NFL Playoff Predictions 2020: San Francisco and New Orleans Could Decide Top NFC Spot

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are playing to get the top seed in our NFC playoff predictions

Drew Brees and the Saints can take a big step toward getting the top NFC spot (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)

This week’s game slate features several matchups that will have significant implications on 2020 NFL playoffs predictions and round-by-round playoff odds.

We examine some of those key matchups below, after we share our NFL playoff predictions heading into Week 14. These predictions are based on simulations of the remaining NFL season, using our algorithmic power ratings to determine win odds for every remaining game.

AFC Playoff Predictions & Odds 2020

Here is our prediction for the AFC Playoff seeding, heading into Week 14:

SeedTeamProj RecordPlayoffs Odds
1Baltimore13.2 - 2.8100.0%
2New England13.4 - 2.6100.0%
3Kansas City10.4 - 5.699.3%
4Houston10.2 - 5.886.7%
5Buffalo10.6 - 5.494.8%
6Pittsburgh9.0 - 7.052.9%

Here are the other AFC teams that still have at least a 0.05% chance of reaching the playoffs, along with their odds to do so:

TeamProj RecordPlayoffs Odds
Tennessee9.2 - 6.847.3%
Indianapolis7.8 - 8.28.7%
Oakland7.5 - 8.56.9%
Cleveland7.3 - 8.73.1%
Denver5.8 - 10.20.3%
Jacksonville5.8 - 10.20.1%
NY Jets5.4 - 10.60.1%

NFC Playoff Predictions & Odds 2020

Here is our prediction for the NFC Playoff seeding, heading into Week 14:

SeedTeamProj RecordPlayoffs Odds
1San Francisco12.7 - 3.399.3%
2New Orleans12.1 - 3.9100.0%
3Green Bay11.5 - 4.593.8%
4Dallas8.5 - 7.574.1%
5Seattle12.2 - 3.899.0%
6Minnesota10.7 - 5.380.8%

Here are the other NFC teams that still have at least a 0.05% chance of reaching the playoffs, along with their odds to do so:

TeamProj RecordPlayoffs Odds
Philadelphia7.6 - 8.426.0%
LA Rams9.1 - 6.924.1%
Chicago7.5 - 8.52.7%
Tampa Bay7.2 - 8.80.4%

Super Bowl Predictions & Odds 2020

Here are our projected Super Bowl odds for the top ten favorites.

TeamDivisionNew Super Bowl Win OddsSuper Bowl Win Odds Change
BaltimoreAFC North28.9%4.2%
New EnglandAFC East24.8%-6.3%
San FranciscoNFC West17.2%-0.5%
New OrleansNFC South6.4%1.5%
SeattleNFC West5.3%1.7%
Kansas CityAFC West4.6%1.1%
Green BayNFC North3.4%0.5%
MinnesotaNFC North3.1%-2.1%
DallasNFC East2.0%-0.7%
HoustonAFC South1.4%0.3%

Key Matchups Impacting 2020 NFL Playoffs Predictions

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

The Bills seemed to quiet the skeptics with a big win at Dallas on Thanksgiving. A win over the current Super Bowl favorite would be an even bigger statement. Buffalo is in comfortable contention for the top Wild Card spot in the AFC. The Bills also stand a chance to end New England’s reign in the AFC East, trailing by just one game in the standings. Meanwhile, Baltimore is trying to keep rolling aboard the Lamar Jackson train, currently standing as the No. 1 seed in the AFC by virtue of defeating New England head-to-head.

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Siants

The outcome of this NFC showdown could go a long way in determining playoff seeding. Both the Saints and 49ers are 10-2, though the teams also have brutal remaining schedules. New Orleans has basically wrapped up the NFC South title. San Francisco is tied with Seattle in the NFC West with a visit to the Seahawks in Week 17.

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

The Chiefs took care of business last week vs. Oakland, while the sky is seemingly falling in New England after a loss at Houston. The Patriots will try to stop the bleeding against the Chiefs. Both teams have 99%-plus odds to make the playoffs, according to our projections. But a loss by the Patriots would put their quest for homefield advantage in even bigger jeopardy.

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams

Seattle has become the king of winning close games, with nine of their 10 victories coming by eight points or less. That includes a 30-29 win over the Rams in Week 5. The Seahawks are still trying to keep pace with the 49ers in the NFC West, with a realistic shot of winning the division. The defending NFC Champion Rams are just trying to hold onto their slim playoff hopes at 7-5, one game behind the Vikings. Minnesota is a huge favorite vs. Detroit this week, so the Rams can ill-afford to lose this matchup.

Tiebreakers for Potential 2020 Playoff Teams

In this section, we list the clinched tiebreakers in both the AFC and NFC. You can see the full list of NFL tiebreaker procedures here.

These charts include all teams within two games of a playoff spot (division or wildcard). They also only list the tiebreaker resolution for teams within two games of each other entering Week 14. It also only includes clinched tiebreakers. For example, New England beat Buffalo earlier this year, and the two teams meet again in Week 16. As of right now, New England has not clinched the head-to-head tiebreaker, since Buffalo can win the next matchup.

Here are the AFC clinched tiebreakers:

Tiebreak WinnerReasonTiebreak Loser
BaltimoreH2HNew England
BaltimoreH2HHouston
HoustonH2HNew England
Houston H2HOakland
HoustonH2HKansas City
Kansas CityH2HBaltimore
Kansas CityH2HOakland
BuffaloH2HTennessee
PittsburghH2HIndianapolis
TennesseeH2HKansas City
TennesseeH2HCleveland
OaklandH2HIndianapolis
IndianapolisH2HKansas City

Next, here are the NFC clinched tiebreakers.

Tiebreak WinnerReasonTiebreak Loser
New OrleansH2HSeattle
SeattleH2HMinnesota
San FranciscoH2HGreen Bay
MinnesotaH2HDallas
LA RamsH2HChicago
ChicagoDIVMinnesota
PhiladelphiaH2HChicago

Finally, some additional notes on key potential tiebreaker scenarios:

  • Pittsburgh and Tennessee are currently tied for the last AFC wildcard spot. They do not play head-to-head. The first tiebreaker would be conference record, which Pittsburgh leads, with a 6-3 record versus 5-4 for Tennessee. Pittsburgh can also clinch the common games tiebreaker (in the event the teams are tied on conference record) by beating Buffalo in Week 15.
  • Minnesota leads the Los Angeles Rams by one game for the final NFC wildcard spot. The first tiebreaker would be conference record. The Vikings are 6-3 in the NFC currently, while the Rams are 5-3. The Rams currently lead the common games, 2-1 versus 2-2 for Minnesota. That makes this week’s game against Seattle a big one for the Rams, as they need a win not only to keep pace, but it also is a valuable win for both the conference and common games tiebreaker.

We hope you enjoyed our NFL Playoff Predictions. Enjoy NFL Week 14, and if you’re in an NFL pool or planning on betting some of the Week 14 games, please check out our NFL Survivor PicksFootball Pick’em Pool Picks, and NFL Betting Picks.


NFL Playoff Predictions, Week of November 26th

AFC Playoff Predictions & Odds 2020

Here is our prediction for the AFC Playoff seeding, heading into Week 13:

SeedTeamProj RecordPlayoff Odds
1New England14.2 - 1.8100.0%
2Baltimore12.9 - 3.199.9%
3Kansas City10.2 - 5.894.6%
4Houston9.6 - 6.475.9%
5Buffalo9.8 - 6.279.4%
6Pittsburgh8.5 - 7.545.0%

Here are the other AFC teams that still have a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs, along with their odds to do so:

TeamProj RecordPlayoff Odds
Tennessee8.5 - 7.534.9%
Indianapolis8.4 - 7.633.9%
Cleveland7.7 - 8.318.2%
Oakland7.7 - 8.315.0%
LA Chargers6.6 - 9.41.2%
Jacksonville6.3 - 9.71.0%
NY Jets6.1 - 9.90.6%
Denver5.2 - 10.80.3%

NFC Playoff Predictions & Odds 2020

Here is our prediction for the NFC Playoff seeding, heading into Week 13:

SeedTeamProj RecordPlayoff Odds
1San Francisco13.1 - 2.999.6%
2New Orleans11.7 - 4.398.8%
3Minnesota11.2 - 4.892.6%
4Dallas9.3 - 6.773.8%
5Seattle11.7 - 4.396.2%
6Green Bay11.1 - 4.991.7%

Here are the other NFC teams that still have a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs, along with their odds to do so:

TeamProj RecordPlayoff Odds
Philadelphia8.4 - 7.628.0%
LA Rams8.6 - 7.414.7%
Carolina7.5 - 8.52.5%
Chicago6.9 - 9.11.9%
Tampa Bay6.6 - 9.40.2%

Super Bowl Predictions & Odds 2020

Here are our projected Super Bowl odds for the top ten favorites.

TeamDivisionNew Super Bowl Win OddsSuper Bowl Win Odds Change
New EnglandAFC East31.1%-2.6%
BaltimoreAFC North24.7%6.5%
San FranciscoNFC West17.7%3.2%
MinnesotaNFC North5.2%-0.6%
New OrleansNFC South4.9%-0.7%
SeattleNFC West3.7%0.8%
Kansas CityAFC West3.5%-1.3%
Green BayNFC North2.9%-3.1%
DallasNFC East2.7%0.2%
HoustonAFC South1.1%-0.5%

Key Matchups Impacting 2020 NFL Playoffs Predictions

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs currently hold a one-game lead over the Raiders in the AFC West and also own the tiebreaker after winning at Oakland in Week 2. The lead would be nearly insurmountable if the Chiefs win this week, as they would have a two-game lead over Oakland at 8-4 and also own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Even prior to the matchup, we give the Chiefs a 93% chance to win their fourth consecutive AFC West title.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

The Titans and Colts remain in the hunt in the AFC South, just one game behind the Texans. The teams are also tied with Pittsburgh and Oakland for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. While we don’t give either team more than a 35% chance to make the playoffs this year, the winner of this game will certainly get a boost, especially with Houston (vs. Patriots) and Oakland (at Chiefs) in tough Week 13 matchups.

San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens

The rematch of Super Bowl XLVII could also be a preview of Super Bowl LIV, with San Francisco and Baltimore both currently in prime positions. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the favorite for league MVP, but Baltimore will be playing on a short week after defeating the Rams on Monday. The 49ers are still at risk of losing the NFC West, leading Seattle by only one game, and the Ravens are trying to jump New England for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

New England Patriots at Houston Texans

AFC division leaders will square off when the Patriots visit Houston. At 10-1, the Patriots are hoping to hold onto homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, while Houston is currently leading the AFC South by just one game ahead of Tennessee and Indianapolis.

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks

The Vikings and Seahawks are in similar spots entering Week 13. Minnesota is tied with Green Bay for the NFC North lead at 8-3, while the Seahawks are 9-2, trailing the 49ers by one game in the NFC West. Both teams have better than a 90% chance to make the playoffs, according to our current projections, but a win would be a major boost for their hopes of winning their respective divisions.

We hope you enjoyed our NFL Playoff Predictions. Enjoy NFL Week 13, and if you’re in an NFL pool or planning on betting some of the Week 12 games, please check out our NFL Survivor PicksFootball Pick’em Pool Picks, and NFL Betting Picks.


NFL Playoff Predictions, Week of November 19th

AFC Playoff Predictions & Odds 2020

Here is our prediction for the AFC Playoff seeding, heading into Week 12:

SeedTeamProj RecordPlayoff Odds
1New England13.9 - 2.1100.0%
2Baltimore12.3 - 3.799.4%
3Kansas City10.1 - 5.991.2%
4Houston9.3 - 6.769.7%
5Buffalo9.4 - 6.663.6%
6Indianapolis8.8 - 7.250.0%

Here are the other AFC teams that still have a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs, along with their odds to do so:

TeamProjected WinsPlayoff Odds
Pittsburgh 8.3 - 7.739.1%
Oakland8.5 - 7.535.6%
Tennessee8.0 - 8.023.6%
Cleveland 7.6 - 8.418.6%
Jacksonville6.7 - 9.35.9%
LA Chargers6.5 - 9.51.6%
Denver5.7 - 10.31.4%
NY Jets5.4 - 10.60.3%

NFC Playoff Predictions & Odds 2020

Here is our prediction for the NFC Playoff seeding, heading into Week 12:

SeedTeamProj RecordPlayoff Odds
1San Francisco12.6 - 3.496.6%
2Green Bay11.6 - 4.492.6%
3New Orleans11.5 - 4.594.3%
4Dallas9.4 - 6.664.6%
5Minnesota11.1 - 4.988.2%
6Seattle11.0 - 5.079.3%

Here are the other NFC teams that still have a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs, along with their odds to do so:

TeamProjected WinsPlayoff Odds
Philadelphia9.1 - 6.943.5%
LA Rams9.4 - 6.631.1%
Carolina7.8 - 8.28.2%
Chicago6.8 - 9.21.2%
Detroit5.8 - 10.20.2%
Atlanta6.0 - 10.00.1%

Super Bowl Predictions & Odds 2020

Here are our projected Super Bowl odds for the top ten favorites.

TeamDivisionNew Super Bowl Win OddsSuper Bowl Win Odds Change
New EnglandAFC East33.8%0.7%
BaltimoreAFC North18.2%5.4%
San FranciscoNFC West14.5%-2.7%
Green BayNFC North6.0%-0.8%
MinnesotaNFC North5.8%-0.5%
New OrleansNFC South5.6%1.8%
Kansas CityAFC West4.9%0.0%
SeattleNFC West2.9%0.1%
DallasNFC East2.5%0.4%
HoustonAFC South1.5%-2.5%

Key Matchups Impacting 2020 NFL Playoffs Predictions

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Perhaps no game in Week 12 has bigger playoff implications than the Thursday Night Football showdown between AFC South rivals Indianapolis and Houston. The teams are tied in the division at 6-4, but the Colts currently own the tiebreaker after defeating the Texans in Indy back in Week 7. The teams are also in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race, but winning the division is clearly the easier path for each team. The Colts would own the division tiebreaker over the Texans with a second head-to-head win, but the Titans (5-5) and Jaguars (4-6) are also still within striking distance.

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle still has some hope to win the NFC West, trailing the 49ers by one game at 8-2, but are more likely looking at a Wild Card berth. They can help their cause significantly with a win at Philadelphia, who is still competing for an NFC East title at 5-5, one game behind the Cowboys. Philadelphia is also hoping to avoid losing back-to-back games after they lost to New England 17-10 on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots

The Eagles failed to beat the Patriots last week, but now another NFC East team gets a shot. Dallas currently has a one game lead over the Eagles in the division but will get a difficult test as they visit the one-loss Patriots. As for New England, they’re currently sitting pretty as the No. 1 seed in the AFC at 9-1 and have a 99.5% chance of winning the AFC East, but a loss and Ravens win in Week 12 would open up the door for the Ravens to get the top seed, as they already have the tiebreaker over the Patriots.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

This week’s Sunday Night Football game features a pair of long-time NFC powers that have returned to glory in 2019. Green Bay currently holds a half-game lead over the Vikings in the NFC North at 8-2 and would slot in as the conference’s No. 2 seed if the season ended today. San Francisco remains the No. 1 seed in the conference at 9-1 but have Seattle breathing down their necks in the NFC West at 8-2. The game has huge implications both for the teams’ respective divisions and conference seeding.

We hope you enjoyed our NFL Playoff Predictions. Enjoy NFL Week 12, and if you’re in an NFL pool or planning on betting some of the Week 12 games, please check out our NFL Survivor PicksFootball Pick’em Pool Picks, and NFL Betting Picks.