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NFL

NFL standings: Updated AFC, NFC playoff picture after Week 16 of 2022 season

The 2022 NFL season is down to the final two weeks.

Although the playoff picture for the AFC and NFC won’t be finalized until Week 18, it’s time to keep looking at the updated standings and which teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended after Week 16.

Here’s a breakdown of the NFL’s latest playoff field and seedings, as well as a look at the contenders on the brink of joining the postseason party:

POWER RANKINGS: Cowboys, Packers climb in playoff picture; Steelers jump Patriots, Jets for Week 17

NFL standings after Week 16

AFC playoff picture

1. Buffalo Bills (12-3), champions, AFC East. The Bills recovered from a slow start in Chicago on Sunday to blow out the Bears in the end and with it, clinch a third consecutive division title. Now the Bills can focus on holding off the Chiefs for the top seed that comes with home-field advantage and the lone bye. The key to that is beating the Bengals in Cincinnati in Week 17.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3), champions, AFC West. The Chiefs stayed right with the Bills by beating the Seahawks at home on Sunday. They remain down a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Bills, to whom they lost at home in Week 6. They also stayed ahead of the winning Bengals, who beat them in Cincinnati in Week 13. The Chiefs will look to win out and hope the Bills lose once to take the top seed.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4), first place, AFC North. The Bengals got a second-half scare in New England after dominating the Patriots in the first half, but they were able to preserve their seventh consecutive victory. That kept them right behind the Bills and Chiefs in the conference and still ahead of the winning Ravens in the division. Cincinnati will host Baltimore in Week 18 after playing Buffalo there in Week 17.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8), first place, AFC South. The Jaguars jumped here by beating the Jets on the road on Thursday and seeing the Titans get upset by losing to the Texans at home on Saturday. Jacksonville is ahead of Tennessee despite the even records because of winning in Nashville in Week 14. Should the Jaguars win in Houston and the Titans fall in Dallas in Week 17, the division would still come down to Week 18, when the Jaguars host the Titans, with the key tiebreaker of division record on the line.

5. Baltimore Ravens (10-5), second place, AFC North. The Ravens held off the Falcons at home on Sunday to keep pace with the Bengals in the division race and they also clinched at least a wild-card playoff berth with the Jets and Patriots losing in Week 16. The Ravens will host the Steelers in Week 17 before finishing the season in Cincinnati.

6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6), second place, AFC West. The Chargers clinched a wild-card spot with their convincing Monday night road rout of the Colts. Everything happened elsewhere in their favor and they took care of business. Pushing it down to the wire didn’t work out well last season. They are looking more dangerous with Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler and an improving defense and will look to stay hot in Week 17.

7. Miami Dolphins (8-7), second place, AFC East. The Dolphins have lost four consecutive games to fall into this spot. The loss to the Packers on Christmas puts them in a precarious position to have to win out for their best chance at the playoffs. They finish with tough division games against the Patriots on the road and the Jets at home.

Who’s in the hunt?

8. New England Patriots (7-8), third place, AFC East
9. New York Jets (7-8), last place, AFC East
10. Tennessee Titans (7-8), second place, AFC South
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8), third place, AFC North
12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9), third place, AFC West

The Patriots failed to complete a comeback against the Bengals and lost their third consecutive game. The Jets made it four consecutive losses on Thursday by losing to the Jaguars at home.

The Titans dropped their fifth consecutive game and their home to the Texans caused them to plummet six spots out of the playoff picture. They can still win the AFC South and get back to No. 4 by winning their final two games. The Steelers staved off elimination and kept their slim hopes alive by beating the Raiders. The Raiders need to win out and get a ton of help now to make the playoffs.

Who’s out?

13. Cleveland Browns (6-9), last place, AFC North
14. Indianapolis Colts (4-10-1), third place, AFC South
15. Denver Broncos (4-11), last place, AFC West
16. Houston Texans (2-12-1), last place, AFC South

The Raiders are on the brink of elimination with their loss to the Steelers, save by the Dolphins losing. The Browns were the latest team to be eliminated from playoff contention with their home loss to the Saints on Saturday. The Texans are in good shape for the No. 1 overall draft pick despite beating the Titans.

NFL MOCK DRAFT: Texans nab best QB and WR; Lions, Seahawks, Eagles use bonus top-10 picks on defense

NFC playoff picture

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2), first place, NFC East. The Eagles saw their division lead fall to two games over the Cowboys after losing at Dallas to split the season series on Saturday. The Eagles have already clinched a playoff berth and will clinch the division with one more win or a Cowboys loss. They also can lock down the No. 1 seed with one more win and a Vikings loss in Week 17. They’ll likely need to do that without starting QB Jalen Hurts, however.

2. Minnesota Vikings (12-3), champions, NFC North. The Vikings moved to 11-0 in one-possession games by surviving a wild home game against the Giants on Saturday. They stayed alive in the race for the top seed, home-field advantage and lone bye, but they need to finish a game ahead of the Eagles to do that, given they lost the head-to-head tiebreaker way back in Week 2.

3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4), champions, NFC West. The 49ers clinched their second division title in four seasons by beating the Seahawks in Week 15. After routing the Commanders in Week 16, they are still long shots to catch the Eagles at No. 1 at two games behind with two games left, but have a fair chance to displace the Vikings for No. 2, being a game down while also holding the tiebreaker.

George Kittle, Tom Brady

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8), first place, NFC South. The Buccaneers are clinging to a one-game division lead over the Panthers and Saints, who both won to improve to 6-9 on Saturday. The Buccaneers have the tiebreaker over the Saints by virtue of a season sweep, but they lost to the Panthers on the road in Week 7. After rallying to beat Arizona in Week 16, Tampa Bay has an opportunity to win the division at home vs. Carolina in Week 17.

5. Dallas Cowboys (11-4), second place, NFC East. The Cowboys cut the Eagles’ division lead to two games by beating them on Saturday, but they still need to win out while the Eagles need to lose out to win the division. The Cowboys clinched their fallback wild-card spot in Week 15.

6. New York Giants (8-6-1), third place, NFC East. The Giants missed a shot at clinching a wild-card berth with their tough road loss at the Vikings on Saturday, but they didn’t lose ground vs. the Commanders, whom they beat in Washington in Week 15 and the Seahawks and Lions, who both also lost on Saturday.

7. Washington Commanders (7-7-1), last place, NFC East. The Commanders fell here after losing to the Giants, whom they still now trail by a full game and head-to-head tiebreaker after losing badly to the 49ers. They also remain a half-game ahead of the Seahawks and Lions

Who’s in the hunt?

8. Seattle Seahawks (7-8), second place, NFC West
9. Detroit Lions (7-8), second place, NFC North
10. Green Bay Packers (7-8), third place, NFC North
11. Carolina Panthers (6-9), second place, NFC South

12. New Orleans Saints (6-9), third place, NFC South

The Seahawks have lost five of their past six to fall from 6-3 to well out of the picture. The Lions’ great momentum toward a wild-card berth was derailed by their loss at Carolina.

The Packers are now tied with the Seahawks and Lions and can make the playoffs with two more wins and a Commanders loss. The Panthers and Saints won in Week 16 to stay right behind the Buccaneers.

Who’s out?

13. Los Angeles Rams (5-10), third place, NFC West
14. Atlanta Falcons (5-10), last place, NFC South
15. Arizona Cardinals (4-11), last place, NFC West

16. Chicago Bears (3-12), last place, NFC North

The Rams had a big win over the Broncos to feel better about their Super Bowl hangover. The Falcons were the latest team to be eliminated as their loss at Baltimore on Saturday put both the NFC South title and final wild-card berth out of reach with two games left. The Cardinals and Rams were eliminated in Week 15. The Bears are hoping to get out of the conference cellar by Week 18.


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