2023 NFL Playoff Picture: Chiefs, 49ers in prime position ahead of Week 6

2T0RAG1 Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates with teammate quarterback Patrick Mahomes, left, after catching a 4-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

• New faces: If the standings hold up, we will welcome two new AFC teams (Steelers and Colts) and two new NFC teams (Lions and Falcons) to the playoffs.

• Who else but the Chiefs: We currently project the Kansas City Chiefs to have a 47% chance of earning the one seed in the AFC.

• Dig into the numbers for yourself: PFF's Premium Stats is the most in-depth collection of NFL and NCAA player performance data. Subscribe today to get full access!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

WR:CB Matchup Chart

By the end of Week 6, more than one-third of the regular season will have been played, and franchises will start to cast their eyes on the playoffs. So, from now until the end of the regular season, we will look at the current and projected playoff picture.

The current situation ahead of Week 6

Current AFC playoff standings
  1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)
  2. Miami Dolphins (4-1)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)
  5. Indianapolis Colts (3-2)
  6. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
  7. Buffalo Bills (3-2)
Current NFC playoff standings
  1. San Francisco 49ers (5-0)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-0)
  3. Detroit Lions (4-1)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
  6. Atlanta Falcons (3-2)
  7. Dallas Cowboys (3-2)

If these standings held up, we would welcome two new AFC teams (Steelers and Colts) and two new NFC teams (Lions and Falcons) to the playoffs.

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The projections

Naturally, it’s unlikely the playoff picture will remain constant over the remainder of the season. And that’s why it makes sense to look at the projected playoff picture — the estimated chances PFF gives each team to make the playoffs.

The following charts show the projected playoff chances for each team alongside the playoff leverage, i.e., how the playoff chances would change with a win or loss.

The logos show the current playoff chances. The points to the right of the logos indicate the chances after a win, and the points to the left indicate the chances after a loss.


Note that the Pittsburgh Steelers are on a bye week.


Note that the Green Bay Packers are on a bye week.


Team Chances with win Chances with loss Leverage
Indianapolis Colts 70% 35% 35%
Jacksonville Jaguars 66% 33% 33%
Baltimore Ravens 79% 53% 26%
Tennessee Titans 51% 27% 24%
Atlanta Falcons 49% 25% 24%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 82% 58% 24%

Playoff scenarios

A perfect season?

The 49ers and the Eagles will face each other in December, so it’s impossible for both to go undefeated. That said, both teams still have the chance to be the first to finish a regular season 17-0.

We estimate the chances of accomplishing this historical feat at 2.1% for the 49ers and 1.9% for the Eagles. Currently, these numbers are still small, as winning another 12 games in a row is incredibly difficult.

The 2.1% chance for the 49ers means that — on average — they have a 72.5% chance of winning each game on their remaining schedule.

If these two teams continue to win, the chances of an undefeated season will rise over the next few weeks.

Home-field advantage

Earning the No. 1 seed in the conference is a huge advantage going into the playoffs. Here are the most likely teams to do that in their respective conferences:

Kansas City Chiefs 47% San Francisco 49ers 41%
Buffalo Bills 13% Philadelphia Eagles 38%
Miami Dolphins 12% Detroit Lions 6%
Baltimore Ravens 8%
Two wild cards for the same division

With the introduction of the seventh playoff seed, we've become accustomed to seeing three playoff teams from the same division. This has happened every year since 2020, when the playoffs were extended.

As of now, there isn’t a division with three clear and obvious playoff contenders, but teams from the AFC East, AFC North and NFC West have decent chances to pull it off. Here are the chances for each division to send three teams to the playoffs:

North 23% 3%
East 18% 8%
South 6% 10%
West 4% 14%

Looking ahead to draft season

There are a few teams whose playoff chances are already bleak. But don’t fret — there is always the offseason and, most importantly, the draft.

PFF's customizable mock draft simulator gives you the opportunity to be the GM for any team in the 2024 NFL Draft — click here to start drafting!
The following teams have the biggest chance of picking first overall:
Here are the chances to select inside the top five:

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