NFL Playoff Picture 2019: Which Teams Have Clinched a Spot in the Postseason in Week 15?

With two weeks left in the regular season, the race for the playoffs is alive and well in the NFL.

On another dramatic weekend, teams that looked on the verge of booking their postseason berth stumbled, while teams that looked out of the picture have given themselves a chance, and Nick Foles has again kept Philadelphia's season alive.

Read more: Nick Foles saved the Eagles again and everyone on Twitter made the same joke

Here's the state of play after Week 15.


The Saints can take a decisive step towards securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a road win against the Panthers on Monday night. New Orleans, which has already won the NFC South, is 11-2 and can move a game clear of the Los Angeles Rams, who slipped to 11-3 after losing 30-23 against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

The defeat, the first the Rams have suffered at home all season, came after a 15-6 loss to Chicago last week and could complicate their postseason plans. Los Angeles travels to Arizona next week, before hosting the San Francisco 49ers in their final regular season game, while the Saints face the Panthers on Monday night and in Week 17—the latter meeting on home turf—with a home game against the Steelers sandwiched in between.

The Rams must win their remaining two games or face the risk of missing out on a first-round bye to the Chicago Bears. The Bears won a first NFC North title since 2010 after beating the Green Bay Packers 24-17 at home and now face consecutive road games in San Francisco and Minnesota to end the regular season.



— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 16, 2018

The Vikings strengthened their grip on the second wild card spot with a 41-17 thrashing of the Dolphins. Seattle, their conquerors from last week, still have the first wild card spot in their hands despite a disappointing overtime defeat on the road against the 49ers.

Both of the Seahawks' remaining games are at home, against the Chiefs on Sunday night and then against the Cardinals a week later.

The Cowboys also failed to clinch a playoff berth as their five-game winning streak came to an end in resounding fashion, with a 23-0 defeat in Indianapolis.

The result leaves Dallas top of the NFC East with an 8-6 record, ahead of a home game against Tampa Bay and a trip to New York to face the Giants in Week 17.

Behind Dallas, the Eagles and Washington are both 7-7 and both kept their season alive. Filling in for Carson Wentz, Foles led Philadelphia to an unexpected road win against the Rams exactly as he did 12 months ago.

Washington snapped a four-game losing streak with a 16-13 win in Jacksonville and will travel to Tennessee on Saturday, while the Eagles host the Texans. The NFC East rivals then go head-to-head in Washington in Week 17.

NFC current playoff spots

  1. New Orleans Saints 11-2, NFC South Champions.
  2. Los Angeles Rams 11-3, NFC West Champions.
  3. Chicago Bears 10-4, NFC North Champions.
  4. Dallas Cowboys 8-6, first in NFC East.
  5. Seattle Seahawks 8-6, wild card.
  6. Minnesota Vikings 7-6-1, wild card.


At 11-3, the Chiefs retain the best record in the conference but failed to clinch the AFC West after surrendering a two-touchdown lead and losing 29-28 to the Chargers on Thursday night.

Kansas City holds the division record tiebreaker but faces a testing trip to Seattle in Week 16, followed by a home game against Oakland.

The Chargers are also 11-3 and have clinched a first playoff berth since 2013, while the Texans moved up to second in the AFC rankings with a 29-22 road win against the Jets on Saturday.


— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 14, 2018

Houston is 10-4 and travel to Philadelphia next week, before hosting the Jaguars in Week 17. Behind them, the Patriots slipped to 9-5 after a 17-10 defeat in Pittsburgh, meaning they have missed the chance of securing a 10th consecutive AFC East title for the second consecutive week.

New England has lost two in a row but now faces relatively easy games, at home against the Bills and the Jets.

The Steelers' first win against the Patriots since 2011 came at the right time; it allowed them to retain a 0.5 games lead in the AFC North and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Pittsburgh faces a potentially very difficult road trip to New Orleans in Week 16, before hosting Cincinnati a week later.

The Ravens hold the second wild card spot in the AFC after improving to 8-6 following a 20-12 win against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Baltimore faces the Chargers on the road next week, before hosting the Browns in Week 17.

Behind them, the Colts and the Titans also moved to 8-6 with wins over the Cowboys and the Giants, respectively. The G-Men travel to Indianapolis on Sunday, while Tennessee hosts Washington.

The two AFC South rivals meet in Week 17 in a potential winner-takes-all showdown.

AFC current playoff spots

  • Kansas City Chiefs 11-3, first in AFC West.
  • Houston Texans 10-4, first in AFC South.
  • New England Patriots 9-5, first in AFC East.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 8-5-1, first in AFC North.
  • Los Angeles Chargers 11-3, wild card.
  • Baltimore Ravens 8-6, wild card.
Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jaylen Samuels #38 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a first down in the third quarter during the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on December 16 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Dan Cancian is currently a reporter for Newsweek based in London, England. Prior to joining Newsweek in January 2018, he was a news and business reporter at International Business Times UK. Dan has also written for The Guardian and The Observer. 

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts