NFL Playoff Picture: Saints clinch division, Chiefs secure spot
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

There are still plenty of playoff spots available, but the pathway to the postseason is becoming a lot more clear for the NFL's elite.

The New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South, while the Kansas City Chiefs secured a playoff berth on Sunday. Here's how the playoff picture looks after Sunday's games.


Seed Team Division Record 
1 Chiefs (x) West 11-2
2 Patriots East 9-4
3 Texans South 9-4
4 Steelers North 7-5-1
5 Chargers West 10-3
6 Ravens North 7-6

x = clinched playoff berth
y = clinched division title
z = clinched first-round bye

The top six in the AFC remains unchanged once again, with the Chiefs locking up a playoff berth after defeating the Ravens in overtime.

The Texans' nine-game winning streak was finally halted, dropping a close 24-21 decision to the Colts. They still remain atop the division by a two-game margin with three left to play.

New England blew an opportunity to clinch the AFC East in a last-second loss to the Dolphins. Although it was a tough defeat to stomach for the Patriots, they hold a two-game advantage over the Miami with three to play.

In the hunt

Seed Team Division Record 
7 Colts South 7-6 
8 Dolphins East 7-6
9 Titans South 7-6 
10 Broncos West 6-7
11 Browns North 5-7-1

Indianapolis rebounded well, defeating the red-hot Texans, and will be leading the way among contenders to usurp the Ravens for the second wild-card spot.

The Dolphins remain in the thick of the wild-card race after defeating the Patriots, and though it's unlikely, capturing the AFC East is still mathematically on the table.

Tennessee throttled the Jaguars on Thursday, and at 7-6, will push the Colts and Texans for AFC South supremacy during the final three weeks.


Seed Team Division Record 
1 Saints (y) South 11-2
2 Rams (y) West 11-2
3 Bears North 9-4
4 Cowboys East 8-5 
5 Seahawks West 7-5 
6 Vikings North 6-5-1

x = clinched playoff berth
y = clinched division title
z = clinched first-round bye

The Saints captured the NFC South for the second consecutive year with a victory over the Buccaneers. They'll likely be squaring off against the Rams in a race for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. As a result of the Rams' loss to the Bears and their own victory, the Saints reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the NFC - due to their head-to-head record against the Rams.

Dallas strengthened its hold of the NFC East with an overtime victory over the Eagles.

The Seahawks and Vikings play on Monday night in a game that could potentially wreak havoc on the playoff picture. A win for the Seahawks would further their grip on the first wild-card spot, while a Vikings win would muddle the field of teams contending for the final playoff position.

In the hunt

Seed Team Division Record 
7 Panthers South 6-7
8 Eagles East 6-7
9 Redskins East 6-7
10 Packers North 5-7-1

The Panthers lost their fifth consecutive game and are now in severe danger of missing the postseason.

Philadelphia is for all intents and purposes out of the race after losing in overtime to the divisional rival Cowboys. It'll be tough for both the Eagles and Redskins to unseat the Cowboys with three games to go, with either likely needing to win out for a chance at the playoffs.

It would take a miracle for the Packers to make the playoffs, but stranger things have happened before. The team cruised to a victory over the Falcons in their first game without Mike McCarthy.

NFL Playoff Picture: Saints clinch division, Chiefs secure spot
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