After 17 weeks of NFL action, the pool of 32 teams has been narrowed to just 12. With only a month of NFL action to go, here are how the final teams stack up heading into the postseason:
1. New Orleans Saints (13-3; BYE)
The New Orleans Saints decided to take Week 17 off and were fine getting blown out by the Carolina Panthers. They will sit out wild card weekend and should be fully rested for the divisional round.
2. Los Angeles Rams (13-3; BYE)
Los Angeles put the 49ers to the sword to lock up a first-round bye in Week 17. The team has faltered over the last month of the season and may be in trouble if they draw one of the tougher divisional matchups.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4; BYE)
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs dominated the Raiders to lock up the AFC. The path to the Super Bowl will run through Arrowhead, which is a huge boon for a team with an awful defense.
4. Chicago Bears (12-4; vs. Philadelphia)
The Bears closed out their season by eliminating their division rival Minnesota Vikings in a game where their reserve defense played much of the fourth quarter. Next up for them is a matchup with the defending champions at Soldier Field. The road ahead of the Bears is tough, but there is no reason why this team should not be thinking Super Bowl.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4; @ Baltimore)
The Los Angeles Chargers finished a half game out of the top overall seed in the AFC playoffs and now they have to take on a team that beat them in Week 16, the Baltimore Ravens. M&T Bank Stadium is a tough place to play for a road team and the Chargers may be in for some trouble in round one.
6. New England Patriots (11-5; BYE)
Once again, the AFC East champions New England Patriots will get to sit out the first round of the playoffs. This is the weakest Patriots team in years, though, but do not be surprised if they are right back in the AFC title game.
7. Baltimore Ravens (10-6; vs. LA Chargers)
A change at quarterback turned the Ravens season around and earned them an unlikely division title. Their unique run-based offense and great defense make them a tough out and a home playoff game at one of the hardest road stadiums in the NFL can give them an advantage over a better Chargers team.
8. Houston Texans (11-5; vs. Indianapolis)
Houston’s nine-game win streak in the middle of the season carried them to an AFC South title and playoff berth. They will host the Colts, the team who ended that win streak, in the first round. The Texans are a little bit banged up heading into the playoffs and have a tough matchup looming in the opening round.
9. Seattle Seahawks (10-6; @ Dallas)
This season was supposed to be the end of the Seahawks dynasty. A team that was dominant for much of the 2010s was supposed to see their reign end. Instead, they won 10 games and made the playoffs. Seattle’s defense has been incredible down the stretch, and Russell Wilson has done enough with the offense to make them a tough out.
10. Indianapolis Colts (10-6; @Houston)
The Colts finished out the 2018 regular season by earning one of the more unlikely playoff berths this year. Andrew Luck lived up to all the hype, and a multitude of young defensive stars led the team to the promised land. Now they get to take on the division champion Houston Texans and try to keep the fairy tale season alive.
11. Dallas Cowboys (vs. Seattle)
Dallas won a wild, but meaningless, Week 17 matchup against the New York Giants in order to get some positive momentum heading into the postseason. Now Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and the Cowboys will face off against a tough Seattle team to open up their playoff run.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (@ Chicago)
It came down to the final day but the Super Bowl champions slipped into the playoffs at the last moment. They dominated Washington and the Bears held their end of the bargain by eliminating the Vikings. Now Nick Foles will try to recreate the magic he did last season and take the Eagles to the Super Bowl once again.