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How NFL playoff picture looks coming out of Week 16

The NFL is midway through its Week 16 Sunday schedule, and we’re seeing some playoff clinching and movement. We break things down headed toward Week 17.

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks with LeSean McCoy #25 following a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 26, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Monday results: The Bills had no trouble with the Patriots and can clinch the No. 2 seed with a win over the Dolphins or a Steelers loss to the Browns in Week 17.

Sunday 8 p.m. results: Green Bay thumped Tennessee and can clinch the No. 1 seed next week. The Titans will have to wait a week to try and clinch the AFC South.

Sunday 4 p.m. results: Washington lost to Carolina 20-13, but remains in first place in the NFC East at 6-9. They win the division if they beat Philadelphia next week.

The Seahawks beat the Rams to clinch the NFC West.

Sunday 1 p.m. results: The 1 p.m. slate of Sunday games is wrapping up and the Chiefs have secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC. It was a wild one for them against the Falcons, but they managed to hang on late to improve to 14-1.

The Bears thumped the Jaguars and move into seventh place. They can clinch the final wild card berth with a win or Cardinals loss in Week 17.

The Ravens beat the Giants, which means Washington can clinch the NFC East with a win over Carolina. However, the Colts loss to Pittsburgh means Miami moves into the No. 6 spot and Baltimore moves into the No. 7 spot.

The Steelers stormed back from a 21-7 deficit to beat the Colts and clinch the AFC North title. They move into the No. 2 seed pending the Bills outcome on Monday.


The NFL has a busy slate of games to open Week 16 in advance of the usual Sunday/Monday schedule. The league completed its Thursday Night Football schedule last week, but Christmas week brought extra early football. We had a game on Friday for Christmas and then a tripleheader on Saturday.

Teams are finalizing their playoff position and time is running out for several teams. We entered Week 16 with six teams having clinched a playoff berth, and a host of teams with a clinching opportunity.

We’re two games through the schedule and have had two teams clinch something related to the playoffs. The Saints were already in the playoffs, but they clinched the NFC South title with a win over the Vikings. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers clinched a wild card berth with their 47-7 win over the Lions.

The Cardinals lost a brutal one to the 49ers, taking their playoff chances out of their hands for the time being. Arizona now waits to see what happens with the Rams and Bears in Week 16 to figure out what needs to be done in Week 17.

The Dolphins closed out Saturday with a wild 26-25 win over the Raiders. Miami couldn’t clinch a playoff berth with a win, but needed win to stay ahead and the Ravens. The Raiders were eliminated from playoff contention.

Here’s a look at what the playoff picture looks like headed into Saturday afternoon as 49ers-Cardinals works through the first half. You can read through playoff tiebreakers here.

^=clinched playoff berth
^^=clinched division
^^^=clinched home field

AFC

1. Kansas City Chiefs, 14-1^^^
2. Buffalo Bills, 12-3^^
3. Pittsburgh Steelers, 12-3^^
4. Tennessee Titans, 10-4 (Division record over Colts)

5. Miami Dolphins, 10-5 (Conference record over Ravens, Colts)
6. Baltimore Ravens, 10-5 (H2H over Browns)
7. Cleveland Browns, 10-5 (H2H over Colts)

Outside looking in: Indianapolis Colts, 10-5

Dolphins 26, Raiders 25
Chiefs 17, Falcons 14
Jets 23, Browns 16
Steelers 28, Colts 24
Ravens 27, Giants 13
Packers 40, Titans 14
Bills 38, Patriots 9

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers, 12-3^^
2. New Orleans Saints, 11-4^^ (Conference record over Seahawks
3. Seattle Seahawks, 11-4^^
4. Washington Football Team, 6-9 (H2H over Cowboys)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-5^
6. Los Angeles Rams, 9-6
7. Chicago Bears, 8-7 (Common games record over Cardinals

Outside looking in: Arizona Cardinals (8-7), Dallas Cowboys (6-9), New York Giants (5-10)

Saints 52, Vikings 33
Bucs 47, Lions 7
49ers 20, Cardinals 12
Bears 41, Jaguars 17
Ravens 27, Giants 13
Panthers 20, Washington 13
Cowboys 37, Eagles 17
Seahawks 20, Rams 9
Packers 40, Titans 14