NFL Playoff Picture 2021: Week 16 Wild-Card Hunt, Standings and Super Bowl Odds

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 20, 2021

NFL Playoff Picture 2021: Week 16 Wild-Card Hunt, Standings and Super Bowl Odds

0 of 4

    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    No team in the NFL had clinched a playoff berth heading into Sunday. Three NFC division-leaders each needed a win to help change that. Only one came through.

    The Green Bay Packers became the first team in the league to secure a postseason berth, clinching the NFC North title with a 31-30 road win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday evening. The Packers, who are now an NFL-best 11-3, have won their division in three straight seasons.

    The Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed their chances to secure their playoff berths because of their respective defeats to the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints.

    There are still four Week 15 games to be played (two on Monday and two on Tuesday), which means one more team could clinch by the end of the week. The Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants on Sunday, and they will win the NFC East title if the Washington Football Team loses to the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday.

    With the majority of the gameweek's action complete, here are the NFL standings, the latest Super Bowl odds and breakdowns of the playoff pictures in the AFC and NFC.

Current NFL Standings

1 of 4

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    AFC East

    New England Patriots (9-5)

    Buffalo Bills (8-6)

    Miami Dolphins (7-7)

    New York Jets (3-11)


    AFC North

    Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)

    Baltimore Ravens (8-6)

    Cleveland Browns (7-6)

    Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)


    AFC South

    Tennessee Titans (9-5)

    Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

    Houston Texans (3-11)

    Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)


    AFC West

    Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)

    Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

    Denver Broncos (7-7)

    Las Vegas Raiders (6-7)


    NFC East

    Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

    Washington Football Team (6-7)

    Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

    New York Giants (4-10)


    NFC North

    Green Bay Packers (11-3)

    Minnesota Vikings (6-7)

    Chicago Bears (4-9)

    Detroit Lions (2-11-1)


    NFC South

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-4)

    New Orleans Saints (7-7)

    Atlanta Falcons (6-8)

    Carolina Panthers (5-9)


    NFC West

    Arizona Cardinals (10-4)

    Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

    San Francisco 49ers (8-6)

    Seattle Seahawks (5-8)

Latest Super Bowl Odds

2 of 4

    Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

    Green Bay Packers: +450 (bet $100 to win $450)

    Kansas City Chiefs: +450

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +600

    New England Patriots: +1000

    Los Angeles Rams: +1000

    Buffalo Bills: +1000

    Dallas Cowboys: +1200

    Indianapolis Colts: +1600

    Arizona Cardinals: +1800

    Tennessee Titans: +2500

    San Francisco 49ers: +3000

    Los Angeles Chargers: +3500

    Cincinnati Bengals: +4000

    Cleveland Browns: +6000

    Baltimore Ravens: +6000

    Philadelphia Eagles: +8000

    New Orleans Saints: +10000

    Minnesota Vikings: +10000

    Pittsburgh Steelers: +15000

    Seattle Seahawks: +20000

    Denver Broncos: +20000

    Miami Dolphins: +20000

    Washington Football Team: +20000

    Las Vegas Raiders: +25000

    Atlanta Falcons: +50000

    New York Giants: +100000

    Chicago Bears: +100000

    Carolina Panthers: +100000


    Via DraftKings Sportsbook.

AFC Playoff Picture

3 of 4

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)

    No. 2 New England Patriots (9-5) vs. No. 7 Buffalo Bills (8-6)

    No. 3 Tennessee Titans (9-5) vs. No. 6 Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

    No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) vs. No. 5 Indianapolis Colts (8-6)

    In the hunt: Baltimore Ravens (8-6), Cleveland Browns (7-6), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1), Miami Dolphins (7-7), Denver Broncos (7-7), Las Vegas Raiders (6-7)


    The AFC North race is incredibly tight, and all four teams could be separated by a half-game when Week 15 is over. The Ravens entered the week as the leader, but they are out of a playoff spot after losing to the Packers.

    The Cincinnati Bengals took over the No. 1 spot in the AFC North with a victory over the Denver Broncos. However, their time at the top could be short-lived because the Cleveland Browns will become the leaders if they can beat the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday evening.

    Even if Cleveland loses, it will remain in the mix. And the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the conversation after notching a victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

    If the Browns win, the Bengals would still be in a playoff spot. In that scenario, the Buffalo Bills would fall from the No. 7 seed to outside the postseason bubble even though they beat the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

    Las Vegas may need to beat Cleveland on Monday if it hopes to stay in the playoff mix. If the Raiders lose, they would then be two games back of the five teams that would be tied at 8-6. There are still three regular-season weeks to go, but it would be difficult for Las Vegas to get in.

    The Kansas City Chiefs' recent hot streak has them firmly atop the AFC standings. They beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night for their seventh consecutive win. With the New England Patriots and Tennessee both losing in Week 15, Kansas City has a one-game lead for the No. 1 seed.

    Another team that has been surging is the Miami Dolphins, who beat the New York Jets to earn their sixth consecutive victory after a 1-7 start. They will need other teams to start losing to get into the postseason, but they are doing their part by winning every week.

NFC Playoff Picture

4 of 4

    Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Green Bay Packers (11-3)

    No. 2 Dallas Cowboys (10-4) vs. No. 7 New Orleans Saints (7-7)

    No. 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-4) vs. No. 6 San Francisco 49ers (8-6)

    No. 4 Arizona Cardinals (10-4) vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

    In the hunt: Washington Football Team (6-7), Minnesota Vikings (6-7), Philadelphia Eagles (6-7), Atlanta Falcons (6-8), Seattle Seahawks (5-8), Carolina Panthers (5-9), Chicago Bears (4-9), New York Giants (4-10)


    The Cowboys benefited from the Buccaneers and Cardinals both losing Sunday, as Dallas would be the No. 2 seed in the NFC if the season ended today. All three of those teams are still in the running for the top seed, with each only one game back of Green Bay.

    However, Arizona is trending in the wrong direction. After a 7-0 start, the Cardinals have dropped four of their past seven games, including Sunday's loss to the lowly Detroit Lions. They are still going to be in first place in the NFC West entering Week 16, but the Los Angeles Rams could have an identical 10-4 record if they beat the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.

    Even though L.A. can't take the NFC West lead, it can move closer to clinching a playoff berth. A win would give it a two-game advantage over the San Francisco 49ers, who are the No. 6 seed. At that point, it would be highly unlikely the Rams would fall out of a postseason spot.

    The Saints moved into the No. 7 spot with their upset road win over the Buccaneers on Sunday night. But three of the other teams that entered the week at 6-7 have yet to play their Week 15 games, so New Orleans may not be in that position for long.

    If the Minnesota Vikings win Monday or the Philadelphia Eagles win Tuesday, then the Saints would drop in the standings. The only way they can stay in that spot is if Minnesota loses to Chicago and Philadelphia loses to Washington, as New Orleans would own the tiebreaker over Washington.

    The Atlanta Falcons' path to the playoffs got much tougher Sunday, when they lost to the 49ers. The same thing will happen to the Seahawks if they lose to the Rams on Tuesday.

    With how crowded the NFC wild-card race is, teams such as the Panthers, Chicago Bears and New York Giants are still mathematically alive. But it's hard to imagine that enough goes wrong for the teams ahead of them that any of them will end up in the playoffs this season.


    If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

    Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

    21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for details.