Posted December 23, 2013

NFL Playoff Picture through Week 16

AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, NFL Playoffs
The Cowboys' win ensured the NFC East will be decided in Week 17.

The Cowboys’ win ensured the NFC East will be decided in Week 17. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

Here’s how the AFC and NFC playoff pictures look after Sunday’s action. One game remains in Week 16 (Atlanta at San Francisco):

AFC

1. Denver Broncos (12-3): AFC West leader *
2. New England Patriots (11-4): AFC East leader*
3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5): AFC North leader*
4. Indianapolis Colts (10-5): AFC South leader *
5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4): Wild card *
6. Miami Dolphins (8-7): Wild card

In the Hunt: Baltimore Ravens (8-7), San Diego Chargers (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

(* = has clinched playoff berth)

With the Chiefs falling at home to the Colts, the Broncos’ win clinched for them the AFC West and a first-round bye. New England still could jump Denver for No. 1 overall — the Patriots beat the Broncos head-to-head — but Denver cannot fall behind the second seed.

Both Cincinnati and Indianapolis stayed in the hunt for a first-round bye, too, though it will take a New England loss in Week 17 for either to have a shot at the top two. The Bengals host the Ravens next week, with a chance to possibly knock the Ravens from the playoffs.

Because they hold the conference-record tiebreaker over the Ravens, the Dolphins currently sit in the No. 6 spot, even though Baltimore beat Miami head-to-head. Earlier, Miami’s loss clinched the AFC East for the Patriots. Baltimore lost control of its destiny over a playoff spot (as well as any chance at the AFC North crown) by virtue of its loss to the Patriots.

The Chargers and Steelers, remained alive in the wild-card race thanks to the losses by Miami and Baltimore, plus the win by the Jets (tiebreakers come into play with New York). Both of those teams, now at 8-7, are still in the hunt heading to the season’s final week.

MORE COVERAGE: Week 16 Snaps | AFC wild-card scenarios | Top-10 Mock Draft

NFC

1. Seattle Seahawks (12-3): NFC West leader *
2. Carolina Panthers (11-4): NFC South leader*
3. Philadelphia Eagles (9-6): NFC East leader
4. Chicago Bears (8-7): NFC North leader
5.  San Francisco 49ers (10-4)Wild card
6. New Orleans Saints (10-5): Wild card

In the Hunt: Arizona Cardinals (10-5), Dallas Cowboys (8-7), Green Bay Packers (7-7-1)

Most of the NFC contenders sat out Sunday’s early games, but two early contests loomed large: Carolina’s win over New Orleans and Dallas’ comeback victory at Washington.

By rallying to stun the Saints late, the Panthers clinched a playoff spot and claimed the NFC South lead. Carolina would clinch the division with a win or a Saints loss in Week 17. It’s also a win (or New Orleans loss) away from clinching a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Saints remain likely to secure a playoff spot, but they have not clinched one as of yet.

And the Cowboys’ victory means that the NFC East race will be decided in Week 17, even though Philadelphia won in convincing fashion on Sunday night. Even with that result, the Cowboys can steal the division with a Week 17 win over the Eagles. Should Philadelphia win, it would be the No. 3 seed; Dallas would settle at No. 4 if Chicago wins the North and No. 3 if it’s Green Bay.

The Bears had a chance to clinch the division this week — Detroit was eliminated from playoff contention on a loss to the Giants, while Green Bay fell to Pittsburgh. However, they were unable to take advantage of that opportunity, meaning Week 17′s Chicago-Green Bay game at Soldier Field will decide the division. The Bears would be the champs with a win or tie; the Packers need a victory to jump into first place.

The Cardinals’ huge win in Seattle is important for a number of reasons: San Francisco’s still alive in the NFC West race; Carolina’s still alive for the No. 1 seed in the NFC; and Arizona itself now has a chance in Week 17 to claim a wild-card spot. (The Cardinals do still need some help there.)

55 comments
scooterinspo
scooterinspo

Interesting how almost every team already in the playoffs...including some who have yet to firm up a spot are being sized up for Super Bowl rings on this board...but no mention of the Colts? I guess if we're not supposed to win, we should just cause as much damage as possible.

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

Best superbowl would be Duck Dynasty vs Hank Williams Jr

x72
x72

Top 3 NFC right now probably

1. Car

2. SF

3. NO

x72
x72

Nah best team in the NFC is Green Bay...........................................lol

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Loved how AZ owned the Shehawks, hopefully they make the playoffs so they can represent the NFC in the SuperBowl and keep crushing the dreams of those pathetic seadderal fans.

johnvas49
johnvas49

Simple fix for the term "control our own destiny"...  replace the word destiny with the word fate... 

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Nobody wants to play AZ right now, prob best team in the NFC and definitely has the best coach. Arians should repeat as Coach of the Year, guy's a beast on the sidelines. AZ should be a powerhouse for years to come. Walk into Seattle and beat the stuffing out of the Seachickens, definite statement game. Stomped a mudhole in that 12th man.

Richard40
Richard40

This year's playoffs, as usual, will feature some upsets.   Be ready to have your heart crushed.

MortimerSnerd
MortimerSnerd

How can the Panthers be alive for the number 1 seed?  They lost to Seattle in week 1.


Is it because Seattle could still lose their division to San Fran (not sure - is that possible?) and Panthers beat San Fran so are #1?


Question #2 - is it possible if AZ were to win next week and NO to lose (Tampa, but hey) that AZ makes playoff and NO does not?

VictorNewman
VictorNewman

my cards really came through today. they have a chance to be 11-5, but still miss the playoffs. NFC so dominant right now. 


big improvement over 5-11 last season. goes to show you what you can do with a healthy QB.

CameronAbou-Chakra
CameronAbou-Chakra

I'm disappointed the NFL didn't think this Panthers vs saints rematch was Sunday Night Football material. That was a bad judgement call somewhere, especially considering what was at stake for both teams. This season, these two games may have sparked a fire to one of the NFL's greatest rivalries. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a tiebreaker in the playoffs. Lets Go Panthers! KEEP POUNDING!

P.S.

let's keep it real, the Superbowl should, and will come down to the NFL's best offense squaring up against the NFL's best defense. Thats a game worth looking at...Bears

AllTheNewsIsNow
AllTheNewsIsNow

Detroit had it.  Detroit lost it.  Kill the goose and start over.

Derek10
Derek10

People, the Dolphins are the 6th seed because they have the best Conference Record. In a 3-way-tie, conference record is used, NOT head to head. Dolphins,Chargers and Ravens are in a 3-way-tie, so Miami gets it for now. 

QUISnJENNI
QUISnJENNI

Chris Burke is obviously pretty stupid! The Steelers are 7-8 and Baltimore should be sitting in the 6th spot. This guy really needs to read the rule book on tiebreakers. 

Scramble
Scramble

The Ravens are still the wild card, they have already beaten the Dolphins.

UnishowponyWherebeef
UnishowponyWherebeef

"Baltimore lost control of its destiny"


Destiny means that something is destined. In other words, there is no control over the outcome. Therefore, only uneducated people use the incorrect expression "control...destiny".

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

I don't understand this:


The Chargers and Steelers, remained alive in the wild-card race thanks to the losses by Miami and Baltimore, plus the win by the Jets (tiebreakers come into play with New York). Both of those teams, now at 8-7, are still in the hunt heading to the season’s final week.


Steelers are 7-8, not 8-7. Why are they still alive? Or is this also a mistake?

The_Hybrid
The_Hybrid

It is quite nice to listen to the silence of the trash talking Seattle fans on my Facebook page. All I heard about all week was how bad they'd beat the Cardinals.


Earlier in the season they set the record for the loudest (imagine that) stadium in the book of world records. Today, it sounds like a tomb.

DavidWells
DavidWells

Wow dumbass...seattle has the best record.

1.sea

2.carolina

3.arizona

Realist
Realist

@Richard--Ramirez Cards are playing better than a lot of teams that will be in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they won't be joining them. Best 10-6 team in the league, though.


johnvas49
johnvas49

My bad, fate basically means the same thing as destiny :-)  Maybe "future" is better?

DavidWells
DavidWells

Hardly. You think a loss deters seattle fans? No way were there even when there losing. We dont cry about a loss. More people are relishing in this victory than saying its a statement. Az is good but a statement is a blowout...not barely hanging in there and winning. Seattle fans already moved on BRO. We will make it there no matter what seed

Leo3
Leo3

@Richard--Ramirez To me the scariest team in the NFC right now might be the Eagles. Having a QB that doesn't throw INT makes a huge difference. 

the_clay_bird
the_clay_bird

@Richard--Ramirez Arizona "probably the best team in the NFC?"  nope.  Dangerous team? absolutely, but i still can't even say with confidence that they are anything better than 3rd best in the NFC West

Realist
Realist

@MortimerSnerd Answer #1: A Panther win, Seahawk loss, and 49er win next week gives the West to the 49ers and the #1 seed to the Panthers. 49ers would be #2.


Answer #2: Yes, a Cardinal win and Saint loss means Arizona is in and the Saints are out. Extremely unlikely, but I've seen stranger things happen. This year, even.


pandah462
pandah462

@VictorNewman You're an owner of the Cardinals?  Or are you just talking about a deck of cards you got for free at a job fair?

bobinpowell
bobinpowell

@QUISnJENNI  OBVIOUSLY, you should be careful tossing around the "pretty stupid" claim for others.

Derek10
Derek10

@QUISnJENNI No, the Dolphins hold the 3-way tiebreaker over BALT and SD. If all 3 finish 9-7, Miami is in. They don't use head-to-head in a 3 way tie. 

Realist
Realist

@UnishowponyWherebeef Good point. Unless you are talking about the Lions or Cowboys. They have control over their outcomes but are destined to blow it.


ChrisJ3
ChrisJ3

Because if Balt.,miami and sd all lose next weed an pit. Wins than they are all 8-8 meaning it would come down to the tiebreaker rules.

sr_esteban
sr_esteban

@KevinB2014 All teams could end up 8-8. In a five-way tie (including the Jets, Miami, Baltimore, Pittsburg and Miami) the Steelers are in.

DanLeeper
DanLeeper

@The_HybridAnd pray tell what earth changing team are you rooting for? Who ever,.. see you in Seattle.No trash just facts. And as far as the 12th man. Loud and louder,.. as I said, come again and see how it works out for you, and I hope your team meets Mr. Percy Harvin this time. That said my hats off to the Cards you did every thing to win this game and over came a great deal, good on you! We'll get you next time.

mkmck69
mkmck69

@bobinpowell @QUISnJENNI You beat me to the punch. It is pretty stupid to call others stupid when you have your "facts" totally wrong.

ChrisMartinez
ChrisMartinez

@Richard--Ramirez @the_clay_bird I wouldn't say dominate. AZ's defense certainly outplayed Seattle's offense, as did Seattle's defense outplay AZ's offense. Despite the INTs, AZ's offense did outplay Seattle's offense just enough. It was close throughout. AZ was actually losing until Palmer-Floyd had a great pass-catch at the end to regain the lead. I'm a Cardinal fan. I know they didn't dominate, but I am still very satisfied with my team accomplishing what many thought was impossible. 

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

@the_clay_bird If you watched the game you would know that AZ did "dominate". Wow you fools must have never played the game, bunch of nerds. Go fetch me a beer you losers.

themekons
themekons

@Richard--Ramirez@the_clay_birdyou're calling someone an 'idiot' because they don't think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFC?  How old are you?  


By the way, the Eagles beat the Cardinals a couple of weeks ago, and beat them pretty soundly if I recall correctly.