Week 15 of the NFL season was one of the strangest in memory. Multiple games were postponed due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests among players in a few teams, and the league scheduled doubleheaders for Monday and Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas Raiders were able to inch one step closer to the postseason by winning their rescheduled games. The Philadelphia Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive by knocking off the Washington Football Team 27-17, moving them to 7-7 on the year.
The playoff picture is only getting more congested, with nearly half of all NFL teams sitting at seven or eight wins. With just a few weeks left in the season, almost every team still has a shot at the Super Bowl.
To determine how each NFL team will finish the 2021 season, 24/7 Tempo reviews each week FiveThirtyEight’s 2021 NFL Predictions, which are based on 50,000 simulated games and are updated after every game. The predictions are as of Dec. 21, 2021, and teams are ranked by their projected chance of winning the Super Bowl. Supplemental data came from Pro Football Reference.
The Green Bay Packers became the first team to secure a spot in the NFL playoffs this season, beating the shorthanded Baltimore Ravens 31-30 to clinch the NFC North crown with an 11-3 record. This will be the Packers’ third straight trip to the playoffs and 11th postseason berth in the last 13 years. These are the teams that almost never miss the playoffs.
Green Bay now sits alone atop the race for the NFC’s top overall seed as well, as both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals suffered surprising losses to the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions, respectively. The Cardinals’ 30-12 loss to the Lions made NFL history — it was the first time a 10-win team lost to a one-win team by double digits.
The Kansas City Chiefs have also pulled away in the AFC, becoming the lone 10-win team in the conference by beating the Los Angeles Chargers in a thrilling overtime contest on Thursday. The New England Patriots slipped out of first after losing to the Indianapolis Colts 27-17. The Tennessee Titans also failed to keep pace with Kansas City after letting a 10-point halftime lead slip away against the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 19-13.