NFL Playoff Picture Week 16: AFC, NFC Standings, Bracket Scenarios and Odds

Joe TanseyDecember 22, 2022

NFL Playoff Picture Week 16: AFC, NFC Standings, Bracket Scenarios and Odds

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 18:  New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) during the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions on December 18, 2022 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    NFL Week 16 is full of matchups that will alter the playoff races in the AFC and NFC.

    The Thursday night clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets is one of two elimination games for the wild-card places

    The Saturday night showdown between the Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers will also take one team out of playoff contention for good.

    Over in the NFC, three of the four teams fighting for the No. 6 seed are expected to lose on the road. That could open the door for the Detroit Lions to be in a playoff position at the end of the week.

    Meanwhile, at the top, the Philadelphia Eagles can clinch home-field advantage with a win over the Dallas Cowboys.

    The order at the top of the AFC will likely not be confirmed until Week 18.

AFC Standings

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    Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

    Division Leaders

    1. Buffalo - 11-3

    2. Kansas City - 11-3

    3. Cincinnati - 10-4

    4. Tennessee 7-7

    Wild-Card Race

    5. Baltimore - 9-5

    6. Los Angeles Chargers - 8-6

    7. Miami - 8-6

    8. New England - 7-7

    9. New York Jets - 7-7

    10. Jacksonville - 6-8

    11. Las Vegas - 6-8

    12. Cleveland - 6-8

    13. Pittsburgh - 6-8

    The important games in the AFC playoff race start on Thursday at MetLife Stadium.

    The New York Jets are currently +400 (bet $100 to win $400) to make the postseason.

    Robert Saleh's team must beat the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep pace with other teams in the wild-card race.

    Jacksonville is 6-8 and could have its sights set on the AFC South crown. The Jags are -145 (bet $145 to win $100) to beat out the Tennessee Titans for the top spot in the division.

    Tennessee plays host to the Houston Texans on Saturday. The Titans should remain in first place leading into the Week 18 clash with Jacksonville.

    Two other 6-8 teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders, play on Christmas Eve in an elimination game.

    Neither side has a clear path to the postseason, but the winner will at least remain alive for another week.

    The Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins should hold on to the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds in the AFC. Miami hosts Green Bay on Christmas Day and the Chargers visit Indianapolis on Monday.

    The Chargers are -1000 to make the playoffs and the Dolphins have -300 odds to enter the postseason field.

    Buffalo and Kansas City are expected to remain in first and second place. The Bills visit Chicago and Kansas City plays host to Seattle.

    Cincinnati, who hosts Buffalo next week, visits New England on Saturday. The Patriots need a win to stay in front of the Jets and as the first challenger outside the wild-card positions.

    The Bengals are +500 to earn the AFC's No. 1 seed. They need to beat New England to set a possibility of claiming the top spot with a win over Buffalo.

    Buffalo is a +150 favorite to land the top seed. Kansas City is +260 to earn that position.

NFC Standings

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 18:  Detroit Lions linebacker James Houston (59) during the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions on December 18, 2022 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Division Leaders

    1. Philadelphia - 13-1

    2. Minnesota - 11-3

    3. San Francisco - 10-4

    4. Tampa Bay - 6-8

    Wild-Card Race

    5. Dallas - 10-4

    6. New York Giants - 8-5-1

    7. Washington - 7-6-1

    8. Seattle - 7-7

    9. Detroit - 7-7

    The NFC playoff picture is more straightforward than the AFC.

    Philadelphia needs one win in three weeks to clinch home-field advantage.

    The Eagles visit Dallas on Saturday and they could be without quarterback Jalen Hurts.

    A result in Dallas does not matter for the Eagles because they can come home next week and beat New Orleans to clinch.

    Dallas is in a safe spot, even if it loses, to land the No. 5 seed and a likely trip to Tampa.

    The Buccaneers are -400 to win the NFC South. They are one game ahead of the other three teams in the division.

    Tampa Bay needs a win over an Arizona team starting Trace McSorley on Christmas Day to keep that advantage.

    The wild-card race is where the standings could change in the NFC.

    The New York Giants visit Minnesota, Washington heads to San Francisco and Seattle will be in Kansas City on Saturday.

    Detroit visits Carolina, where a win is expected to potentially leap the Commanders and Seahawks.

    The Lions are +125 to qualify for the postseason. They carry better odds than the Seahawks at +200 and the Commanders at +225.

    The Giants are safe for now because of their buffer in the win column. They can't drop out of the playoff places in Week 16.

    Detroit can jump into the seventh spot with losses by Washington and Seattle. A loss by the Seahawks is more important right now because Pete Carroll's team owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions.

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

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