NFL Scores Week 16: AFC, NFC Playoff Picture, Standings and Results

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2021

NFL Scores Week 16: AFC, NFC Playoff Picture, Standings and Results

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Heading into Week 16, much of the NFL playoff picture remained undecided. Only the Green Bay Packers had locked up a postseason berth. The Dallas Cowboys punched their ticket Thursday night with a San Francisco 49ers loss, though, and both of Saturday's games carried playoff implications.

    With part of Sunday's action complete, the playoff picture is becoming just a little clearer.

    The Cincinnati Bengals staked their claim to the AFC North on Sunday, while the Buffalo Bills did the same in the AFC East.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched the NFC South with a blowout win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Though the Arizona Cardinals lost on Saturday, they still clinched a playoff berth with losses by the 49ers and Minnesota Vikings.

    The Kansas City Chiefs annihilated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late afternoon Sunday to clinch the AFC West. The Las Vegas Raiders, meanwhile, kept their playoff hopes alive with a win over the Denver Broncos.

    Below, you'll find a full list of results from Week 16, along with an updated look at the playoff picture and key scenarios coming out of Sunday's action.

Week 16 Results

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Tennessee Titans 20, San Francisco 49ers 17 (Thursday)

    Green Bay Packers 24, Cleveland Browns 22 (Saturday)

    Indianapolis Colts 22, Arizona Cardinals 16 (Saturday)

    Atlanta Falcons 20, Detroit Lions 16

    Cincinnati Bengals 41, Baltimore Ravens 21

    Houston Texans 41, Los Angeles Chargers 29

    Los Angeles Rams 30, Minnesota Vikings 23

    Buffalo Bills 33, New England Patriots 21

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32, Carolina Panthers 6

    New York Jets 26, Jacksonville Jaguars 21

    Philadelphia Eagles 34, New York Giants 10

    Las Vegas Raiders 17, Denver Broncos 13

    Chicago Bears 25, Seattle Seahawks 24

    Kansas City Chiefs 36, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

    Dallas Cowboys 56, Washington Football Team 14

AFC Standings

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 (Z)

    Tennessee Titans 10-5

    Cincinnati Bengals 9-6

    Buffalo Bills 9-6

    Indianapolis Colts 9-6

    New England Patriots 9-6

    Baltimore Ravens 8-7

    Los Angeles Chargers 8-7

    Las Vegas Raiders 8-7

    Miami Dolphins 7-7

    Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7-1

    Cleveland Browns 7-8

    Denver Broncos 7-8

    New York Jets 4-11

    Houston Texans 4-11

    Jacksonville Jaguars 2-13


    *Z=clinched division, X=clinched playoff spot

AFC Playoff Picture

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    The AFC playoff picture remains as cloudy as ever, and no team has truly separated itself—aside from the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.

    Consider that last Monday, the Cleveland Browns were playing for first place in the AFC North. Their COVID-19-stricken roster fell to the Las Vegas Raiders, they lost to the Packers on Saturday and now they sit near the bottom of the AFC.

    For now, the North belongs to the Bengals, who are fresh off their second blowout victory over the Baltimore Ravens. They haven't clinched the division, though. If Cincinnati falls to Kansas City and Cleveland over the final two weeks, the Browns could still sneak in and snag the division.

    The Tennessee Titans took another step toward winning the AFC South with their Thursday night win. Back-to-back losses by the New England Patriots have opened the door for Buffalo in the AFC East. If the Bills win out, they'll claim the division.

    Kansas City remains in control of the AFC's No. 1 seed, but it hasn't locked it up yet. The Chiefs did, however, lock up the AFC West and become the first team in the AFC to clinch a playoff berth.

    The Chiefs only needed a win to get in. With the Houston Texans' upset win over the Los Angeles Chargers, however, Kansas City is now division champion.

    The Chargers' loss and the Steelers' loss leave both teams on the outside looking in with two weeks to go.

NFC Standings

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    Green Bay Packers 12-3 (Z)

    Dallas Cowboys 11-4 (Z)

    Los Angeles Rams 11-4 (X)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-4 (Z)

    Arizona Cardinals 10-5 (X)

    San Francisco 49ers 8-7

    Philadelphia Eagles 8-7

    New Orleans Saints 7-7

    Minnesota Vikings 7-8

    Atlanta Falcons 7-8

    Washington Football Team 6-9

    Carolina Panthers 5-10

    Chicago Bears 5-10

    Seattle Seahawks 5-10

    New York Giants 4-11

    Detroit Lions 2-12-1


    *Z=clinched division, X=clinched playoff spot

NFC Playoff Picture

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    Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    The Packers are going to host a playoff game. That much we know. By outlasting the Browns on Saturday, the Packers also remain in control of the NFC's No. 1 seed.

    The Cowboys are still in the race for the top seed, though, as are the Buccaneers. Green Bay is in a good position with two games left. If the Packers can take care of business against the Vikings and the Detroit Lions, they'll earn a first-round bye.

    Of course, Green Bay is not taking anything for granted.

    "Now, granted we haven't gotten to where we want to go and we know that there's a lot more in front of us," head coach Matt LaFleur said, per Mike Spofford of the team's official website. "Like the old saying goes, you're either getting better or you're getting worse, you're never staying the same, and I think those guys take that to heart."

    With Tampa claiming the NFC South, only two divisions remain undecided in the NFC. The Cowboys clinched the NFC East via tiebreakers before facing the Washington Football Team on Sunday night. Las Vegas' win gave Dallas the strength-of-victory tiebreaker it needed to claim the division.

    The Cardinals are in the postseason but have, for now, ceded the NFC West to the Los Angeles Rams. Like Arizona, Los Angeles is also in the postseason thanks to its win Sunday.