NFL standings: Updated AFC, NFC playoff picture after Week 16 of 2023 season

The NFL playoff race is down to two games left for all 32 teams in the 2023 regular season through Week 18. More teams have been eliminated but most are still alive for Christmas weekend action.

Although there are some dominant teams headed to a return to the playoffs,  scenarios remain in flux with seeding and potential entrants.

Here’s a look at the updated NFL playoff picture for Week 16:

POWER RANKINGS: Ravens rout 49ers for undisputed top spot; Chiefs slip behind Browns, Bills for Week 17

NFL standings for Week 16

AFC playoff picture

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-3), first place, AFC North. The Ravens hold a two-game lead over the Browns after their dominant Monday night Week 16 road win at the NFC-best 49ers. They have clinched at least wild-card berth and are among three teams alive for the top seed. After San Francisco, Baltimore closes with positioned No. 2 seed Miami and division rival Pittsburgh.

2. Miami Dolphins (11-4), first place, AFC East. The Dolphins still hold a two-game lead in their division over the Bills. They clinched at least a wild-card playoff spot in Week 16 with the last-second home win over the Cowboys. Miami has Baltimore and Buffalo to close out the season after Dallas, no easy stretch.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-6), first place, AFC West. The Chiefs had a chance to clinch the division title on Monday, but were upset by the Raiders at home. They close with a home game against the Bengals and road game at the Chargers. They still hold a strong two-game division lead over the Broncos.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7), first place, AFC South. The Jaguars have lost four consecutive games, the latest at Tampa Bay, to see their division lead remain by only a division-record tiebreaker over the Colts and Texans, who both lost again on Sunday. They are still the slight favorites to take the division, closing with the last-place South teams, the Panthers and Titans.

5. Cleveland Browns (10-5), second place, AFC North. The Browns stayed hot offensively with Joe Flacco, Amari Cooper and David Njoku and got a massive win in Houston toward locking down a wild-card playoff berth, although the winning Steelers and Bills didn’t help them clinch that in Week 16. They stayed within striking distance of the Ravens in the division, too.

6. Buffalo Bills (9-6), second place, AFC East. The Bills kept the Dolphins from having a shot at clinching the division title by rallying multiple times to beat the Chargers on Saturday night in the third game of Week 16. The victory allowed them to nestle between the Browns and Colts, who both play on Sunday, taking advantage of the Bengals’ loss to the Steelers well as well. They are still alive and well for the East crown, which may come down to Week 19 at MIami.

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-7), second place, AFC South. The Colts lost to the NFC Falcons on Sunday, which allowed them to still stay in playoff position with the final wild-card spot. The Colts, who beat the Steelers and Texans but lost to the Bengals, hold this by having a superior conference record. Indianapolis remains 6-4 in AFC play, while Pittsburgh is 6-5, Houston is 5-5 and Cincinnati is 3-7. The Colts host the Raiders and Texans in the final two games.

Who’s in the hunt?

8. Houston Texans (8-7)

9. Cincinnati Bengals (8-7)

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)

11. Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)

12. Denver Broncos (7-8)

The Steelers beat the Bengals to jump them and the Texans here. The Broncos failed to join the 8-7 pack when they lost to the Patriots, putting their playoff hopes on extremely thin ice. The Raiders got back in the picture by beating the Chiefs.

NFC playoff picture

1. San Francisco 49ers (11-4), champions, NFC West. The 49ers already have clinched a repeat division title after they won at the Cardinals in Week 15. They can now focus on locking down the top seed. That became a little more difficult when they lost at home to the Ravens to end Week 16, as they are in a three-way tie with the No. 2 Eagles and No. Lions. The 49ers have the better conference record at 9-1 to lead that pack. The 49ers close up with the Commanders on the road and the Rams at home.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (11-4), first place, NFC East. The Eagles, who have already clinched at least a wild-card spot, now lead the division by a-game again after winning Monday night’s home game against the Giants. They took back control of the division and are set up well to win out vs. the Cardinals once and Giants for a second time. They also jumped the Lions for No. 2 ahead of the Lions playing at the second-place Cowboys in Week 17.

3. Detroit Lions (11-4), champions, NFC North. The Lions have clinched their first division title of any kind in 30 years with only two weeks left to play after holding off the Vikings in Minnesota to build an insurmountable lead. They will now working on their seeding and have a great opportunity to work at getting at least the No. 2 seed with a road win over Dallas in Week 17.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7), first place, NFC South. The Buccaneers are up a full game now on both the Saints and Falcons, looking very good to win the division with two games left, at home vs. New Orleans and on the road at Carolina.

5. Dallas Cowboys (10-5), second place, NFC East. The Cowboys lost a tough game in Miami to fall a half-game behind the Eagles in the division race. They have clinched at least a wild-card spot, likely with this seed, but now are in danger of starting the playoffs on the road again.

6. Los Angeles Rams (8-7), second place, NFC West. The Rams got here by beating the Commanders in Week 15 and also taking down the Saints to open Week 16 at home on Thursday night. They can’t catch the 49ers but might play a resting version of that team in Week 18 after a very favorable road game against the Giants in Week 17.

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-7), third place, NFC West. The Seahawks rallied to beat the Titans in a tough interconference road game and the reward was jumping into the final wild-card spot behind the rival Rams, who swept them to hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Seahawks lead by a full game over four teams now. They finish with the AFC’s Steelers in Week 17 and the last-place Cardinals in Week 18.

Who’s in the hunt?

8. Minnesota Vikings (7-8)

9. Green Bay Packers (7-8)

10. New Orleans Saints (7-8)

11. Atlanta Falcons (7-8)

12. Chicago Bears (6-9)

The Vikings and Saints really further hurt their cause with tough losses in Week 16, while the Packers and Falcons won to make it a four-team pack a game behind the two wild-card spots.

Source : ESPN.com

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