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The NFL is barreling toward the playoffs as the 2022 season has reached Week 16.
Christmas Eve brought a stacked slate of games that carried substantial postseason implications.
After the entirety of Saturday’s schedule came to an end, the playoff picture gained a bit more clarity. Here’s a look at how things stand:
- Buffalo Bills: 12-3 (clinched AFC East)
- Kansas City Chiefs: 12-3 (clinched AFC West)
- Cincinnati Bengals: 11-4 (clinched playoff berth)
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 7-8
- Baltimore Ravens: 10-5 (clinched playoff berth)
- 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)
- Philadelphia Eagles: 13-2 (clinched playoff berth)
- Minnesota Vikings: 12-3 (clinched NFC North)
- San Francisco 49ers: 11-4 (clinched NFC West)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-8
- Dallas Cowboys: 11-4 (clinched playoff berth)
- New York Giants: 8-6-1
- Washington Commanders: 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 straight year, the Buffalo Bills have claimed the AFC East crown after star quarterback Josh Allen led the team to a 35-13 win over the Chicago Bears on Saturday.
While playing in frigid conditions in the Windy City, the Bills actually found themselves trailing 10-6 at halftime before putting up 29 points over the final two quarters. Buffalo entered the year as the presumptive favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVII, and a sixth consecutive win indicates that the team is ready to fulfill that expectation.
Joining the Bills in a 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 of Saturday was undoubtedly the Houston Texans ending their nine-game losing streak with a 19-14 win 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. Following a fifth consecutive loss, Tennessee is also on the outside looking in on the playoff picture.
The Kansas City Chiefs kept pace in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a 24-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Bills own the tiebreaker after defeating the Chiefs in Week 6, so Kansas City is surely hoping that Buffalo slips up in the final two weeks of the regular season.
The loss by the Seahawks could have been devastating for their playoff hopes, but the surging Detroit Lions had their three-game win streak come to an end after a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Seattle remains on the postseason bubble, but the window is closing quickly. However, the Seahawks benefitted from the Washington Commanders’ 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, as Washington failed to gain 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 the chance to clinch the NFC East, taking a 40-34 loss against the Dallas Cowboys in a Christmas Eve thriller. The Eagles were without star quarterback Jalen Hurts, who sat with a shoulder injury. It’s still mathematically possible for Dallas to overtake the division lead, so Philadelphia will surely be looking to put forth its best effort in the last two weeks of the season.