2021 NFL Playoff Picture, Standings: Buccaneers can clinch NFC South crown vs. Saints on Sunday Night Football


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints are set to face off in a division matchup that has important implications on the NFL playoff picture. With a win or tie over the Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday Night Football, Tampa Bay could clinch the NFC South crown for the first time since 2007. The Buccaneers snapped the second-longest active postseason drought in NFL history last season when Tom Brady led the team to the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons. The Bucs are on pace to make the playoffs for two consecutive seasons for the first time since Tampa Bay advanced to four straight postseasons from 1999-2002. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. The match-up will also be available via live stream on Peacock.

After defeating the Buffalo Bills in overtime in Week 14 and winning their fourth straight game, the Buccaneers put themselves in strong position for the division title. At 10-3, the Buccaneers occupy the No. 2 seed in the NFC and are undefeated in their previous four primetime matchups this season. Tampa Bay is also a perfect 6-0 at home.

This past weekend against the Bills, Brady recorded his 700th career touchdown pass and broke the NFL’s all-time completions record formerly held by Saints star quarterback Drew Brees. Yet, the Saints have given Brady trouble in his brief time in Tampa Bay. On Sunday night, Brady will look to win his first-regular season game against the Saints in a Bucs uniform.

RELATED: Tom Brady’s NFL records: Super Bowl wins, rings, all-time passing touchdowns ahead of Saints vs Buccaneers divisional match up

Meanwhile the 6-7 Saints are four games behind the Buccaneers in the NFC South and occupy the No. 11 seed in the NFC. Though Tampa Bay has the better overall record, New Orleans has dominated recent matchups between both teams. The Saints have won six straight regular-season games in the series and have come out on top in the NFC South for the past four seasons.

In the previous meeting between the two teams in Week 8, the Saints defeated the Bucs, 36-27, in the Superdome.  Saints starting quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a knee injury and backup Trevor Siemian led the team to a win. However, the quarterback carousel in the post-Drew Brees era continues to spin in New Orleans. Taysom Hill has assumed starting quarterback responsibilities and he helped lead the Saints to a 30-9 victory over the New York Jets last week.

In addition to the dropped contest from the earlier this season, the Bucs will also look to avenge the loss from the last time these two teams met on Sunday night. When the Saints and Bucs played on Sunday Night Football in the 2020 season, the Buccaneers fell in stunning fashion, 38-3.

NBC News political correspondent Steve Kornacki is back on Football Night in America to trade election result breakdowns for NFL playoff picture scenarios. Kornacki will join the show for the remainder of the regular season and will be a part of NBC Sports’ coverage of Super Bowl LVI from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13.

RELATED: When do the 2022 NFL playoffs start: Dates, schedule, TV channels, live streams, format

Week 15 Clinching Scenarios for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers could punch their ticket to the playoffs on Sunday night by defeating or tying the Saints to clinch the NFC South division title. Below are the other scenarios in which Tampa Bay can clinch a postseason spot in Week 15 with some help from other teams:

  1. Minnesota loss or tie + San Francisco loss OR
  2. Minnesota loss or tie + Philadelphia-Washington tie OR
  3. San Francisco loss + Philadelphia-Washington tie

RELATED: NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 15

Week 15 NFL Picks and Power Rankings

Mike Florio and the team at ProFootballTalk have broken down their picks and power rankings for Week 15. They have Aaron Rodgers and the 10-3 Green Bay Packers at the top of the list. Click here to see where the rest of the league falls as the playoff race tightens.

Current 2021 NFL Playoff picture

2021 AFC Standings

Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)

New England Patriots (9-5)

Tennessee Titans (9-5)

Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

Buffalo Bills (8-6)

On the bubble:

Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

Cleveland Browns (7-6)

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)

Miami Dolphins (7-7)

Denver Broncos (7-7)

Las Vegas Raiders (6-7)

2021 NFC Standings

Green Bay Packers (11-3)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)

Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

Arizona Cardinals (10-4)

Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

San Francisco 49ers (8-6)

Washington Football Team (6-7)

On the bubble:

Minnesota Vikings (6-7)

Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

New Orleans Saints (6-7)

Atlanta Falcons (6-8)

For all the latest fantasy football news and insight, visit NBC Sports Edge.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for breaking news, updates, and much more! 

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

13. Dak Prescott (DAL)

12. Kirk Cousins (MIN)

11. Daniel Jones (NYG)

10. Matthew Stafford (LAR)

9. Deshaun Watson (CLE)

8. Aaron Rodgers (NYJ)

7. Jalen Hurts (PHI)

6. Trevor Lawrence (JAX)

5. Lamar Jackson (BAL)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!