There are three weeks left in the NFL season, which means it's starting to feel like playoff football. The postseason will begin after the new year, but with such tight races in both conferences, we could once again have some surprises this year. Let's take a look at the scenarios for every contender in the AFC and NFC.
New England Patriots (9-4)
The Patriots are pretty much a lock to make the postseason after their 9-4 start to the season. Their recent loss to the Dolphins is more of a moral hit than anything else, as they should have their division wrapped up considering two of their three remaining games come against the Jets and the Bills.
AFC Playoff Picture:— Lauren Phillips (@LaurenP_52) December 10, 2018
1) Chiefs 11-2 (1 game up in division)
2) Patriots 9-4 (2 games up)
3) Texans 9-4 (2 games ahead up)
4) Steelers 7-5-1 (1/2 game up)
WC 5) Chargers 10-3 (1 game back)
WC 6) Ravens 7-6 (1/2 game back)
In the hunt: Dolphins, Colts, Titans
Miami Dolphins (7-6)
The Dolphins are not out of reach of the postseason, largely thanks to their last-second miracle on Sunday, but it won't be easy for them. At 7-6, the team will be looking to clinch the second Wild Card spot. They play the Vikings, Bills and Jaguars in their final three games, so they could realistically finish 9-7.
Despite a comeback win over the Ravens, the Chiefs don't have the AFC West locked up, as the Chargers have been steadily knocking on the door. The Chiefs will definitely be in the playoffs this year, but they have a huge test on Thursday night when they play the Chargers in a game which could decide the division.
Los Angeles Chargers (10-3)
The Chargers have quietly been one of the NFL's best teams this year and they are near guaranteed a spot in the playoffs as their 10-3 record is good for the top Wild Card spot. A big game against Kansas City this week could push them into a tie for the division lead.
Denver Broncos (6-7)
The chances are slim, but don't count Denver out just yet. The loss of both Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders doesn't help their odds, but Denver is 6-7 and just one game behind the other teams contending for the second Wild Card spot. They play the Browns, Raiders and Chargers to close out the season.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1)
Despite losing three straight games, the Steelers still have the lead in their division. A tough schedule lies ahead for Pittsburgh, as they face the Patriots and Saints before finishing the season against the Bengals. It's far from a guarantee right now, but barring an even bigger meltdown, the Steelers should be in the playoffs.
Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
The Ravens missed out on a chance to take the division lead after they blew it against the Chiefs this weekend. Their defense can lead them to the playoffs and their schedule favors them as they have the Bucs, Chargers and Browns left to play.
Cleveland Browns (5-7-1)
Houston Texans (9-4)
The Texans started out 0-3, but are now leading the division at 9-4. They play the Jets, Eagles and Jaguars, so it would be a surprise if they didn't make the playoffs as the AFC South winners this season.
Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
Andrew Luck's return has kept the Colts in playoff form. They're tied with the Titans at 7-6 and will also be competing with the Ravens, Broncos, Steelers and Dolphins for a Wild Card spot.
Tennessee Titans (7-6)
The Titans are one of the more confusing teams in the league. Some weeks they look dominant, and other weeks they look like the worst team in football. They have a 7-6 record and face the Redskins, Giants and Colts to close out the season, all of which are very winnable games.
Dallas Cowboys (8-5)
Somehow this team is 8-5 right now and look as if they might run away with the division. They face the Colts, Bucs and Giants over the next three weeks and could possibly finish 11-5. Things have gotten a lot better in Dallas throughout the past five weeks.
What has Amari Cooper's impact been on Dak Prescott?— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 10, 2018
Prescott Before Trade:
62.1 comp %
202.4 pass YPG
8 TD, 4 INT
87.4 passer rating
Prescott After Trade:
74.1 comp %
285.7 pass YPG
9 TD, 3 INT
105.7 passer rating #Cowboys @dak @AmariCooper9
Washington Redskins (6-7)
Washington's season is falling into complete disarray after losing two quarterbacks to serious leg injuries. They have dropped four straight games, including a blowout at the hands of the Giants. Their playoff chances are getting slimmer by the day, and there's no way Mark Sanchez or Josh Johnson are going to help out the cause.
Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
Last year's Super Bowl champs have a real chance at missing the playoffs this year. At 6-7, they look far from the formidable squad that they were last season, and they face the Rams, Texans and Redskins to finish out the season. There's still hope, but it's not looking very likely.
Los Angeles Rams (11-2)
Despite their loss to the Bears this weekend, the Rams still look like one of the best teams in the league. At 11-2, they're still a lock for the playoffs and they have a pretty easy schedule to finish the season, playing the Eagles, Cardinals and 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
A Seahawks win on Monday Night Football against the Vikings put them in great position to lock down a postseason berth, as they now sit at 8-5 and can clinch next week with a win against the San Francisco 49ers. They'll then face the Chiefs and Cardinals, so assuming they take care of business against their inferior division opponents, the Hawks should be just fine.
Chicago Bears (9-4)
The best defense in the NFL just wrapped up a statement victory over the Rams, despite losing to the Giants the week before. They play the Packers, 49ers and Vikings to finish the season. We will see Chicago in the postseason.
Bears torment Jared Goff and the Rams to move to 9-4 pic.twitter.com/QTDqbNfHx0— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 10, 2018
Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1)
Minnesota is in must-win territory right now. After getting owned by the Seahawks, they have Dolphins, Lions and Bears on the slate. They look likely to lock down a Wild Card spot, so long as they can beat the Dolphins and Lions. But hey, with the way they've been playing, you never know.
New Orleans Saints (11-2)
Led by their elite offense, the Saints have cruised to a playoff berth already. They will likely be looking at a bye week to open the postseason and play the Panthers twice as well as the Steelers to finish the year.
Carolina Panthers (6-7)
The Panthers started off the season looking like a near lock for a postseason spot. The team then proceeded to come crashing back down to earth, losing five straight games. They are now on the bubble, but it's not looking likely that make the playoffs, especially considering they play the Saints twice.