NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 Playoff Picture: The surging Los Angeles Rams increase playoff chances to 66% with a win against New Orleans Saints

2T28PXD Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

• Here come the Rams: The Los Angeles Rams have a 66% chance of making the playoffs with a Week 16 win against the New Orleans Saints, but their chances will fall to just 12% with a loss.

• The Ravens are out in front in a loaded AFC: The Baltimore Ravens have a 69% chance of locking up the No. 1 seed in the AFC, according to PFF's model.

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The current situation ahead of Week 16

Current AFC playoff standings
  1. Baltimore Ravens (11-3)
  2. Miami Dolphins (10-4)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6)
  5. Cleveland Browns (9-5)
  6. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
  7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
Current NFC playoff standings
  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
  3. Detroit Lions (10-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7)
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
  7. Los Angeles Rams (7-7)
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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.




Team Chances with win Chances with loss Leverage
Los Angeles Rams 66% 12% 54%
New Orleans Saints 72% 23% 49%
Cincinnati Bengals 61% 14% 47%
Houston Texans 77% 33% 44%
Minnesota Vikings 75% 32% 43%
Buffalo Bills 68% 25% 43%

Playoff scenarios

Playoff matchups

As of now, the following wild-card matchups are most likely to happen:

  • Cowboys at Buccaneers (40%)
  • Vikings at Lions (29%)
  • Seahawks at Lions (26%)
  • Browns at Jaguars (24%)

Looking further ahead, these are the most likely matchups to happen at any point in the playoffs:

  • Cowboys at Buccaneers (44%)
  • Dolphins – Chiefs (37%)
  • Chiefs – Ravens (37%)
  • Cowboys – 49ers (36%)
  • Eagles – 49ers (36%)
  • Cowboys – Eagles (36%)
  • Dolphins – Ravens (34%)
  • Eagles – Lions (30%)
Home-field advantage

Teams that hold the No. 1 seed in the conference have a huge advantage going into the playoffs. Here are the most likely teams to do that.

Baltimore Ravens 69% San Francisco 49ers 86%
Miami Dolphins 18% Philadelphia Eagles 8%
Kansas City Chiefs 11% Dallas Cowboys 3%
Cleveland Browns 1% Detroit Lions 3%
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.

Here is how likely it is for each division to pull that off:

North 35% 5%
East 0% 1%
South 12% 0%
West 0% 18%

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.

The following teams have the biggest chance of picking first overall:
Here are the chances of selecting inside the top five:

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