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NFL Playoff Picture 2022-23: Updated AFC, NFC Standings After Week 16 Sunday Slate

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 25, 2022

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 24: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals warms up against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)
Nick Grace/Getty Images

NFL teams are running out of time to make one final playoff push.

With that in mind, here is a look at the standings as a busy holiday weekend plays out across the league:


AFC

1. Buffalo Bills, 12-3 (tiebreaker: head-to-head. Clinched AFC East)

2. Kansas City Chiefs, 12-3 (clinched AFC West)

3. Cincinnati Bengals, 11-4 (clinched playoff berth)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 7-8 (tiebreaker: head-to-head)

5. Baltimore Ravens, 10-5 (clinched playoff berth)

6. Los Angeles Chargers, 8-6

7. Miami Dolphins, 8-7

8. New England Patriots, 7-8 (tiebreaker: AFC winning percentage)

9. New York Jets, 7-8 (tiebreaker: winning percentage in common games)

10. Tennessee Titans, 7-8 (tiebreaker: AFC winning percentage)

11. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-8

12. Las Vegas Raiders, 6-9 (tiebreaker: AFC winning percentage)

13. Cleveland Browns, 6-9 (eliminated)

14. Indianapolis Colts, 4-9-1 (eliminated)

15. Denver Broncos, 4-11 (eliminated)

16. Houston Texans, 2-12-1 (eliminated)


NFC

1. Philadelphia Eagles, 13-2 (clinched playoff berth)

2. Minnesota Vikings, 12-3 (clinched NFC North)

3. San Francisco 49ers, 11-4 (clinched NFC West)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7-8

5. Dallas Cowboys, 11-4 (clinched playoff berth)

6. New York Giants, 8-6-1

7. Washington Commanders, 7-7-1

8. Seattle Seahawks, 7-8 (tiebreaker: head-to-head)

9. Detroit Lions, 7-8 (tiebreaker: head-to-head)

10. Green Bay Packers, 7-8

11. Carolina Panthers, 6-9 (tiebreaker: head-to-head)

12. New Orleans Saints, 6-9

13. Los Angeles Rams, 5-10 (eliminated)

14. Atlanta Falcons, 5-10 (eliminated)

15. Arizona Cardinals, 4-11 (eliminated)

16. Chicago Bears, 3-12 (eliminated)


There is no doubt the most important game of the upcoming Week 17 slate is for playoff positioning.

The 11-4 Cincinnati Bengals host the 12-3 Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football in a contest with massive implications for the AFC playoff picture. Both teams are alive in the race for the conference's No. 1 seed and only first-round bye, and a win for the Bengals would give them head-to-head victories over the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

It doesn't get better than that for tiebreaker purposes, though the reigning AFC champions would still need the Chiefs to lose once more to have a chance for the No. 1 seed.

Cincinnati seemed to have the proverbial Super Bowl hangover during a 4-4 start that included a blowout loss to the rival Cleveland Browns, but it has more than found its footing with seven straight wins.

Joe Burrow has put himself in the MVP discussion with 17 touchdown passes during that span, and a head-to-head win over Josh Allen and the Bills after one over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would be quite the statement.

Burrow and Co. aren't the only ones playing impressive football. The Bills have won six in a row since their Week 11 game against the Browns was moved to Detroit because of weather concerns. That was right ahead of a Week 12 road contest against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.

The Allen-Stefon Diggs combination will be a handful for the Bengals secondary, just like Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase will be for the Bills.

From the star power on display when each offense takes the field to the implications in the AFC playoff race to the Monday night spotlight, all eyes will be on the showdown between Buffalo and Cincinnati.

The winner may just have a first-round bye waiting for them at the end of the season.