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What Week 16 means for the 2021 NFL playoff picture

The playoff picture remains chaotic but is slowly coming into focus. We take a look at the mess heading into Week 16’s Sunday slate.

Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills shakes hands with head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after a game against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The NFL has reached Week 16 and Sunday brings a busy day for the playoff picture. Seven teams will be in position to clinch a playoff berth, including four separate division titles.

The most straight forward clinching scenarios belong to the Patriots, Cowboys, Bucs, and Rams. All three are in the playoffs with a win, and the Patriots, Cowboys, and Bucs all clinch their respective division titles with a win. The Chiefs clinch the AFC West with a win and a Chargers loss or tie, while the Titans and Cardinals need some help today. The Cardinals lost on Saturday in a game that would have clinched a playoff berth, while the Titans won but needed a Colts loss to clinch the AFC South.

Sunday features some huge games for the playoff picture. The Bills and Patriots face off at Gillette Stadium with the AFC East on the line. The Bengals and Ravens meet in Cincinnati with first place in the AFC North on the line.

We should see some clinching scenarios on Sunday, but things will likely remain chaotic in the wild card race. It should be fun!

AFC playoff picture

1. Kansas City Chiefs, 10-4
2. Tennessee Titans, 10-5
3. New England Patriots, 9-5
4. Cincinnati Bengals, 8-6

5. Indianapolis Colts, 9-6
6. Los Angeles Chargers, 8-6
7. Buffalo Bills, 8-6

Outside looking in: Baltimore Ravens (8-6), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1), Las Vegas Raiders (7-7), Miami Dolphins (7-7), Denver Broncos (7-7), Cleveland Browns (7-8)

Week 16 schedule

Titans 20, 49ers 17
Packers 24, Browns 22
Colts 22, Cardinals 16
Ravens (8-6) @ Bengals (8-6)
Bills (8-6) @ Patriots (9-5)
Chargers (8-6) @ Texans (3-11)
Steelers (7-6-1) @ Chiefs (10-4)
Broncos (7-7) @ Raiders (7-7)
Dolphins (7-7) @ Saints (7-7)

NFC playoff picture

1. Green Bay Packers, 12-3*
2. Dallas Cowboys, 10-4*
3. Los Angeles Rams, 10-4
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-4

5. Arizona Cardinals, 10-5
6. San Francisco 49ers, 8-7
7. Minnesota Vikings, 7-7

Outside looking in: Philadelphia Eagles (7-7), New Orleans Saints (7-7), Washington Football Team (6-8), Atlanta Falcons (6-8), Seattle Seahawks (5-9), Carolina Panthers (5-9)

Week 16 schedule

Titans 20, 49ers 17
Packers 24, Browns 22
Colts 22, Cardinals 16
Lions (2-11-1) @ Falcons (6-8)
Rams (10-4) @ Vikings (7-7)
Giants (4-10) @ Eagles (7-7)
Buccaneers (10-4) @ Panthers (5-9)
Bears (4-10) @ Seahawks (5-9)
Washington (6-8) @ Cowboys (10-4)
Dolphins (7-7) @ Saints (7-7)