NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Playoff odds edition

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Mark LoMoglio/AP)

Outside of a random Week 13 rest for the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL’s bye weeks are done — which means we can officially kick off the unofficial stretch run of the season.

As we hit this milestone, it feels like a perfect time to get a sense of the post-season picture by checking in on playoff odds for each team.

For this week's power rankings, our expert panel includes editors Geoff Lowe and Craig Battle, and staff writers Mike Johnston and Emily Sadler.

Note: Playoff odds numbers via Football Outsiders.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2020 record: 10-0
Last week: 1
Playoff odds: 100.0%

We already know they're playoff-bound, but the dominant Steelers can mathematically make it official with a Thanksgiving victory over Baltimore plus a Dolphins loss and Raiders loss. (ES)

2. Kansas City Chiefs

2020 record: 9-1
Last week: 2
Playoff odds: 99.9%

After avenging an early-October loss to the Raiders and pulling out a squeaker for the second straight week — three of Kansas City’s wins have come by four points or fewer — this team is a lock for the post-season. But upcoming road games against Tampa and New Orleans will test this team and its suddenly lacking pass rush. (CB)

3. New Orleans Saints

2020 record: 8-2
Last week: 3
Playoff odds: 99.7%

Even with Drew Brees injured, the Saints are the class of the NFC. Taysom Hill is more than a mere gadget player and the defence has allowed 25 total points over the past three weeks. (MJ)

4. Buffalo Bills

2020 record: 7-3
Last week: 4
Playoff odds: 89.1%

Rest wasn’t the only benefit of the bye week for Buffalo, who not only saw their playoff odds jump two per cent, but also watched their division hopes take a jump as the Dolphins fell to the Broncos. The Bills now have an 80-per cent chance of winning the AFC East for the first time since 1995. (GL)

5. Indianapolis Colts

2020 record: 7-3
Last week: 9
Playoff odds: 86.2%

They’ve won four of their last five and put up at least 31 points in each of those wins. The Colts are back to being a factor in the AFC. (MJ)

6. Los Angeles Rams

2020 record: 7-3
Last week: 11
Playoff odds: 97.6%

How’s that for a statement game? Just when the NFC West started to feel like a two-horse race, the Rams come out with a huge road win on Monday night against a favoured Buccaneers team. Jared Goff and co. scored field goals late in each the first and second halves — which ended up being the difference — to claim first place in the division by tie break over Seattle. (CB)

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 record: 7-4
Last week: 5
Playoff odds: 92.1%

Getting into the playoffs shouldn’t be an issue. Winning in the playoffs will be, though. The Bucs have been inconsistent and haven’t beaten a quality defence this year. (MJ)

8. Green Bay Packers

2020 record: 7-3
Last week: 6
Playoff odds: 92.2%

A win over Indianapolis on Sunday would've put them atop the entire NFC, but their overtime loss instead has them one back of New Orleans for that top spot. Their grasp on the division, however, is looking pretty firm. (ES)

9. Seattle Seahawks

2020 record: 7-3
Last week: 12
Playoff odds: 96.3%

The Seahawks sit here thanks in part to Arizona defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick, who refused to take the win after stopping Seattle on third down in the third quarter, and swung the momentum of the game — and the race for the NFC West title? — with a brutal 15-yard penalty by taunting DK Metcalf. (CB)

10. Arizona Cardinals

2020 record: 6-4
Last week: 8
Playoff odds: 66.0%

11. Tennessee Titans

2020 record: 7-3
Last week: 13
Playoff odds: 79.2%

A huge comeback overtime win over the Ravens gives the Titans some nice momentum heading into an important rematch with the Colts. (MJ)

12. Baltimore Ravens

2020 record: 6-4
Last week: 10
Playoff odds: 75.3%

This time last year, the Ravens were 8-2 and already six straight victories into what would be a 12-week win streak all the way into the AFC's top seed and an MVP victory for Lamar Jackson.

Three losses in November — kicked off by the Steelers in Week 8 — puts a ton of pressure on their Thanksgiving night rematch in Pittsburgh. (ES)

13. Miami Dolphins

2020 record: 6-4
Last week: 7
Playoff odds: 49.1%

The Dolphins entered the weekend winners of five straight and with more than a 66-per cent chance at a post-season berth. Sunday’s surprise loss to the Broncos, which featured Tua Tagovailoa getting the hook for Ryan Fitzpatrick, now puts Miami’s chances at less than 50 per cent. (GL)

14. Cleveland Browns

2020 record: 7-3
Last week: 15
Playoff odds: 49.7%

The dominance of the Steelers is the talk of the AFC, but the Browns could be the second-best story in the North if they keep up this successful run and earn a playoff spot for just the second time since their return to Cleveland (they lost a wild-card matchup to Pittsburgh in 2002). (ES)

15. Las Vegas Raiders

2020 record: 6-4
Last week: 14
Playoff odds: 65.9%

How is it that the Raiders are just scuttling by with a +10 point differential for the season, and yet are +4 in two games against arguably the best team in the league in the Chiefs? (CB)

16. San Francisco 49ers

2020 record: 4-6
Last week: 18
Playoff odds: 4.6%

Despite all the injuries, if the ’9ers called the NFC East home they’d be shoe-ins for a division crown. But they reside in the NFC West, where they are two games out of third place. What’s more, their prize coming out of their Week 11 bye will be the surging Rams. (CB)

17. Chicago Bears

2020 record: 5-5
Last week: 19
Playoff odds: 36.3%

Which version of the Bears will emerge from the bye? Will it be the 5-1 club we saw through the first six weeks of the season, or the one that frittered it all away? Sunday night against the Packers seems like a good time to find out. (ES)

18. Minnesota Vikings

2020 record: 4-6
Last week: 16
Playoff odds: 8.1%

Three straight wins saw them defeat all three of their divisional foes in consecutive weeks and had us wondering if we'd labeled them non-contenders a little too soon. But the Cowboys stopped them reaching .500 on the season, which has us thinking we may just hang on to that label for now. (ES)

19. New England Patriots

2020 record: 4-6
Last week: 17
Playoff odds: 4.2%

The Patriots’ already slim playoff hopes in a tough AFC post-season picture were more than halved after this weekend’s loss to the Texans, who had previously only earned wins against the Jaguars this season. New England’s 11-year playoff streak is officially on life support. (GL)

20. Denver Broncos

2020 record: 4-6
Last week: 26
Playoff odds: 0.6%

Denver dominated the line of scrimmage Sunday, controlling the game and sending Tua Tagovailoa to the bench early. It makes you wonder what this defence could’ve done this season with a better, less-turnover-prone offence. (CB)

21. Carolina Panthers

2020 record: 4-7
Last week: 24
Playoff odds: 2.3%

No Teddy Bridgewater, no Christian McCaffrey, no problem. The Panthers are simply a well-coached team on the rise. P.J. Walker won his first start in the NFL. (MJ)

22. Los Angeles Chargers

2020 record: 3-7
Last week: 25
Playoff odds: 0.4%

Coincidence? The Chargers’ three wins this season have come against the three lowest-ranked teams on this list. But it’s far from all bad. Specifically: man was that Justin Herbert pick ever a home run. (CB)

23. Houston Texans

2020 record: 3-7
Last week: 28
Playoff odds: 0.4%

The toughest part of their schedule is behind them, the defence showed some pride in a win over the Patriots and Deshaun Watson is rolling at the moment. (MJ)

24. Atlanta Falcons

2020 record: 3-7
Last week: 22
Playoff odds: 0.1%

Unable to score a single touchdown against the Saints, this Falcons team is brutal to watch considering all the talent going to waste this season. (MJ)

25. Philadelphia Eagles

2020 record: 3-6-1
Last week: 21
Playoff odds: 25.9%

Another bad loss for the Eagles means they are no longer favourites in the NFC East, and will watch their precarious hold on the division lead slip away on Thursday when Dallas hosts Washington. Philadelphia will need to be a much better team down the stretch to make the post-season, and there’s no reason to think it can be. (GL)

26. Dallas Cowboys

2020 record: 3-7
Last week: 29
Playoff odds: 24.2%

The Cowboys scored more than 30 points in Sunday’s win for the first time since Dak Prescott got hurt, and if it continues with Andy Dalton under centre, you’ve got to like Dallas’s chances in the NFC East. A win over Washington Thursday would see the Cowboys take the NFC East lead, and they face just one opponent with a record above .500 the rest of the way. (GL)

27. New York Giants

2020 record: 3-7
Last week: 27
Playoff odds: 33.0%

Another big beneficiary of a week off, the Giants emerge from the bye as favourites to win the NFC East. But don’t be surprised if it’s not New York that emerges as the division champs as the team faces are really tough schedule through to the end of the season. (GL)

28. Detroit Lions

2020 record: 4-6
Last week: 23
Playoff odds: 4.5%

Sunday's goose egg against Carolina (and their backup QB out of the XFL) makes 4.5% feel a little generous, no? (ES)

29. Washington Football Team

2020 record: 3-7
Last week: 31
Playoff odds: 17.0%

A win over the Joe Burrow-less Bengals boosted Washington’s playoff hopes by about five per cent, but a win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving would surely bump that number up significantly. Washington dominated Dallas a few weeks ago, making Thursday’s clash surprisingly must-see. (GL)

30. Cincinnati Bengals

2020 record: 2-7-1
Last week: 20
Playoff odds: 0.0%

Playing in such a strong division, the odds were stacked against them from the start. Joe Burrow's devastating knee injury, which cuts his phenomenal rookie campaign short, rules them out entirely and has the whole league sending him well-wishes for a strong recovery in time for next season. (ES)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars

2020 record: 1-9
Last week: 30
Playoff odds: 0.0%

The Jets are the only team below the Jags in the standings. Like we’ve said since the summer. This season is all about the No. 1 pick for Jacksonville. (MJ)

32. New York Jets

2020 record: 0-10
Last week: 32
Playoff odds: 0.0%

Their playoff odds isn’t the only zero the Jets are staring down as the season comes to a close – this team is at serious risk of going 0-16 with no games on their schedule that look winnable at this point in time. (GL)

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