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Ravens, Colts get key wins to bolster playoff possibilities

The NFL is chugging along through Week 11 of the 2019 regular season. We’ve got the latest look at the playoff picture heading into a big AFC West matchup on Monday Night Football.

A general view of Estadio Azteca prior to the game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders on November 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The NFL wrapped up Week 11 Sunday for the 2019 season, and we close out Week 10 with a big Monday Night Football contest in Mexico City featuring AFC West playoff contenders. The 4-6 Chargers and 6-4 Chiefs square off in a game that could actually propel the Raiders into first place in the division!

Sunday featured a couple of near big upsets and one particular notable upset in the NFC. The Falcons built on their Week 10 win over the Saints by crushing the Panthers 29-3. I’m not sure why the Falcons own Carolina the way they do, but the Panthers playoff chances took a big hit in a conference where the Seahawks and Vikings have firm control of the wild card picture.

We saw two near big upsets with the 49ers and Vikings both overcoming sizable deficits to beat the Cardinals and Broncos respectively. The 49ers trailed 16-0 while the Vikings trailed 20-0. The Seahawks were on bye, so the 49ers move to a full game up on them for the time being.

We’ve removed the Bears from the playoff picture for the time being. They dropped to 4-6 with their loss to the Rams on Sunday Night Football. Considering the wild card features teams that are 8-2 and 8-3, a 4-6 team needs to get really hot really soon before we start considering moving them back into the mix.

In the AFC, the Ravens made a serious statement as they thumped the Texans 41-7. The loss drops Houston into a tie with the Colts in the AFC South. Indianapolis has the head-to-head advantage thanks to a Week 7 win. However, the two teams square off on Thursday Night Football in Week 12, so we’ll get some temporary clarity.

Nobody in the AFC gets removed from the playoff picture for the time being. If the Chargers lose to the Chiefs on Monday, it might make sense to move them off. And yet, with so many 6-4 teams in the playoff hunt, things remain fairly wide open far down the standings.

Week 12 brings an assortment of huge matchups, but the biggest features the current top two teams in the NFC. The 9-1 49ers host the 8-2 Packers in a game that was flexed into Sunday Night Football. A Packers win moves Green Bay into the top spot and could move the Seahawks into first place in the NFC West. A 49ers win keeps them atop the NFC and potentially drops the Packers into a tie with Minnesota in the NFC North (Packers hold the tiebreaker for now).

Below is a full rundown of the playoff picture followed by key matchups in Week 12 for each conference.

NFC playoff picture

1. San Francisco 49ers: 9-1 (beat Cardinals 36-26)
2. Green Bay Packers: 8-2 (BYE)
3. New Orleans Saints: 8-2 (beat Bucs 34-17)
4. Dallas Cowboys: 6-4 (beat Lions 35-27)

5. Seattle Seahawks: 8-2 (BYE)
6. Minnesota Vikings: 8-3 (beat Broncos 27-23)

In the hunt: Los Angeles Rams (6-4), Carolina Panthers (5-4), Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)

Week 12 NFC matchups of note

Packers (8-2) @ 49ers (9-1)
Panthers (5-5) @ Saints (8-2)
Seahawks (8-2) @ Eagles (5-5)
Cowboys (6-4) @ Patriots (9-1)
Ravens (8-2) @ Rams (6-4)

AFC playoff picture

1. New England Patriots: 9-1 (beat Eagles 17-10)
2. Baltimore Ravens: 8-2 (beat Texans 41-7)
3. Indianapolis Colts: 6-4 (beat Jaguars 33-13)
4. Kansas City Chiefs: 6-4 (vs. Chargers, MNF)

5. Buffalo Bills: 7-3 (beat Dolphins 37-20)
6. Houston Texans: 6-4 (lost to Ravens 41-7)

In the hunt: Oakland Raiders (6-4), Pittsburgh steelers (5-5), Tennessee Titans (5-5), Cleveland Browns (4-6), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6), Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

Week 12 AFC matchups of note

Colts (6-4) @ Texans (6-4)
Jaguars (4-6) @ Titans (5-5)
Cowboys (6-4) @ Patriots (9-1)
Ravens (8-2) @ Rams (6-4)