NFL playoff picture after Week 16: Ravens move closer to top seed in AFC; NFC up for grabs

The Baltimore Ravens earned their most impressive win of the season on Monday night, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 33-19. In addition to making them look like worthy Super Bowl contenders, the win puts them in a great position in the AFC. At 12-3, they are one game ahead of Miami and have a chance to clinch first place next week in a game against those same Dolphins.

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ loss puts them at 11-4 and in a three-way tie atop the NFC with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. The 49ers have the tiebreaker on both, but with two games to go there’s still time for the Eagles or Lions to make a move.

As for the rest of the NFL, Week 16 saw a lot of movement in the playoff picture. Let’s take a look at where things stand as we enter Week 17.

The odds listed to reach the playoffs, secure the No. seed. 1 and winning the Super Bowl are all valid AtleticoThe NFL betting model, created by Austin Mock.

AFC playoff photo

Seed squad Documentation Week 16 result

x–1

12-3

W vs. SF

x–2

11-4

W against DAL

3

9-6

L versus LV

4

8-7

L versus TB

5

10-5

W v HOU

6

9-6

W v LAC

7

8-7

L vs. ATL

x — A playoff spot secured | z – Division title won

Baltimore Crows

The Ravens sent a message to San Francisco, not just on the scoreboard with their explosion of the 49ers, but with the way they unleashed physicality all night. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald may have made his way onto some candidate lists for teams with head coaching vacancies.

Remaining program: against Miami Dolphins, against Pittsburgh Steelers

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 100% | Earn money bye: 69.5% | Winning the Super Bowl: 17.2%.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins just got their first win of the season Sunday against the Cowboys, and they got it with a game-winning drive just before the buzzer. It’s a huge accomplishment, not just for a team aiming for seeding, but as the Dolphins work to build confidence ahead of the playoffs. Now they are in a position to take over the No. 1 seed. 1 if they can win Sunday in Baltimore.

Remaining program: at the Ravens, against Buffalo Bills

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 100% | Earning hi: 28.9 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 13.2%.

The Chiefs have lost five of eight, and are 2-3 this season against teams that currently have winning records. While it may seem reckless to write off quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ resume is not representative of a team poised to win four straight playoff games.

Remaining program: against the Cincinnati Bengals, against the Los Angeles Chargers

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 98.1% | To earn hi: 0 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 9.1%.

The Jags are struggling with a four-game losing streak, and injuries to quarterback Trevor Lawrence are mounting throughout the week. Their offensive woes the last two weeks can be explained by injuries and Lawrence’s lack of practice time, but the defense is also slipping, giving up 29.5 points per game during the skid. On the other hand, the Bucs scored three touchdowns off turnovers, so it became a popular meltdown.

Remaining program: against Carolina Panthers, of the Tennessee Titans

Chance: Reach the playoffs: 65.9% | To earn hi: 0 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 1.2%.

GO DEEPER

NFL Week 16 highlights: Browns, Joe Flacco do it again; time to consider the Lions contenders?

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who was sitting on his couch watching football five Sundays ago, had three straight 300-yard games for the first time in his career. He hasn’t had three 300-yard games in a full season since 2016. Simply remarkable rushing.

Remaining program: against New York Jets, at the Bengals

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 100% | Earning hi: 1.6 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 2.9%.

Buffalo bills

The Bills began their three-game winning streak in Kansas City and are as dangerous as any team in the AFC. There’s also a chance to see the next chapter of the Bills-Chiefs mini-rivalry in the wild card round.

Remaining program: to the New England Patriots, to the Dolphins

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 90.3% | To earn hi: 0 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 4.7%.

The Colts laid an egg in a 29-10 loss at Atlanta, and are now in a four-way tie with the Texans, Steelers and Bengals. The Colts will almost certainly have to win and hope tiebreakers work in their favor to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2020.

Remaining program: vs. Raiders, vs. Houston Texans

Chance: Making the playoffs: 66.4% | To earn hi: 0 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 0.9%.

In the hunt

• Houston Texans (8-7)
• Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7)
• Cincinnati Bengals (8-7)
• Denver Broncos (7-8)
• Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)

Eliminated

• New York Jets (6-9)
• Tennessee Titans (5-10)
• Los Angeles Chargers (5-10)
• New England Patriots (4-11)


NFC playoff image

Seed squad Documentation Week 16 result

z–1

11-4

L against BAL

x–2

11-4

W v NYG

z–3

11-4

W versus MINIMUM

4

8-7

W vs. JAX

x–5

10-5

L versus MINE

6

8-7

W versus NO

7

8-7

W against TEN

x — A playoff spot secured | z – Division title won

San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback Brock Purdy’s four interceptions will dominate the spotlight in the wake of the 49ers’ one-sided loss to the Ravens, but they won’t ignore another key aspect. After falling behind 23-12 with 12:07 remaining in the third quarter, Purdy managed just 8-of-14 passing for 107 yards and an interception on four scoreless possessions before leaving with an injury. The 49ers’ concern has been their inability to erase late deficits, and they didn’t make much of a dent when they fell behind Monday night.

Remaining program: to Washington Commanders, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 100% | Earning hi: 74.3 percent | To win the Super Bowl: 25.5%.

Philadelphia Eagles

It’s now well established that little will be easy for the Eagles, who haven’t won a game by more than 8 points since Week 7. While their final two regular season games are against non-playoff foes, they will be personal. against former defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and the Arizona Cardinals before a rematch with the Giants. The quality of the opponent won’t be elite, but they will be tough games that will serve as good tune-ups for the playoffs.

Remaining program: against Cardinals, at Giants

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 100% | Earning hi: 22.4 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 7.8%.

go deeper

GO DEEPER

The Eagles hold off the Giants to snap a skid while DeVito goes to the bench

Detroit Lions

The Lions finally won the NFC North and will host a playoff game for the first time in 30 years. They will also be looking for their first postseason victory in 32 years – and only their second in the Super Bowl era. And in sadistically appropriate fashion, they might have to go through fan favorite Matthew Stafford to get it done.

Remaining program: at the Dallas Cowboys, against Minnesota Vikings

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 100% | Earning hi: 2.9 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 5.2%.

The Bucs have won four in a row, but hadn’t necessarily beaten a quality opponent until they looked good against the Jaguars. There won’t be high expectations for the Buccaneers — or whoever wins the NFC South — against the NFC East runner-up, but a playoff berth in a rebuilding year after a 4-7 start should be seen as a huge success in Tampa.

Remaining program: against New Orleans Saints, at the Panthers

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 89.1% | To earn hi: 0 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 1.7%.

Dallas Cowboys

With Sunday’s loss at Miami, the Cowboys fell to 2-2 this season in one-possession games, and have only won once (week 13 against the Seahawks) when trailing after the first quarter. Their lack of success in closely contested games will once again be a concern in the playoffs.

Remaining program: against Leoni, to the Commanders

Chance: To get to the playoffs: 100% | Earning hi: 0.5 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 7.8%.

go deeper

GO DEEPER

The Cowboys insist confidence is high after their second consecutive defeat, both on the road

Los Angeles Rams

There was little reason to believe the Rams would be in this position when they were 3-6, but they have won five of six since their bye week and have a chance to play the spoiler role if they can continue this march to the playoffs.

Remaining program: to the Giants, to the 49ers

Chance: Making the playoffs: 68.2 percent | To earn hi: 0 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 1.1%.

go deeper

GO DEEPER

Puka Nacua shows why he’s in the Offensive ROY conversation in primetime as the Rams continue to roll

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks don’t put up many style points, but they’ve demonstrated their ability to win close games, including game-winning drives from quarterbacks Geno Smith and Drew Lock in their last two outings. If they can get healthy for the playoffs, this physical team that has just toughened up a series of tough opponents will be an unenviable opponent.

Remaining program: against Steelers, at the Cardinals

Chance: To make the playoffs: 70 percent | To earn hi: 0 percent | Winning the Super Bowl: 0.9%.

In the hunt

• Minnesota Vikings (7-8)
• Atlanta Falcons (7-8)
• Green Bay Packers (7-8)
• New Orleans Saints (7-8)
• Chicago Bears (6-9)

Eliminated

• New York Giants (5-10)
• Washington Commanders (4-11)
• Arizona Cardinals (3-12)
• Carolina Panthers (2-13)

(Top photo by Lamar Jackson: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)


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