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NFL playoff picture: What does Broncos-Raiders mean for AFC standings

The Broncos face the Raiders in Las Vegas on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Kicker Daniel Carlson #2 of the Las Vegas Raiders kicks off during the first half of a game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

Result: The Raiders beat the Broncos 17-13. Las Vegas improves to 8-7 and is in ninth place behind the Ravens and Chargers due to tiebreakers. The Broncos drop to 7-8 and are a game back of the seventh place wild card Ravens.

The Las Vegas Raiders host the Denver Broncos in a Week 16 matchup that serves as effectively an elimination game. The loser might not end up mathematically eliminated from playoff contention — although the Broncos could! — but they’ll be in desperate straits with a loss.

Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET and the game will air on CBS. The Broncos will be rolling out backup quarterback Drew Lock but are still a one-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

AFC playoff picture

The Broncos and Raiders come into this game each with a record of 7-7 and tied for last in the AFC West. The Raiders are officially out of AFC West contention but the Broncos technically are still alive if a lot of things go right for them.

The bigger competition is in the wild card race. The Raiders are in 10th place and the Broncos are in 13th place, but they’re both just a game out of the wild card berths. Five teams are tied at 8-6 and taking up spots four through seven in the playoff bracket. In order of tiebreaker advantage, they are the Bengals, Colts, Chargers, Bills, and Ravens. The Bengals and Ravens play each other, which could open the door for some movement for Las Vegas or Denver.

Relevant Week 16 matches

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)