NFL Playoff Picture 2022-23: Updated AFC, NFC Standings After Week 17 Early Slate

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2023

NFL Playoff Picture 2022-23: Updated AFC, NFC Standings After Week 17 Early Slate

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    Mike Evans
    Mike EvansKevin Sabitus/Getty Images

    Exactly three-fourths of the 32-team NFL entered Week 17 with a semblance of playoff hope, but the number of available postseason spots has rapidly dropped.

    During the early window Sunday, both the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched a playoff berth. New York locked in a wild-card position, and Tampa Bay put together a late comeback to take down the Carolina Panthers and secure the NFC South title.

    As if that's not enough, two more results changed the congested races for the final wild-card bid in the AFC and NFC.

    And the day is only getting started.

AFC Standings

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    Jerick McKinnon
    Jerick McKinnonDavid Eulitt/Getty Images

    Division Leaders

    1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3; clinched AFC West)
    2. Buffalo Bills (12-3; clinched AFC East)
    3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4; leading AFC North)
    4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8; leading AFC South)


    Wild-Card Race

    5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-6; clinched playoff berth)
    6. Baltimore Ravens (10-6; clinched playoff berth)
    7. New England Patriots (8-8)


    In the Hunt

    8. Miami Dolphins (8-8)
    9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
    11. Tennessee Titans (7-9)


    Eliminated

    10. New York Jets (7-9)
    12. Cleveland Browns (7-9)
    13. Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)
    14. Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1)
    15. Denver Broncos (4-12)
    16. Houston Texans (2-13-1)

NFC Standings

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    Carson Wentz
    Carson WentzAP Photo/Patrick Semansky

    Division Leaders

    1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3, leading NFC East)
    2. San Francisco 49ers (12-4; clinched NFC West)
    3. Minnesota Vikings (12-4; clinched NFC North)
    4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8, clinched NFC South)


    Wild-Card Race

    5. Dallas Cowboys (12-4; clinched playoff berth)
    6. New York Giants (9-6-1; clinched playoff berth)
    7. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)


    In the Hunt

    8. Detroit Lions (8-8)
    9. Green Bay Packers (8-8)
    10. Washington Commanders (7-8-1)


    Eliminated

    11. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
    12. Carolina Panthers (6-10)
    13. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)
    14. Los Angeles Rams (5-11)
    15. Arizona Cardinals (4-12)
    16. Chicago Bears (3-13)

AFC Week 17 Storylines

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    Mac Jones
    Mac JonesBillie Weiss/Getty Images

    The slide continued for the Miami Dolphins, who dropped a fifth straight game and officially dipped out of the AFC picture. Already down Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins lost Teddy Bridgewater to a finger injury and couldn't win with third-stringer Skylar Thompson.

    New England both finished off a 23-21 triumph over Miami and replaced the Dolphins as the AFC's final playoff team.

    Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs kept the pressure on the Buffalo Bills in the race for AFC home-field advantage. Kansas City knocked off the Denver Broncos 27-24 and improved to 13-3. Although the Chiefs are technically the AFC leader, the Bills hold the head-to-head tiebreaker and can regain the No. 1 spot with a Monday win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Additionally, the Cleveland Browns provided an assist to several NFC hopefuls with a 24-10 victory over the Washington Commanders—but more on that shortly.

NFC Week 17 Storylines

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    New York Giants' Daniel Jones (8) runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
    AP Photo/Bryan Woolston

    Three early results had a major impact on the NFC playoff race.

    First up, the New York Giants clinched a wild-card berth thanks to a dominant 38-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Daniel Jones threw two touchdowns and scampered for two more, propelling the Giants to the postseason for the first time in six years.

    But as the Giants snagged a playoff spot, the Washington Commanders opened the door for the third wild-card position.

    Carson Wentz tossed three interceptions in the setback to the Browns, allowing the Detroit Lions to officially enter the NFC bracket after a 41-10 trouncing of the Chicago Bears.

    Along with Detroit, the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks—both winners in the late-afternoon window—have greater hope in the postseason race because of Washington's loss.

    Carolina saw its improbable playoff dream end, though.

    Tampa Bay snatched the NFC South crown behind massive days from Tom Brady and Mike Evans. Brady threw for 432 yards, connecting with Evans 10 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns. Tampa's defense sealed the 30-24 triumph with a key fumble recovery.

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