessee Titans (5-9)
• New York Jets (5-9)
• New England Patriots (3-11)


x — Clinched a playoff berth | y — snatch the division title

San Francisco 49ers

The NFC West champions have outscored their opponents 207-94 during their six-game winning streak. Running back Christian McCaffrey has 1,801 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns, and has a chance to be the first running back to win the MVP award since Adrian Peterson in 2012.

Remaining schedule: vs. Ravens at Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 100 percent | To earn a bye: 76.6 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 25.2 percent

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are changing their defensive style with Matt Patricia as their new play-caller on game days, and they need a big boost. They have allowed 36.3 points per game over the past three weeks and have surrendered at least 31 points in four of their past six games. They will have a chance to advance under a manageable schedule, but the Eagles will have something to prove against tough competition in the playoffs.

Remaining schedule: At Seahawks, vs. New York Giants, vs. Cardinals, at Giants

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 100 percent | To earn a bye: 21.1 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 9.2 percent

Go deeper

Patricia Eagles handles defensive play calling duties: Sources

The Lions will (almost certainly) host a playoff game for the first time in 30 years, and Ford Field will undoubtedly be one of the best environments in the postseason when that happens. But for the Lions to have success this season, they will have to snap a nine-game losing streak dating back to the 1991 season.

Remaining schedule: At Minnesota Vikings, at Cowboys, vs. Vikings

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 100 percent | To earn a bye: 0.3 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 4.2 percent

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s not always pretty for quarterback Baker Mayfield, but it certainly was on Sunday in Lambeau. Mayfield had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and the Bucs were in complete control in their third straight win. This is a great way to bounce back after failing to complete 50 percent of his passes in the previous two games.

Remaining schedule: vs. Jaguars, vs. New Orleans Saints, at Panthers

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 70.1 percent | To earn a bye: 0 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 0.6 percent

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have surrendered at least 170 yards in three of their four losses this season. That’s a big red flag with the other three NFC powerhouses — San Francisco, Philadelphia and Detroit — boasting a top-eight rushing offense, especially since the Niners already beat them earlier this season.

Remaining schedule: In Dolphins, vs. Lions, in Leaders

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 100 percent | To earn a bye: 2 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 8.4 percent

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings face water, and they will rue a big missed opportunity Saturday against the Bengals, who won in overtime after scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter. The Vikings have lost three of four, with a 3-0 win over the Raiders being the only bright spot of late, and they have a tough slate ahead of them the rest of the way. They’ll have nightmares about losing to Cincinnati if they miss the playoffs.

Remaining schedule: Lions vs. Green Bay Packers at Lions

Prospect: To make the qualifiers: 61.5 percent | To earn a bye: 0 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 0.6 percent

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams jumped on the Saints on Sunday after beating the Leaders, but they won’t need to worry about that tiebreaker for much longer. They host the Saints on Thursday night in their final home game of the season, and there’s no overstating the importance of that game with the Niners at the end. It’s been a tough task for coach Sean McVay to get the Rams back into the postseason conversation.

Remaining schedule: vs. the Saints, at the Giants, at the 49ers

Prospect: To conduct the qualifiers: 50.6 percent | To earn a bye: 0 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 0.6 percent

In pursuit

• New Orleans Saints (7-7)
• Seattle Seahawks (6-7)
• Atlanta Falcons (6-8)
• Green Bay Packers (6-8)
• New York Giants (5-9)
• Chicago Bears (5-9)

Excluded

• Washington leaders (4-10)
• Arizona Cardinals (3-11)
• Carolina Panthers (2-12)

Go deeper

What we learned in NFL Week 15: Ravens and Bills beware, troubles in Pittsburgh and more

(Top image by Christian McCaffrey: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


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