The 2021 NFL season closes at the end of its new 17-game schedule with just three full weeks left. Here’s checking out the updated standings and what the playoff image is looking for for Week 16.
The league kept its playoff field widened, with 14 of its 32 teams (43.8 percent) set to qualify for the final postseason. That includes 7 each from the AFC and NFC, with only the No. 1 seeds getting free passes on top of home advantage.
Who would be in, who is still in dispute, and who should he be thinking of next season? Here’s a full look:
NFL POWER RATINGS:
NFL Standings for Week 16
Image of the AFC playoffs
The Chiefs enjoyed top seed status again after beating the Chargers in overtime in Week 15. That status extends into Week 16 with the Patriots losing to the Colts on Saturday night and the Titans, who beat to the Chiefs in Week 7, losing to the Steelers. The Chiefs host the Steelers next as they march to another No. 1 seed and the only home-field advantage. in CIN, in DEN
The Titans jumped here after coming back to beat the 49ers to open Week 16, a big rebound from their tough AFC loss to the Steelers in Week 15. They are now well positioned to ensure they don’t lose control of the division. . They would repeat as Southern champions if they get another win or the Colts in second place lose. vs. MIA, at HOU
The Patriots saw their seven-game winning streak end with a tough Week 15 road loss at Indianapolis. That left them behind the two winning Chiefs, but kept them ahead of the losing Titans, whom they beat in Week 12. The Patriots saw their divisional lead decline to one game over the Bills after that team beat the Bills. Panthers, before a Buffalo rematch. In Week 16. Outside of the division, the Patriots are still backed by a solid record (7-2) in AFC play. vs. JAX, at MIA
The Bengals jumped here from offstage thanks to their win over the Broncos and Ravens losing to the Packers in Week 15. Although the teams have identical records, Cincinnati has the tiebreaker because they won in Baltimore in Week 7. The Bengals They have the head-to-head tiebreaker and also have the best record in the division at 3-1, so beating the Ravens again would be huge for everything in their control. against KC, in CLE
The Colts followed up their big Week 15 win over the Patriots with another in Week 16 over the Cardinals. They remain strong in first place in the wild-card race due to a powerful 7-3 conference record that helps break a tie. with the Chargers, who lost to the Chiefs in Week 15. The Colts will no longer win the division after losing twice to the Titans, but they were three games up. 500 means the playoffs are almost closed again. against LV, in JAX
The Chargers missed a chance to reach first place after losing to the Chiefs at home to open Week 15. They still hold this wild-card spot ahead of the tight 8-6 pack behind them. They still have a great chance of making the playoffs, at worst as the No. 7 seed. The Chargers have a 5-4 conference record, including inter-division victories over the Browns and Bengals. They get a good way to improve on their wins with the Texans in Week 16. vs. DEN, in LV
The Bills beat the Panthers in Week 15 to keep up with the winning Colts, to whom they lost at home in Week 11 and lost to the Chargers. Buffalo remains here for now, as they have a lower conference record than Indianapolis and Los Angeles. But the tiebreaker hardly favors the Bills over the Ravens. They will attempt to return to first place when they fight the Patriots again in New England in Week 16. vs. ATL, vs. NYJ.
8. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1)
The Ravens drop from No. 4 and lead the division behind the winning Colts, lost Chargers and winning Bills in Week 15. The Steelers made it another AFC North team in this mix with their big win over the Titans. The Browns are ahead of other 7-7 teams here because while the wild card feels out of reach, the division remains the best avenue for their return to the playoffs.
10. Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)
11. Miami Dolphins (7-7)
12. Denver Broncos (7-7)
13. Cleveland Browns (7-8)
14. New York Jets (3-11, eliminated)
15. Houston Texans (3-11, eliminated)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12, eliminated)
The Browns fell further, losing early in Week 16. The Dolphins continue to win during their six-game streak, but are trying to gain a lot of ground after a 1-7 start, especially with the stalemate up front. The Broncos are in the same boat after starting the season 3-0. The Raiders have been fading for a while. The Texans tied the losing Jets by beating the Jaguars in Week 15.
NFC playoff image
The Packers built their best NFL record by beating the Browns at home in Week 16 for their fourth straight win with a red-hot Aaron Rodgers. They are within one win of last year’s total with two games to play. They will remain the No. 1 seeded favorites heading into Week 17, at least one game ahead. They haven’t played the Cowboys or the Buccaneers, but they have a strong conference record (8-2) to further help them in playoff scenarios. vs. MIN, in DET
The Cowboys, who have secured at least one wild card spot, jumped here by beating the Giants in Week 15, while the Cardinals lost to the Lions and the Buccaneers lost to the Saints, thanks to having a superior conference record. (8-1). The Cowboys and Cardinals have an essential tiebreaker game left when they meet in Dallas in Week 17. It will continue to be a challenge for the Cowboys to stay ahead of the Buccaneers here as the Buccaneers still beat them in Week 1. The Cowboys will go on to win the division with a win at Washington or one more loss for the Eagles. vs. ARI, in PHI
The Rams revived their chances of winning the division by beating the Cardinals in Arizona in Week 14 to even the season series. They tied for first by beating the Seahawks in Week 15 and made huge profits from the 49ers and Cardinals losing in the opening of Week 16. Now it’s a two-team race for the title over the last three weeks, but the end is difficult. for both teams, including the Rams who played the Vikings in Week 16. in BAL, vs. SF
The Buccaneers were shocked again by the Saints losing their first home game of the season in Week 15 and the cost was falling one game behind the Packers in the race for home advantage in the NFC playoffs. Although the Buccaneers beat the Cowboys, the loss also created a three-way tie with the Cardinals, favoring the Cowboys to No. 2. The result also prevented the Bucs from securing the division over the Saints. Three up with three games remaining, the Bucs should still take over the South, especially with a weak schedule, starting with the Panthers in Week 16. They need a lot of help getting past the Packers now, especially the Cowboys and Rams. playoffs ahead of them. in NYJ, vs. CAR
The Cardinals fell here after losing their third straight game in Week 16 at home to the Colts and going 3-5 after a 7-0 start. The loss to the Colts after the Lions upset also made the divisional run much tighter, as the Rams now have half a game up front as they hit the field in Week 16. If the teams finish tied, the Cardinals they still hold on. the division record tiebreaker after splitting the season series with the Rams. in DAL, vs. BE
The 49ers cooled off to open Week 16 by losing to the Titans on the road, after beating the Falcons at home in Week 15 and the Bengals on the road in Week 14. They can still feel good about their wild card chances. Although they may stop having thoughts of catching the Cardinals or Rams for the division crown. They have key wins over the teams behind them, the Vikings and Eagles. vs. HOU, in LAR
. The Vikings returned to the last wild-card spot by beating the Bears on Monday night, also beating the .500 Saints due to having a better record in the conference (5-4 vs. 5-5). They stay here despite the Eagles winning in Week 16 due to a better record against common opponents. They have their hands full against the Rams at home in Week 16 in GB, against CHI
8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)
9. New Orleans Saints (7-7)
10. Washington soccer team (6-8)
11. Atlanta Falcons (6-8)
12. Carolina Panthers (5-9)
13. Seattle Seahawks (5-9)
The Saints fell here when the Vikings won in Week 15 to steer them away from victory. The Eagles took it upon Washington to jump them. The Falcons and Panthers lost again to further damage their chances of fading. The Seahawks missed their final salvo against the Rams.
14. New York Giants (4-10)
15. Chicago Bears (4-10, eliminated)
16. Detroit Lions (2-11-1, eliminated)
The Giants are toasted here trapped in last place in the NFC East with all their injuries. The Bears joined them after losing to the Vikings in Week 15. The Lions had two wins on the season by upsetting the Cardinals in Week 15. They should keep thinking about 2022, but the rebuilding year is ending with good times.