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Week 16 NFL Playoff Update: Ravens near top seed in AFC, NFC race wide open

The Baltimore Ravens scored their most impressive victory of the season Monday night, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 33-19. Along with making them look like worthy Super Bowl contenders, the victory puts them in a fantastic position in the AFC. At 12-3, they’re a game ahead of Miami and have a chance to clinch the top spot next week in a game against those very Dolphins.

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ loss sends them to 11-4 and a three-way tie atop the NFC with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. The 49ers own the tiebreaker over 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 plenty of movement in the playoff picture. Let’s take a look at where things stand as we enter Week 17.

Listed odds to make the playoffs, secure the No. 1 seed and win the Super Bowl are all via The Athletic’s NFL betting model, created by Austin Mock

AFC playoff picture

Seed
Team
Record
Week 16 result
x–
1
12-3
W vs. SF
x–
2
11-4
W vs. DAL
3
9-6
L vs. LV
4
8-7
L vs. TB
5
10-5
W vs. HOU
6
9-6
W vs. LAC
7
8-7
L vs. ATL

x — Clinched playoff berth | z — Clinched division title

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens delivered a message in San Francisco, not just on the scoreboard with their blowout of the 49ers but with the way they initiated the physicality throughout the night. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald might have worked his way onto some short lists for teams with head coaching vacancies.

Remaining schedule: vs. Miami Dolphins, vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Odds: To make playoffs: 100 percent | To earn bye: 69.5 percent | To win Super Bowl: 17.2 percent

The Dolphins just earned their first marquee victory of the season Sunday against the Cowboys, and they got it with a clutch, game-winning drive just before the buzzer. That’s huge, not just for a team angling for seeding but as the Dolphins work to build confidence before the playoffs. Now they’re in a position to take hold of the No. 1 seed if they can win Sunday in Baltimore.

Remaining schedule: at Ravens, vs. Buffalo Bills

Odds: To make playoffs: 100 percent | To earn bye: 28.9 percent | To win Super Bowl: 13.2 percent

The Chiefs have lost five of eight, and they’re 2-3 this season against teams that currently have winning records. While it may feel reckless to write off quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ resume isn’t representative of a team that’s ready to win four consecutive playoff games.
Remaining schedule: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, at Los Angeles Chargers
Odds: To make playoffs: 98.1 percent | To earn bye: 0 percent | To win Super Bowl: 9.1 percent.

The Jags are reeling with four consecutive losses, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s injuries are mounting by the week. Their offensive issues over the past two weeks can be explained by injuries and Lawrence’s shortage of practice time, but the defense is also leaking by surrendering 29.5 points per game during the skid. Then again, the Bucs scored three touchdowns off turnovers, so it’s become a widespread meltdown.
Remaining schedule: vs. Carolina Panthers, at Tennessee Titans
Odds: To make playoffs: 65.9 percent | To earn bye: 0 percent | To win Super Bowl: 1.2 percent

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who was sitting on his couch watching football five Sundays ago, has three consecutive 300-yard games for the first time in his career. He hasn’t had a trio of 300-yard games throughout an entire season since 2016. Just a remarkable run.
Remaining schedule: vs. New York Jets, at Bengals
Odds: To make playoffs: 100 percent | To earn bye: 1.6 percent | To win Super Bowl: 2.9 percent

Buffalo Bills

The Bills started their three-game winning streak in Kansas City, and they’re shaping up to be as dangerous as any team in the AFC. There’s also a possibility we see the next chapter of the Bills-Chiefs mini-rivalry in the wild-card round.
Remaining schedule: at New England Patriots, at Dolphins
Odds: To make playoffs: 90.3 percent | To earn bye: 0 percent | To win Super Bowl: 4.7 percent

The Colts laid an egg with a 29-10 loss in Atlanta, and now they’re in a four-way tie with the Texans, Steelers and Bengals. The Colts will almost certainly have to win out and hope the tiebreakers work in their favor to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2020.
Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders, vs. Houston Texans
Odds: To make playoffs: 66.4 percent | To earn bye: 0 percent | To win Super Bowl: 0.9 percent

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 picture

SeedTeamRecordWeek 16 result
z–111-4L vs. BAL
x–211-4W vs. NYG
z–311-4W vs. MIN
4
8-7
W vs. JAX
x–510-5
L vs. MIA
6
8-7
W vs. NO
7
8-7
W vs. TEN

x — Clinched playoff berth | z — Clinched division title

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

San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback Brock Purdy’s four interceptions will dominate the spotlight in the wake of the 49ers’ one-sided defeat to the Ravens, but don’t ignore another key aspect. After falling behind 23-12 with 12:07 remaining in the third quarter, Purdy was just 8-of-14 passing for 107 yards and one interception over 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 schedule: at Washington Commanders, vs. Los Angeles Rams
Odds: To make playoffs: 100 percent | To earn bye: 74.3 percent | To win Super Bowl: 25.5 percent

Philadelphia Eagles

It’s well-established by now very little will come easy for the Eagles, who haven’t won a game by more than 8 points since Week 7. While their final two regular-season tilts 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’ll be tough games that will serve as good playoff tuneups.
Remaining schedule: vs. Cardinals, at Giants
Odds: To make playoffs: 100 percent | To earn bye: 22.4 percent | To win Super Bowl: 7.8 percent

The Lions have finally won the NFC North and will host a playoff game for the first time in 30 years. They’ll also be searching for their first postseason victory in 32 years — and just their second in the Super Bowl era. And in a sadistically fitting way, they may have to go through fan favorite Matthew Stafford to get it done.
Remaining schedule: at Dallas Cowboys, vs. Minnesota Vikings
Odds: To make playoffs: 100 percent | To earn bye: 2.9 percent | To win Super Bowl: 5.2 percent

The Bucs have won four in a row but hadn’t necessarily beaten a quality opponent until delivering a statement with a blowout 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 viewed as a huge success in Tampa.
Remaining schedule: vs. New Orleans Saints, at Panthers
Odds: To make playoffs: 89.1 percent | To earn bye: 0 percent | To win Super Bowl: 1.7 percent

With the loss Sunday in Miami, the Cowboys fell to 2-2 this season in one-possession games, and they’ve only won a;hellip;

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