Week 12 of the NFL season is upon us. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s no longer too early to be watching the standings. At this point, these teams have shown us what they are. Teams have six or seven games remaining to get themselves in the best position possible for the playoffs.
While some teams are looking good and a lot of other teams are looking bad, today, we’re talking about the middle tier of teams. There are a few teams in each conference competing for the final few wild card spots to get into the playoffs. What teams are favored to make the playoffs according to the oddsmakers?
Four team race in the AFC
According to the oddsmakers, five teams are sitting pretty when it comes to making the playoffs in the AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins are all -800 favorites or larger to make the playoffs currently at BetMGM.
If we lock those teams into a playoff spot, that would leave two wild card spots remaining. If we trust the betting odds, there’s no real separation between the four teams and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will get in.
The Cincinnati Bengals are the reigning AFC champions and with their 6-4 record, oddsmakers think they have the best chance of getting into the playoffs. Cincinnati is -175 to make the playoffs, odds which imply a probability of a little under 64%.
On the plus side for Cincinnati, they should be getting Ja’Marr Chase back from injury in the coming weeks. However, the Bengals have the third toughest remaining schedule in football. The only team remaining on their schedule with a losing record is the Cleveland Browns, a team that Joe Burrow is yet to beat. Cincinnati still has Kansas City, Buffalo, Baltimore, Tennessee, Tampa Bay and New England to get through. It’s a gauntlet.
Behind Cincinnati, the next most likely team to get in according to the odds is the Los Angeles Chargers, who are -110 to make the playoffs. Those odds imply that the Chargers getting into the playoffs is basically a coin flip.
The Chargers are just 5-5 which puts them behind the rest of the pack, but they have a relatively easy schedule down the stretch. Only four teams have an easier schedule than Los Angeles, who has five of seven games remaining against teams with losing records.
The New England Patriots are +100 to make the playoffs. They got a huge win last weekend against the Jets and their 2-0 record against New York might come into play down the stretch. The Patriots have the fourth toughest schedule remaining, as they still have to face Buffalo twice, Miami, Minnesota and Cincinnati.
While last weekend was great for the Patriots, it wasn’t good for the New York Jets. Not only did they lose a key game to the Patriots in the final few seconds, but Zach Wilson was absolutely terrible and now they have invited a full-blown quarterback controversy in the most important stretch of the season.
Robert Saleh hasn’t outright said that Wilson will be benched, but his most recent comments certainly opened that door. Whether it’s Joe Flacco, Mike White or Chris Streveler, the Jets’ quarterback will continue to be the team’s biggest weakness.
The Jets have a few winnable games on their schedule, including this weekend at home against the Chicago Bears. However, they still have the ninth toughest schedule remaining. The Jets are +125 to make the playoffs.
Four of these teams are all between 44.4% and 63.6% chance of making the playoffs according to the odds. Only two of them will get in. Indianapolis is somewhat hanging around, but at +650, they’re an extreme long shot to get in.
What about the NFC?
While there’s plenty of drama in the AFC playoff race, the NFC features noticeably less drama.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys are all favorites of -550 or bigger to get into the playoffs. Behind them, the 6-4 Seattle Seahawks are -300 favorites to make the playoffs. Seattle has the 7th easiest schedule down the stretch. These odds imply Seattle has a 75% chance to make the playoffs.
In fact, if you look at the odds, oddsmakers are telling you it might come down to just two teams for one spot.
Doubters of the New York Giants got to take a victory lap on Sunday, as New York was blown out on their home field by the lowly Detroit Lions. While nobody can really explain it, the Giants are still somehow 7-3 on the season. Despite that solid record, New York is just a -155 favorite to make the playoffs at BetMGM.
A lot of people have been waiting for the other foot to drop with the Giants all season long. They win a lot of close games, which usually makes a team a candidate for negative regression as time goes on. The roster is far from talented. Brian Daboll has made Daniel Jones look competent, but people are waiting for the old Daniel Jones to make an appearance, which he kind of did last weekend.
On top of all of the doubt with the Giants, they also have the toughest remaining schedule in football. The only team with a losing record remaining on their schedule is the Indianapolis Colts. They have two games remaining with Philadelphia, and one each with the Vikings and Cowboys.
However, the most important remaining games on their schedule might be the two games with the Washington Commanders. Oddsmakers view Washington as the most likely team to take New York’s playoff spot. The Commanders have won five of six games, including four of five since Taylor Heinicke took over.
Washington is currently +150 to make the playoffs. The results of the two head-to-head games against the Giants will go a long way in deciding who will make the playoffs in the NFC.
The Atlanta Falcons sit at 5-6 and they are +375 to make the playoffs. Behind them, Green Bay is +550, New Orleans is +600 and Detroit is +650. However, those are all long shots. Oddsmakers seem to think it’ll come down to Washington and New York for the last playoff spot.