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

Joe Burrow and Derrick Henry
nfl standings: updated afc, nfc playoff picture for week 16

The 2022 NFL season is in its final three weeks.

Although the playoff picture for AFC and NFC won’t be finalized until Week 18, it’s time to look at the updated leaderboard and find out which teams would be in the playoffs when the season ends in Week 16.

Here’s a breakdown of the NFL’s latest playoff field and seedings, as well as a look at the contenders poised to join the postseason party:

POWER RANKINGS: Lions, Giants, Chargers boost playoff prospects; Cowboys, Patriots, Jets fade into Week 16

NFL rankings for week 16

AFC playoff image

1. Buffalo Bills (12-3), Champions, AFC East. The Bills rebounded from a slow start in Chicago on Sunday to eventually beat the Bears to capture a third straight division title. Now the Bills can focus on holding off the Chiefs for the top seed that comes with home advantage and the lonely bye. The key is beating the Bengals in Cincinnati in Week 17.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3), Champion, AFC West. The Chiefs stayed with the Bills by beating the Seahawks at home on Sunday. They remain a head-to-head tiebreaker against the Bills, to whom they lost in Week 6 at home. They also stayed ahead of the victorious Bengals, whom they defeated in Cincinnati in Week 13. The Chiefs will look to win 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 retained their seventh straight win. That kept them just behind the Bills and Chiefs in the conference and still ahead of the victorious 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 saw the Titans upset after losing to the Texans at home on Saturday. Jacksonville is ahead of Tennessee despite the tied records because he won in Week 14 in Nashville. Should the Jaguars win in Houston and the Titans fall in Dallas in Week 17, the division would still drop to Week 18 when the Jaguars host the Titans, with the key tiebreaker of the division record on the line.

5. Baltimore Ravens (10-5), second place, AFC North. The Ravens held the Falcons at home Sunday to keep up with the Bengals in the division race, and they also secured at least one berth in the wildcard playoffs when the Jets and Patriots lost in Week 16. The Ravens will host the Steelers in Week 17 before ending the season in Cincinnati.

6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6), second place, AFC West. The Chargers jumped on the spot in Week 15 with a huge win over the Titans while the Dolphins and Patriots lost. With those teams and the Raiders losing in Week 16, the Chargers could secure a wild card spot with a win over the Colts on Monday night.

7. Miami Dolphins (8-7), second place, AFC East. The Dolphins have lost four straight games to drop to that spot. Losing to the Packers at Christmas puts them in a precarious position to win their best chance in the playoffs. They end up with tough league games against the Patriots on the road and the Jets at home.

Who’s on 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

The Patriots failed to make a comeback against the Bengals and lost their third straight game. The Jets went on to have four straight losses Thursday by losing at home to the Jaguars.

The Titans lost their fifth straight game and their home game against the Texans caused them to drop six places from the playoff picture. They can still win the AFC South and return to No. 4 by winning their last two games. The Steelers fended off elimination and kept their low hopes alive by defeating the Raiders.

Who’s down or out?

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

The Raiders are on the verge of losing to the Steelers, save for the loss of the Dolphins. The Browns were the last team eliminated from the playoffs with their home loss to the Saints on Saturday. The Texans are in good shape for the #1 draft pick despite the win over the Titans.

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

NFC playoff image

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2), first place, NFC East. The Eagles saw their division lead drop to two games ahead of the Cowboys after losing in Dallas to split Saturday’s season series. The Eagles have already secured a playoff spot and will win the division with another Cowboys win or loss. They can also secure first place with another Vikings win and loss in Week 17. However, you’ll likely have to do this without starting QB Jalen Hurts.

2. Minnesota Vikings (12-3), champions, NFC North. The Vikings went 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 seeds, home field advantage and lonely bye, but for that they need to finish a game ahead of the Eagles as they lost the straight tiebreaker back in Week 2.

3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4), champions, NFC West. The 49ers clinched their Division Two title in four seasons by beating the Seahawks in Week 15. After beating the Commanders in Week 16, they’re still a long way from taking the No. 1 Eagles, two games behind and two games to go, but they managed a fair shot at the No. 2 Vikings to oust as they lost a game while also holding the tiebreaker.

George Kittle, Tom Brady

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8), First Place, NFC South. The Buccaneers hold on to a one-game divisional lead over the Panthers and Saints, both of whom won to improve to 6-9 on Saturday. The Buccaneers have the tiebreak over the Saints due to a season sweep, but they lost on the road to the Panthers in Week 7. Carolina at week 17.

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

6. New York Giants (8-6-1), Third Place, NFC East. The Giants missed a chance to secure a wildcard spot with their tough loss at the Vikings on Saturday, but they didn’t lose ground against the Commanders, who they defeated in Week 15 in Washington, and the Seahawks and Lions, 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’re still trailing by a full game and a head-to-head tiebreak after a heavy loss to the 49ers. They also remain a half game ahead of the Seahawks and Lions

Who’s on 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 last six to fall wide of the picture from 6-3. The Lions’ big swing toward a wildcard berth was derailed by their loss in Carolina.

The Packers are now level with the Seahawks and Lions and can reach the playoffs with two more wins and one loss for the Commanders. The Panthers and Saints won in Week 16, staying just behind the Buccaneers.

Who is outside?

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 last team eliminated as their loss in Baltimore on Saturday put both the NFC South title and final wildcard spot out of reach with two games to go. The Cardinals and Rams were eliminated in week 15. The Bears hope to get out of the conference basement by Week 18.

Written By

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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