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

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 23, 2021

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

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Through 15 weeks of the NFL season, the Green Bay Packers are the only team that has clinched a playoff berth. They are 11-3 after beating the Baltimore Ravens last week to secure their third consecutive NFC North title.

    Although no other team has made the postseason, it's almost certain that will change in Week 16. The Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all have an opportunity to capture division titles, while the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams could also seal playoff spots.

    Heading into Week 16, here's a look at the latest Super Bowl odds, as well as the playoff picture for both the AFC and NFC and potential clinching scenarios, per ESPN's Kevin Seifert.

Latest Super Bowl Odds

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

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

    Kansas City Chiefs: +450

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +650

    New England Patriots: +900

    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: +3000

    Cincinnati Bengals: +3500

    Baltimore Ravens: +3500

    Philadelphia Eagles: +8000

    Minnesota Vikings: +8000

    Cleveland Browns: +10000

    New Orleans Saints: +10000

    Pittsburgh Steelers: +15000

    Seattle Seahawks: +20000

    Denver Broncos: +20000

    Miami Dolphins: +20000

    Las Vegas Raiders: +20000

    Washington Football Team: +20000

    Atlanta Falcons: +50000

    New York Giants: +100000

    Carolina Panthers: +100000


    Via DraftKings Sportsbook.

AFC Playoff Picture, Scenarios

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    Ashley Landis/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), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1), Las Vegas Raiders (7-7), Miami Dolphins (7-7), Cleveland Browns (7-7), Denver Broncos (7-7)


    The Chiefs could win their sixth straight AFC West title Sunday, but it's going to require some help. In order for that to happen, they have to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and also need the Los Angeles Chargers to lose to the Houston Texans.

    It's unlikely that Los Angeles is going to be knocked off by Houston, so the AFC West race should continue another week. But even if Kansas City clinches, it will still have an incentive to finish the regular season strong, as it can't secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC this week.

    The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills will be playing with first place in the AFC East on the line Sunday. If New England wins, then Buffalo will be eliminated from the division race. However, the Pats can't clinch the title unless the Miami Dolphins lose to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

    The Titans swept the season series against the Indianapolis Colts, so their one-game lead in the AFC South is more like a two-game advantage. Tennessee can clinch the division title in Week 16 if it beats the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night and Indianapolis loses to the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.

    Any of the four teams in the AFC North could still win the division title, as they are all separated by one game. The Cincinnati Bengals enter Week 16 as the leader, but they have a home matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, who have an identical 8-6 record.

    Either Cincinnati or Baltimore will be in first place in the AFC North heading into Week 17, but the Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns would keep things incredibly tight if they can win this week. The Browns face the Packers on Saturday, while the Steelers take on the Chiefs on Sunday.

    The wild-card picture is also crowded, and there are a bunch of potential scenarios for how things could unfold over the next three weeks. The Colts, Chargers and Bills each control their own destiny. They could all also still claim division titles by winning out.

    The Dolphins are an interesting team to watch because they have won six straight games since a 1-7 start. However, they have a challenging road matchup Monday night against the Saints, who have won back-to-back games and are battling for a playoff berth themselves.

NFC Playoff Picture, Scenarios

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

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

    No. 2 Dallas Cowboys (10-4) vs. No. 7 Minnesota Vikings (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 (10-4)

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


    The Packers are the front-runners to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but nothing can be decided in Week 16. They could have a two-game advantage over the four teams only one game back, but it's also unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams all lose this week.

    Dallas has a good opportunity to clinch the NFC East title Sunday. It can do so with a victory over the Washington Football Team on Sunday night or if the Philadelphia Eagles lose to the New York Jets earlier in the day. The Eagles may win, but the Cowboys are also likely to earn a victory this week to end the division race.

    Tampa Bay is in the same position in the NFC South. It will clinch the division title with a win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday or if New Orleans loses to Miami on Monday night. The Saints stayed alive with a victory over the Bucs last time out, but they need to win the rest of their games and have Tampa Bay lose all of theirs in order to capture the division title.

    Arizona is in first place in the NFC West, but Los Angeles also has a 10-4 record. So the division race could come down to Week 18 depending on what happens over the next three weeks.

    However, the Cardinals and Rams can at least both clinch playoff berths this week. Arizona will get in with a win over Indianapolis on Saturday or losses from Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco, Minnesota and New Orleans or New Orleans and Philadelphia. Los Angeles will clinch with a win over the Vikings or losses from New Orleans and Philadelphia.

    The 49ers are in a good position to make the playoffs, as they are the No. 6 seed and have a one-game lead over the three teams tied for the No. 7 spot. Although San Francisco can't clinch this week, a win over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night would be big in helping it fend off the rest of the field.

    The Vikings have the edge in the three-way tiebreaker with the Eagles and Saints, but any of these teams could get into the postseason with a strong finish. And with several teams still close behind, a lot of scenarios are in play over the final three weeks of the regular season.


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