Some NFL division races are going to come down to the final week of the regular season. Surprisingly, the AFC East could be one of them.
The New England Patriots have won the AFC East title in 10 straight seasons and 15 of the past 16. They can continue the streak with a win over the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
However, imagine if the Bills go on the road and take down the Pats. Then, both teams would be 11-4 entering Week 17. And while it may seem unlikely that Buffalo would win its first AFC East title since 1995, anything is possible.
The Patriots-Bills matchup will be a game to watch this week for that reason. Heading into Week 16, here's a look at the full NFL playoff picture, along with standings, clinching scenarios and Super Bowl LIV odds.
NFL Playoff Picture
1. Baltimore (12-2)
2. New England (11-3)
3. Kansas City (10-4)
4. Houston (9-5)
5. Buffalo (10-4)
6. Pittsburgh (8-6)
In the Hunt
7. Tennessee (8-6)
8. Cleveland (6-8)
9. Oakland (6-8)
1. Seattle (11-3)
2. Green Bay (11-3)
3. New Orleans (11-3)
4. Dallas (7-7)
5. San Francisco (11-3)
6. Minnesota (10-4)
In the Hunt
7. L.A. Rams (8-6)
8. Philadelphia (7-7)
The Ravens would clinch a first-round bye this weekend with a win or tie against the Browns. They would also secure the spot if the Chiefs lose to or tie the Bears, or if the Patriots lose to the Bills.
In order to secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Baltimore needs one of the following scenarios: a win, a tie and a New England loss/tie or a Kansas City loss/tie and a New England loss.
New England Patriots
The Patriots can clinch the AFC East title on Saturday with a win or tie against the Bills. They could also secure a first-round bye if they win and the Chiefs lose or tie, or if they tie and the Chiefs lose.
The Texans are closing in on solidifying their spot in the playoffs. They will clinch the AFC South with a win over the Buccaneers, or if the Titans lose to the Saints. They would also secure the division title if both teams tie.
If none of those scenarios unfold, Houston could also clinch a playoff berth but not secure the AFC South this week. That would happen if the Texans tie the Bucs and the Steelers tie the Jets, or if Pittsburgh loses.
Green Bay Packers
The NFC North race is in the Packers' hands. If they beat or tie the Vikings on Monday night, then they'll secure the division title.
However, if Minnesota wins, the division race will continue into Week 17.
The Cowboys and Eagles are tied atop the NFC East at 7-7, but the race could end this week.
The only scenario in which that happens? If Dallas beats Philadelphia on the road, which would give it a pair of wins over the Eagles this season.
Not only would the Vikings prevent the Packers from winning the NFC North title with a win, but they would also clinch a playoff berth in the process.
Minnesota can also clinch a postseason spot with a tie, or if the Rams lose to or tie the 49ers.
Super Bowl Odds (via Caesars)
Baltimore Ravens +225 (bet $100 to win $225)
New Orleans Saints +450
Seattle Seahawks +450
New England Patriots +600
San Francisco 49ers +600
Kansas City Chiefs +700
Green Bay Packers +1400
Minnesota Vikings +1600
Dallas Cowboys +3000
Houston Texans +3000
Buffalo Bills +3500
Philadelphia Eagles +6000
Pittsburgh Steelers +7500
Tennessee Titans +7500
Los Angeles Rams +75000
Cleveland Browns +500000
Oakland Raiders +500000
It's no surprise that the Ravens continue to have the best odds to win Super Bowl LIV.
Baltimore has been unstoppable since its 2-2 start to the season. From that point on, the Ravens have won 10 consecutive games, a franchise record. They've also taken down several of the other top Super Bowl contenders, such as the Seahawks, 49ers, Patriots and Texans.
Since its inaugural season in 1996, Baltimore has never won 14 games in a regular season. But with remaining contests against Cleveland and Pittsburgh, it's quite possible the Ravens are closing in on the best year in franchise history.
While the Ravens are the clear top team in the AFC, the NFC picture is more crowded. None of the teams at the top of the conference are an overwhelming favorite to reach the Super Bowl, or go on to win it.
The Seahawks, Packers, Saints and 49ers all have 11-3 records with two weeks of the regular season remaining. So, it should be an exciting battle to see which of those two teams will earn first-round byes in the playoffs.
Of course, Seattle and San Francisco are still in a tight race for the NFC West, but the division won't be decided until Week 17, when the Seahawks and 49ers will face off in Seattle.
The Rams, Browns and Raiders are all still mathematically alive in the playoff race, hence the reason they're still listed among the Super Bowl LIV odds. But it's going to take a lot of help for any of those teams to reach the postseason.
The only team currently not in the playoffs that could get in is likely the Titans, who have the same record as the Steelers—the second AFC wild card—with two weeks to go.