Skip to content
GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. NFL

NFL: Which bubble teams can sneak into the playoffs?

Heading into the final two weeks of the regular season, five of the seven AFC playoff spots have been claimed, with only one wild card berth open to bubble teams.

In the NFC, four teams have stamped their postseason tickets, with eight teams fighting for the remaining three wild card berths - so which ones have the best chance of making it?

New England Patriots - +600 To Make the Play Offs

Perennial postseason attendees, the New England Patriots remain in the best shape to oust the Miami Dolphins from the No.7 seed, due in part to the fact that they play them in Week 17.

It's not been a great season in New England as Bill Belichick's men have looked inept on offense at times under play-caller Matt Patricia, while there has been a clear regression from second-year QB Mac Jones.

Defensively, they rank inside the top-10 in all major categories and their special teams' play has been typically strong, but individual errors the like of which are not usually associated with Belichick have cost them two games in a row.

First, there was the ill-advised lateral gone wrong at the end of regulation against the Las Vegas Raiders. Then, on Saturday, came the fumble from running back Rhamondre Stevenson at the Cincinnati Bengals' 8-yard line with 59 seconds remaining, just as the Patriots were knocking on the door for a potential go-ahead touchdown.

Miscues like that at this stage of the season can prove very costly and now there is no room for error with New England needing to beat the Fins - and probably the Buffalo Bills too in Week 18 - to sneak into the last AFC wild-card slot.

New York Jets

In order to end the NFL's longest active playoff drought, the New York Jets must win out and hope for a little help from elsewhere.

New York need to halt a four-game losing skid by beating both the Seattle Seahawks and the Dolphins in back-to-back January matchups.

Even then, they still need some help in the form of the Patriots losing one game to either the Dolphins or Bills, and there remains a chance that Buffalo could be in a position to rest players against New England in Week 18 if they have already locked up the No.1 seed themselves.

Mike White's return from a rib injury has given the Jets' long-suffering fanbase some hope, but Gang Green lacks momentum.

Seattle Seahawks - +290 To Make the Play Offs

The 7-8 Seattle Seahawks held a two-win lead over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West after Week 9, but only one win in their last six leaves Pete Carroll's team in danger of missing out on the postseason.

Geno Smith has not been able to sustain his early-season form and an inability to stop the run or establish their own ground game since mid-term has killed their prospects.

However, Seattle holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Detroit for the No. 8 seed, and will be back in the hunt if they beat the Jets this Sunday and the Washington Commanders lose to the 49ers.

Related NFL News

NFL: Week 16 talking points

NFL: Week 15 talking points

Detroit Lions - +330 To Make the Play Offs

Last week's loss to the Carolina Panthers undid a lot of the good work Dan Campbell's Detroit Lions produced to prolong their bubble existence.

The 7-8 Lions remain tantalizingly just a half-game behind the Commanders for the final playoff spot, but would need both Washington and the Seahawks to lose this week - plus a win over the Chicago Bears - to set up a monumental trip to Lambeau Field in Week 18.

Green Bay Packers - +175 To Make the Play Offs

The red-hot Green Bay Packers are only the No. 10 seed in the NFC currently, but Matt LaFleur's men have cleared a potential path to the playoffs with their 26-20 win over the Dolphins on Sunday.

The Packers are 17-1 in games played after November under their current head coach and, after three straight wins, can clinch a wild card spot with home wins against the Minnesota Vikings And Lions - so long as the Commanders lose once more.

Carolina Panthers

The 6-9 Carolina Panthers are unlikely to land a wild card berth, but they could yet overhaul the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and finish as NFC South champions.

Carolina have to beat the Bucs in Tampa this coming Sunday and match their result in Week 18 unless the New Orleans Saints also win in Week 17 - in which case their final-week trip to the Big Easy becomes a winner-takes-all contest for the division title if Tom Brady and Co lose to the Atlanta Falcons that same day.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalized service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet $1 & Get $365 in Bonus Bets Join Now

Deposit required. Bonus Bet winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply.