NFL Playoff Picture: Ravens jump Patriots for top spot in AFC
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In a wild Week 13, a handful of teams' playoff hopes took big blows, while others strengthened a hold on spots for January.

Here's how the standings look after Sunday's games.


Seed Team Division Record
1 Ravens North 10-2
2 Patriots East 10-2
3 Texans South 8-4
4 Chiefs West 8-4
5 Bills East 9-3
6 Steelers North 7-5

The Houston Texans upsetting the New England Patriots on Sunday night was an early Christmas gift to the Baltimore Ravens, who jumped to the top of the AFC after seeing off the San Francisco 49ers.

The Ravens, who own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Patriots, now control their fate with four games left.

While the Patriots remain two games ahead of the Texans and Kansas City Chiefs (their opponent next week), the Buffalo Bills are now just one game behind the reigning champions.

Buffalo played New England close in September, with Tom Brady and Co. eking out a 16-10 victory. However, the Bills will likely need to beat the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers over the next two weeks to make a Week 16 rematch with New England a potential division-deciding contest.

But for the first time in recent memory, the race for the AFC East title is alive entering the regular season's final month.

In the hunt

Seed Team Division Record
7 Titans South 7-5
8 Raiders West 6-6
9 Colts South 6-6
10 Browns North 5-7

The final AFC playoff spot is currently a coin flip between the Steelers and the resurgent Tennessee Titans after they both earned crucial wins over fellow wild-card contenders.

While both teams face anything but an easy run over the last month of the campaign, Pittsburgh's schedule (at Cardinals, vs. Bills, at Jets, at Ravens) isn't as rough as Tennessee's slate (at Raiders, vs. Texans, vs. Saints, at Texans).

A blowout loss to the Chiefs on Sunday effectively ended the Oakland Raiders' chances of winning the AFC West. But if head coach Jon Gruden can rally his team past the Titans next week, Oakland would then face three winnable games (vs. Jaguars, at Chargers, at Broncos) to close out the year.

The Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns are holding on by a thread following devastating losses to the Titans and Steelers, respectively.


Seed Team Division Record
1 49ers West 10-2
2 Saints South 10-2
3 Packers North 9-3
4 Cowboys East 6-6
5 Seahawks West 9-2
6 Vikings North 8-3

The winner of next week's mouth-watering clash between the 49ers and New Orleans Saints in the Superdome will get the inside track to the NFC's No. 1 seed and home-field advantage through the playoffs.

But the Seattle Seahawks - who play the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night - still lie ahead for the 49ers in their regular-season finale. So San Francisco could still be playing on the road during Wild Card Weekend even if the 49ers beat New Orleans.

The Green Bay Packers aren't out of the running for a bye after taking care of business against the New York Giants on Sunday. However, the NFC North leaders can't slip up over the last four weeks. They also still need to secure the division, and a matchup against the Vikings is set for Week 16.

The Dallas Cowboys, whom the Bills humiliated on Thanksgiving, are likely feeling much better about themselves after watching the Philadelphia Eagles implode against the Miami Dolphins. While Dallas is the NFC East favorite, the outlook for Doug Pederson's team hasn't really changed.

Philadelphia and Dallas meet in Week 16. If both the Eagles (vs. Giants, at Redskins, at Giants) and Cowboys (at Bears, vs. Rams, vs. Redskins) win their other three remaining games and Philadelphia takes the Week 16 contest to split the season series, it would earn the division thanks to the common-opponent tiebreaker.

In the hunt

Seed Team Division Record
7 Rams West 7-5
8 Bears North 6-6
9 Buccaneers South 5-7
10 Eagles East 5-7

The Los Angeles Rams kept their slim playoff hopes alive by blowing out the Arizona Cardinals, and Sean McVay's team is now in the strange position of rooting for the divisional-rival Seahawks to take down the Vikings on Monday night.

But to realistically leapfrog Minnesota for the sixth seed, L.A. needs wins against both Seattle (at home) and San Francisco (on the road) in the final four weeks. That's a tall order considering the Rams' inconsistent play this season.

The Chicago Bears hold a 3% chance of making the postseason, according to They'll need to beat the Cowboys, Chiefs, and the division-rival Vikings and Packers for a shot at back-to-back January appearances.

NFL Playoff Picture: Ravens jump Patriots for top spot in AFC
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