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June 14, 2024

Playoff Picture Comes into Focus with One Week Left

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Dec 26, 2023

Ravens First to Clinch, Lions Capture Division Title

With only one week remaining in the 2023 NFL regular season, the playoff picture is rapidly coming into focus. The Baltimore Ravens became the first team to clinch a playoff berth after defeating the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions captured their first division title since 1993 with a win over the Minnesota Vikings.

The Ravens secured a playoff spot thanks to their 17-9 win over the Falcons, combined with losses by the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. At 10-5, Baltimore is in strong position to earn the AFC’s #1 seed. MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson continues to lead the league’s #2 scoring offense.

AFC Playoff Standings - Week 16

| Seed | Team            | Record | 
|------|-----------------|--------|
| 1    | Kansas City     | 12-3   |
| 2    | Buffalo         | 12-3   | 
| 3    | Cincinnati      | 11-4   |
| 4    | Jacksonville    | 8-8    |  
| 5    | LA Chargers     | 10-5   |
| 6    | Baltimore *     | 10-5   |
| 7    | New England     | 7-8    |

The Lions defeated the Vikings 41-23 to earn their first NFC North title in three decades. Running back Jamaal Williams scored his league-leading 15th rushing touchdown, while quarterback Jared Goff had 330 yards passing with three touchdowns. The Lions will host a home playoff game in January for the first time since 1993.

NFC Playoff Standings - Week 16  

| Seed | Team            | Record |  
|------|-----------------|--------|
| 1    | Philadelphia *  | 13-2   |
| 2    | Minnesota       | 12-3   |
| 3    | San Francisco   | 11-4   | 
| 4    | Tampa Bay       | 7-8    |
| 5    | Dallas *        | 12-3   |  
| 6    | NY Giants       | 8-6-1  |   
| 7    | Detroit *       | 8-8    |

Cowboys, Eagles Join the Playoff Party

The Dallas Cowboys joined division rival Philadelphia by clinching a playoff berth with a 33-30 win in overtime against the Titans. Quarterback Dak Prescott returned from injury to lead the offense, while linebacker Micah Parsons added two more sacks to extend his NFL lead. At 12-3, Dallas is battling the Eagles for the NFC East title and the conference’s #1 seed.

The Eagles had already secured a playoff spot, and rank first in the NFC after beating the Cowboys two weeks ago. Despite losing their last two games, Philadelphia remains in prime position to earn homefield advantage with the #1 seed. If both teams win next week, the Eagles hold the tiebreaker.

What Else Is at Stake in Week 17

With the Lions, Cowboys and Eagles safely in the playoffs, attention now shifts to the final wild card spots in each conference. In the NFC, the Giants occupy the #6 seed but face a massive game against the Colts. Several teams remain in contention for the #7 seed, including the Seahawks, Packers, and Panthers.

The AFC features a mad scramble as four teams chase the final wild card position. While the Chargers appear set at #5, the Patriots, Steelers, Jaguars and Dolphins all have playoff hopes entering the last week. New England faces Miami on Sunday with the winner likely grabbing the last wild card.

Conference standings entering the last week:

AFC

AFC Playoff Standings - Week 16

| Seed | Team            | Record | 
|------|-----------------|--------|  
| 1    | Kansas City     | 12-3   |
| 2    | Buffalo         | 12-3   |  
| 3    | Cincinnati      | 11-4   |
| 4    | Jacksonville    | 8-8    |     
| 5    | LA Chargers *   | 10-5   |
| 6    | Baltimore *     | 10-5   |
| 7    | New England     | 7-8    |
| 8    | Miami           | 8-7    |
| 9    | Pittsburgh      | 7-8    | 

NFC

NFC Playoff Standings - Week 16

| Seed | Team             | Record |
|------|------------------|--------|
| 1    | Philadelphia *   | 13-2   |  
| 2    | Minnesota        | 12-3   | 
| 3    | San Francisco    | 11-4   |
| 4    | Tampa Bay        | 7-8    |  
| 5    | Dallas *         | 12-3   |   
| 6    | NY Giants        | 8-6-1  |  
| 7    | Detroit *        | 8-8    | 
| 8    | Seattle          | 7-8    |
| 9    | Green Bay        | 7-8    |

Playoff Formats and Schedules

Once all playoff teams have clinched, the real action begins with Wild Card weekend from January 14-16. Each conference gets three games: the #2 seed hosts the #7 seed, #3 hosts #6, and #4 hosts #5. Winners advance to face the #1 and #2 seeds in the Divisional Round.

From there, the AFC and NFC Championship games will decide each representative in the Super Bowl on February 12th at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

With several spots up for grabs and every outcome impacting playoff seeding, Week 17 promises to provide some fantastic finishes. Buckle up NFL fans…the playoffs are coming.

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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