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The NFL is heading toward the playoffs as the 2022 season has reached Week 16.
Christmas Eve brought a stacked slate of games that had significant postseason implications.
After Saturday’s entire schedule came to an end, the playoff picture became a little more clear. Here’s a look at how things stand:
- Buffalo Bills: 12-3 (tied for AFC East)
- Kansas City Chiefs: 12-3 (tied AFC West)
- Cincinnati Bengals: 11-4 (fortified playoff spot)
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 7-8
- Baltimore Ravens: 10-5 (fortified playoff spot)
- Los Angeles Chargers: 8-6
- Miami Dolphins: 8-6
- New England Patriots: 7-8
- New York Jets: 7-8
- Tennessee Titans: 7-8
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-8
- Las Vegas Raiders: 6-9
- Cleveland Browns: 6-9 (eliminated)
- Indianapolis Colts: 4-9-1 (eliminated)
- Denver Broncos: 4-10 (eliminated)
- Houston Texans: 2-12-1 (eliminated)
The NFC table
- Philadelphia Eagles: 13-2 (fortified playoff spot)
- Minnesota Vikings: 12-3 (consolidated NFC North)
- San Francisco 49ers: 11-4 (clinched NFC West)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-8
- Dallas Cowboys: 11-4 (clinched playoff spot)
- New York Giants: 8-6-1
- Washington Chiefs: 7-7-1
- Seattle Seahawks: 7-8
- Detroit Lions: 7-8
- Green Bay Packers: 6-8
- Carolina Panthers: 6-9
- New Orleans Saints: 6-9
- Atlanta Falcons: 5-10 (eliminated)
- Arizona Cardinals: 4-10 (eliminated)
- Los Angeles Rams: 4-10 (eliminated)
- Chicago Bears: 3-12 (eliminated)
For the third year in a row, the Buffalo Bills have captured the AFC East crown after star quarterback Josh Allen led the team to a 35-13 victory over the Chicago Bears on Saturday.
Playing in frigid conditions in the Windy City, the Bills actually found themselves behind 10-6 at halftime before putting up 29 points over the final two quarters. Buffalo entered the year as the presumed favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVII, and a sixth straight victory indicates the team is poised to fulfill that expectation.
Joining the Bills in celebration on Saturday are the Baltimore Ravens, who are back in the playoffs after a one-year hiatus. Baltimore defeated the Atlanta Falcons 17-9 before getting some help from an AFC North rival as the Cincinnati Bengals took down the New England Patriots 22-18 to secure the Ravens’ postseason berth.
Baltimore Ravens @Ravens
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The most shocking result on Saturday was undoubtedly the Houston Texans ending their nine-game losing streak with a 19-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The result had significant ramifications, as the Titans are now out of first place in the AFC South thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ win over the New York Jets on Thursday night football. After a fifth straight loss, Tennessee is also on the outside looking in to the playoff picture.
The Kansas City Chiefs kept pace in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a 24-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. The Bills own the tiebreaker after defeating the Chiefs in Week 6, so Kansas City will certainly hope Buffalo slips up in the final two weeks of the regular season.
The loss to the Seahawks could have been devastating to their playoff hopes, but the surging Detroit Lions saw their three-game winning streak end with a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Seattle remains on the postseason bubble, but the window is closing fast. However, the Seahawks benefited from the Washington Commanders’ 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, as Washington failed to win a game in the win column.
The New York Giants were denied the opportunity to punch their ticket to the postseason after a 27-24 loss to the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings, who won on a 61-yard field goal by Greg Joseph as time expired.
The Giants maintain their position in the NFC standings, but Saturday’s loss was an emotional letdown. New York quarterback Daniel Jones had engineered a seven-play, 75-yard drive in under a minute to tie the game at 24 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, only for Minnesota to answer back with the game-winning kick.
The conference-leading Philadelphia Eagles were also denied a chance to win the NFC East, taking a 40-34 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in a Christmas Eve thriller. The Eagles were without star quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was out with a shoulder injury. It’s still mathematically possible for Dallas to take over the division lead, so Philadelphia will surely try to do its best in the final two weeks of the season.