Monday night provided a clarifying moment in the NFL season. The Baltimore Ravens established themselves as the league’s best team, with an offense that may be remembered for all time for the brutal artistry of its design and the incandescence of Lamar Jackson. The Los Angeles Rams dropped further away from the league’s elite and will likely spend January at home, missing the playoffs a year after reaching the Super Bowl.

You can find the latest league standings here, but how will they look when the regular season ends? Here is how we think the playoff field will shake out.


How they will finish (with current record):

1. San Francisco 49ers, 10-1

Remaining schedule: at Ravens, at Saints, Falcons, Rams, at Seahawks

2. Minnesota Vikings, 8-3

Remaining schedule: at Seahawks, Lions, at Chargers, Packers, Bears

3. New Orleans Saints, 9-2

Remaining schedule: at Falcons, 49ers, Colts, at Titans, at Panthers

4. Dallas Cowboys, 6-5

Remaining schedule: Bills, at Bears, Rams, at Eagles, Redskins

5. Seattle Seahawks, 9-2

Remaining schedule: Vikings, at Rams, at Panthers, Cardinals, 49ers

6. Green Bay Packers, 8-3

Remaining schedule: at Giants, Redskins, Bears, at Vikings, at Lions

In the hunt

Philadelphia Eagles, 5-6

Remaining schedule: at Dolphins, Giants, at Redskins, Cowboys, at Giants

Hanging on: Los Angeles Rams, 6-5

Not happening: Carolina Panthers (5-6), Chicago Bears (5-6), New York Giants (2-9), Washington Redskins (2-9), Detroit Lions (3-7-1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7), Atlanta Falcons (3-8), Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)

The NFC field is basically decided aside from the NFC champion, which will likely come down to a Week 16 meeting in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Cowboys. The Eagles have the easier schedule and play that game at home, but the Cowboys are better and have a one-game edge, with a victory over Philly in hand.

Coming off a bye, the Vikings could surprise the Seahawks in Seattle. If they do, and the 49ers beat the Saints, they could find themselves in line for a first-round bye. They’ll have to win in Green Bay, but the Vikings have a more complete team so long as Kirk Cousins can continue making competence, as opposed to disaster, his performance floor.


How they will finish:

1. Baltimore Ravens, 9-2

Remaining schedule: 49ers, at Bills, Jets, at Browns, Steelers

2. New England Patriots, 10-1

Remaining schedule: at Texans, Chiefs, at Bengals, Bills, Dolphins

3. Tennessee Titans, 6-5

Remaining schedule: at Colts, at Raiders, Texans, Saints, at Texans

4. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-4

Remaining schedule: Raiders, at Patriots, Broncos, at Bears, Chargers

5. Buffalo Bills, 8-3

Remaining schedule: at Cowboys, Ravens, at Steelers, at Patriots, Jets

6. Houston Texans, 7-4

Remaining schedule: Patriots, Broncos, at Titans, at Bucs, Titans

In the hunt:

Oakland Raiders, 6-5

Remaining schedule: at Chiefs, Titans, Jaguars, at Chargers, at Broncos

Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-5

Remaining schedule: Browns, at Cardinals, Bills, at Jets, at Ravens

Indianapolis Colts, 6-5

Remaining schedule: Titans, at Bucs, at Saints, Panthers, at Jaguars

Cleveland Browns, 5-6

Remaining schedule: at Steelers, Bengals, at Cardinals, Ravens, at Bengals

Not happening: Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7), Los Angeles Chargers (4-7), Denver Broncos (3-8), New York Jets (4-7), Dolphins (2-9), Bengals (0-11)

The Titans control their fate to an extreme degree. In their last five games, they play the division-leading Texans twice and face the Colts and Raiders, two of their primary wild card challenges. Given the way they’re playing, that’s a good thing. The Titans have gone 4-1 and averaged 29.4 points since Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota, and Derrick Henry and a good defense is a solid cold-weather recipe. They’re a threat not only to emerge from the 6-5 pileup to win a wild card, but to steal the AFC South.

The Browns, riding a four-game winning streak, have a real chance to make a run, with a pair of meetings against the Bengals. But they won’t beat the Ravens, and a trip to Arizona could be treacherous.

Read more: