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NFL playoff picture: What we learned in Week 16, what can be clinched in Week 17

The NFL has two weeks left and still has eight playoff berths to be clinched. We break down what happened in Week 16 and what the standings looking like heading into Week 17.

Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a touchdown during the second quarter gaps at Arrowhead Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NFL is headed into Week 17 and for the first time in a long time, the season will not end with Week 17. The NFL expanded the schedule to a 17th game for each team, which means we have two more weeks of football remaining. That expansion coupled with the second straight year of having a 14-team playoff field instead of 12 teams has created all sorts of chaos.

Who accomplished what in Week 16

Division champs

The Packers came into this past weekend as the only team who had punched their postseason ticket. This past week saw five more teams join them and three of them clinched their division.

The Buccaneers handled their business in the most straight forward manner. They would clinch with a win and they thumped the Panthers to do so. After that, the Chiefs needed a win and a Chargers loss. Shockingly, the Texans thumped LA and the Chiefs clinched the AFC West with an easy win over the Steelers.

The Cowboys were the third team to clinch their division this week, and they didn’t even have to play to do it. They actually clinched a wild card berth when the 49ers lost to the Titans on Thursday, and then clinched the NFC East when the Raiders beat the Broncos to allow Dallas to clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Eagles.

Wild card berths

The NFC West saw two of its teams punch their tickets with the division still up for grabs. The Cardinals lost to the Colts on Saturday, but they clinched thanks to the 49ers and Vikings losses. The Rams also clinched thanks to beating the Vikings on Sunday.

What to look for in Week 17

The Packers can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win and a Cowboys loss.

The Chiefs can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win and a Titans loss.

The Rams can clinch the NFC West with a win and a Cardinals loss.

The Titans can clinch the AFC South with a win or a Colts loss.

The Bengals can clinch the AFC North with a win or losses by the Ravens, Steelers, and Browns.

The Bills, Colts, and Patriots can all clinch AFC playoff berths with various scenarios involving wins and losses by themselves and other teams. We’ll drop in full scenarios once we sort through them.

The 49ers and Eagles can both clinch NFC playoff berths with wins and losses by combinations of the Saints, Vikings, and Falcons.

NFL playoff picture heading into Week 17

AFC playoff picture

1. Kansas City Chiefs, 11-4**
2. Tennessee Titans, 10-5
3. Cincinnati Bengals, 9-6
4. Buffalo Bills, 9-6

5. Indianapolis Colts, 9-6
6. New England Patriots, 9-6
7. Miami Dolphins, 8-7

Outside looking in: Baltimore Ravens (8-7), Los Angeles Chargers (8-7), Las Vegas Raiders (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-7-1, Denver Broncos (7-8), Cleveland Browns (7-8)

NFC playoff picture

1. Green Bay Packers, 12-3**
2. Dallas Cowboys, 11-4**
3. Los Angeles Rams, 11-4*
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 11-4**

5. Arizona Cardinals, 10-5*
6. San Francisco 49ers, 8-7
7. Philadelphia Eagles, 8-7

Outside looking in: Minnesota Vikings (7-8), Atlanta Falcons (7-8), New Orleans Saints (7-8)