By Ben Eagle
December 21, 2014

Here’s what the NFL Playoff Picture looks like after Sunday's action:

Catch up on everything else you missed from Week 16


1. New England Patriots* (12-3)

2. Denver Broncos (11-4)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1)

4. Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5)

6. San Diego Chargers (9-6)

(*clinched home-field advantage throughout playoffs)

In the hunt: Baltimore Ravens (9-6); Houston Texans (8-7); Kansas City Chiefs (8-7).

Superlatives: Teddy quiets critics; Romo shines as Cowboys clinch

New England and Pittsburgh were among the biggest winners in Week 16. With their 17-16 win over the New York Jets, the Patriots secured a first-round bye, and Tom Brady and Co. clinched home-field throughout the playoffs thanks to the Broncos' loss to the Bengals on Monday night. The Steelers assured themselves of at least a wild-card berth with their win over the Chiefs. If Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati in Week 17, the Steelers would win the AFC North and the No. 3 seed by virtue of their tiebreaker over the Colts.

Cincinnati clinched a playoff berth with its win over Denver, but needs to beat Pittsburgh in order to capture the AFC North. A loss to Houston in Week 16 leaves Baltimore needing help to make the playoffs. The Ravens are in if: They beat the Cleveland Browns and the Chargers lose to the Chiefs. 

Coming off an epic comeback over the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, the Chargers are in good shape. Beat the Chiefs in Week 17 and they're in. Lose and they're out.

Kansas City and Houston need a lot of help to make the playoffs. Even if they beat the Chargers, the Chiefs would need losses by the Ravens and Texans to make the playoffs. Houston can make the postseason if it beats the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Ravens and Chargers both lose.


1. Seattle Seahawks (11-4)

2. Detroit Lions (11-4)

3. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

4. Carolina Panthers (6-8-1)

5. Green Bay Packers (11-4)

6. Arizona Cardinals (11-4)

In the hunt: Atlanta Falcons (6-9)

Fantasy Fast Forward: Marquee QBs disappoint during championship week

It'll be winner-take-all in Week 17 in two NFC divisions: the North and the South. The former sees the Lions traveling to Lambeau to face the Packers. Both teams have already clinched playoff berths, but the winner will take the North crown and a likely No. 2 seed. In the South, the winner of the Panthers-Falcons tilt takes the division, the No. 4 seed and a first-round home playoff game.

With their 35-6 win over the Cardinals on Sunday night, the Seahawks secured the inside track on the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. If Seattle, the winner of Detroit/Green Bay and Dallas all finish with 12 wins, they would be seeded in that exact order. The Seahawks, however, could still cede the West to the Cardinals if Seattle loses to the St. Louis Rams in Week 17 and Arizona defeats the San Francisco 49ers. If the Seahawks lose and the Cardinals win, Arizona could be the No. 1 or 2 seed, depending on the outcome of the NFC North finale. If the Packers win, they are the No. 1 seed with Arizona at No. 2. If Detroit wins, the Cardinals would take No. 1 over them by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker. Barring a Packers-Lions tie, Dallas cannot secure the No. 1 seed.

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