December is here and not only are football fans looking forward to the Christmas holiday, but they’re also looking forward to seeing which NFL teams will make the Playoffs this year.
With just one month remaining in the 2020 regular season, let’s break down the chances of the teams in both conferences that are on the fence in regards to making the postseason. Keep in mind, the Top 7 teams in each conference will make the Playoffs this year. It’s a new rule just implemented in 2020.
NFL betting sites have released odds on each of these teams, so let’s huddle up and see where we should place our wagers.
The current AFC standings are prior to the Steelers vs Ravens game that has been pushed back to Wednesday at 3:40 PM ET. Prior to that game, the AFC standings are as follows:
Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0)
Kansas City Chiefs (10-1)
Tennessee Titans (8-3)
Buffalo Bills (8-3)
Cleveland Browns (8-3)
Miami Dolphins (7-4)
Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
Outside of Playoffs
Baltimore Ravens (6-4)
Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
New England Patriots (5-6)
Will the Baltimore Ravens Make the Playoffs?
Right now, the Baltimore Ravens are sitting in 8th place at 6-4. They’re a half game out of the final Wild Card spots held by the Dolphins and the Colts. Furthermore, they’re just a half-game ahead of the Raiders who are in 9th.
Unfortunately, the Ravens have been hit hard by the pandemic and have over 15 players out of the Week 12 matchup against the Steelers. It was so bad that the NFL postponed the game three times, eventually pushing it back to Wednesday, December 2nd.
I don’t see the Ravens beating the Steelers this week. When they were both at full strength, the Steelers defeated Baltimore 28 to 24 four weeks ago.
However, even if the Ravens lose and fall to 6-5, they have a winnable final five games that should put them in contention for a Playoff spot.
As of now, Baltimore is not going to win the division. But, they play against the Cowboys, Browns, Jaguars, Giants and Bengals to close out the season. I see the Ravens going 5-0 during that stretch as they crushed the Browns in Week 1 by the score of 38 to 6.
Right now, I am taking the Ravens to make the Playoffs. But, I would wait to wager on this prop bet until after they lose to the Steelers that way you get better value.
Will Baltimore Ravens Make Playoffs? –Yes (-250)
Will the Cleveland Browns Make the Playoffs?
The Cleveland Browns have won three straight games and climbed up to 8-3 overall, which is tied for the 3rd best record in the AFC. However, since they’re in the AFC North, the Browns will not win the division as it belongs to Pittsburgh.
Yet, that doesn’t mean they won’t make the Playoffs. In fact, they hold their postseason destiny in their own hands with games against the Titans, Ravens, Giants, Jets and Steelers.
Now, let’s say they go 2-3 down the stretch and finish 10-6 overall. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you think the Dolphins, Colts, Raiders, Ravens and Patriots can all hit that 10 win mark. Those five teams will be playing for the final two Playoff spots in the AFC.
If the Browns can go 3-2 down the stretch, then an 11-5 record would definitely get them in. As of now, I still believe they will make the postseason with a 10-6 record. However, there’s no value with this prop bet.
Will Cleveland Browns Make Playoffs? –Yes (-350)
Will the Indianapolis Colts Make the Playoffs?
Unlike the Ravens, Browns, Raiders and Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts still have a fighting chance at winning the AFC South division. Right now, they’re one game back of the Tennessee Titans.
Yet, the Titans do have the better divisional record as well, which means that the Colts will need to finish one game better than Tennessee to win the division.
The Colts have a challenging schedule the rest of the way with two games against the surging Houston Texans, another divisional matchup versus the Jaguars, and non-divisional opponents the Raiders and Steelers.
I see Indy going 3-2 down the stretch as they should beat the Texans, Raiders and Jaguars. If they can sweep Houston then the Colts could go 4-1 and finish 11-5 overall.
Unfortunately, the Titans have a winnable final stretch of the season as well. They play the Browns, Jaguars, Lions, Packers and Texans. Even if Tennessee goes 3-2 down the stretch, they will still finish 11-5 and most likely hold the tie breaker over the Colts.
Indy has a small chance at winning the division, but they will most likely nail down a Wild Card spot instead. At -150 odds to make the Playoffs, I like this wager.
Will Indianapolis Colts Make Playoffs? –Yes (-150)
Will the Las Vegas Raiders Make the Playoffs?
The Las Vegas Raiders’ Playoff chances took a big hit in Week 12 after they were crushed by the Atlanta Falcons by the score of 43 to 6. The loss dropped Las Vegas to one game behind the Colts and Dolphins for the final Playoff spots.
Fortunately for their diehard fan base, the Raiders do still have a chance at a postseason birth. In addition to playing the Jets, Chargers and Broncos, the Raiders also play the Dolphins and Colts. If Las Vegas can win out then they’re in.
However, that is a big “if.”
For starters, the Raiders have two divisional matchups which are always tough. Next, they don’t have the firepower on offense to combat the teams with good defenses like the Colts.
Lastly, I just don’t trust Derek Carr to outplay Philip Rivers for the Colts or Lamar Jackson for the Ravens. I think the Raiders will fall short of making the Playoffs this year. Although, I do see them finishing at least 8-8, possibly 9-7 this season.
As for this prop bet, wait to bet on it until after the Raiders beat the Jets in Week 13. The odds will shift and there should be better value for the “no” option.
Will Las Vegas Raiders Make Playoffs? –No (-165)
Will the Miami Dolphins Make the Playoffs?
The Miami Dolphins are the surprise team of the year. They were not expected to be this competitive, yet they’re currently in the 6th seed for the AFC and just one game back of the Bills for the lead in the AFC East division.
With that said, I don’t think the Dolphins will make the post season. As I’ve mentioned, you need at least 10 wins to get in. Even though Miami already has seven wins, I don’t see them hitting the magical number of 10.
Miami still plays the Bengals, Chiefs, Patriots, Raiders and Bills. Their last two games are on the road as well. This looks like a 2-3 stretch for the Dolphins which will leave them at 9-7 on the season.
I see the Dolphins losing to the Chiefs, Bills and probably the Patriots who are also making a run at the Playoffs. New England could be 7-6 when they meet the Dolphins who will probably be 8-5 at the time.
I like the value for this prop bet as both options offer a solid return. With that said, I’m going with the “no” option at -130 odds.
Will Miami Dolphins Make Playoffs? –No (-130)
The NFC Playoff Picture
Prior to Week 13, the NFC standings are as follows:
New Orleans Saints (9-2)
Seattle Seahawks (8-3)
Green Bay Packers (8-3)
New York Giants (4-7)
Los Angeles Rams (7-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
Arizona Cardinals (6-5)
Outside of the Playoffs
Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
Chicago Bears (5-6)
San Francisco 49ers (5-6)
Will the Arizona Cardinals Make the Playoffs?
As it stands right now, the Arizona Cardinals are the last seed in the NFC Playoff standings, just one game ahead of the Vikings, Bears and 49ers.
Arizona has lost two straight games including a last second defeat to the Patriots. They’ve dropped three of their last four games and have fallen to 6-5 overall after going 5-2 prior to that stretch.
The Cardinals have one of the most explosive offenses in the league, but their defense has been inconsistent at times.
For the Cardinals to make the Playoffs, they’re going to have to go through two NFC West rivals as they have two games against the Rams and one against the 49ers still remaining. Sandwiched between those games are matchups against the Giants and the Eagles.
Unlike the AFC, I don’t believe the magic number is 10 wins. I can see a Wild Card team being 9-7 overall.
Right now, I believe the Saints, Seahawks, and Packers will win their respective divisions. The NFC East is wide open, but the winner will most likely have a losing record, which means that division won’t be in the Wild Card race.
So, the three Wild Card spots will come down to the Rams, Bucs, Cardinals, Vikings, Bears and 49ers. Of that mix, you can eliminate the Bears since they have no QB and a terrible offense. I’ll examine the 49ers and Vikings below.
Of these five teams, the Rams have the toughest remaining schedule. They face the Cardinals twice, Seattle, the Patriots and the Jets. The Bucs play the Vikings, Falcons twice and the Lions.
I see the Bucs going at least 10-6 if not 11-5, so they will get in. That leaves two Wild Card spots for the Rams, Cardinals, Vikings and 49ers.
The Cardinals need to go 4-1 to have a great shot at making the Playoffs. The Rams will need to go at least 3-2, the Vikings and 49ers will have to go at least 4-1 as well.
Right now, I believe the Cardinals will get in. That offense should carry the Cardinals to the postseason. There’s value with both betting options.
Will Arizona Cardinals Make Playoffs? –Yes (-130)
Will the Minnesota Vikings Make the Playoffs?
The Minnesota Vikings have turned their season around after starting 0-3. They’ve won four of their last five games and have an outside shot at making the Playoffs.
The Vikings still have games against the Jaguars, Bucs, Bears, Saints and Lions. That’s at least a 3-2 stretch to close out the season. Unfortunately, that won’t be enough as they’re 5-6 right now.
Minnesota needs to go at least 4-1 to have a realistic shot at the Playoffs. And, I just don’t see that happening. I don’t believe the Vikings will beat the Bucs and the Saints.
And, even if they do go 4-1 to finish 9-7 on the season, they would need the Cardinals to go 3-2 or 2-3 depending on who has the better NFC conference record tie breaker.
Wait until after Week 13 to bet on this wager as the Vikings should beat the Jaguars and that would drop their “no” odds down considerably.
Will Minnesota Vikings Make Playoffs? –No (-300)
Will the San Francisco 49ers Make the Playoffs?
Tied with the Bears and the Vikings are the San Francisco 49ers who have had the worst luck when it comes to injuries this year. Never before have we seen one team lose so many players to injury especially key starters on both sides of the ball.
Yet, even with the deck stacked against them, the 49ers have been able to claw their way back into the Playoff hunt. They’re currently just one game back of the Cardinals for the last Playoff spot.
Unfortunately, they have a few big factors working against them during this final stretch of the season.
First, the 49ers have to play their next two home games in Arizona due to the recent health restrictions from Santa Clara County which banned contact sports for the next three weeks.
Second, the 49ers have a worse conference record than the Bears, Vikings and Cardinals. However, they do have four NFC games left which could help improve their conference mark by the end of the season.
Third, San Francisco has a tough schedule with games against the Bills, Washington, Dallas, Arizona and Seattle. I see the 49ers going 3-2 at best and I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up 2-3.
For a team that needs to go at least 4-1 to have any real shot at making the Playoffs, it just seems that the odds are against the 49ers in more ways than one.
Will San Francisco 49ers Make Playoffs? –No (-350)
Which Teams Make the Playoffs?
For the AFC, I like the Steelers, Chiefs, Titans and Bills to win their divisions. From there, I like the Browns, Colts and Ravens to snag the three Wild Card sports.
For the NFC, I like the Saints, Packers, Seahawks and Washington to win their divisions. From there, I like the Buccaneers, Rams and Cardinals to lock down the three Wild Card spots.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …