NFL playoff picture after Week 16: Chargers punch playoff ticket, leaving two AFC spots unclaimed

Here's how the NFL playoff picture looks with Week 16 complete:


y – 1. Buffalo Bills (12-3), AFC East champions: Overcame rough start and tougher kicking conditions and claimed third consecutive AFC East crown. Next week's matchup against Cincinnati has massive implications, with home-field advantage at stake. Remaining schedule: at Bengals, vs. Patriots

y – 2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3), AFC West champions: Two division foes to wrap up the season and stay in play for the No. 1 seed, but Week 6 loss to Buffalo leaves them at a disadvantage. Remaining schedule: vs. Broncos, at Raiders

x – 3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4), AFC North leaders: Win out, including next Monday night's date with Buffalo, and hope Kansas City loses once ... and guess who wins the AFC's No. 1 seed? Remaining schedule: vs. Bills, vs. Ravens

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8), AFC South leaders: They've overtaken Tennessee for divisional lead, but Jags' 2-2 division record could come back to bite them ... especially if it's further sullied by a 10th consecutive loss to Houston. Remaining schedule: at Texans, vs. Titans

x – 5. Baltimore Ravens (10-5), wild card No. 1: They have a wild-card spot thanks to Saturday's win over Atlanta and losses by Jets and Patriots and are still in play for the AFC North title. Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers, at Bengals

RB Austin Ekeler (30) scored both LA touchdowns Monday night, powering the Chargers back to the playoff.
RB Austin Ekeler (30) scored both LA touchdowns Monday night, powering the Chargers back to the playoff.

x – 6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6), wild card No. 2: Monday night's win at Indianapolis secured their first playoff trip in four years. Remaining schedule: vs. Rams, at Broncos

7. Miami Dolphins (8-7), wild card No. 3: A disastrous second half vs. Green Bay on Sunday has put them in a more precarious position heading to Foxborough. They still control their own destiny but may have to survive without concussed QB Tua Tagovailoa. Remaining schedule: at Patriots, vs. Jets

8. New England Patriots (7-8), out of playoff field: Looked shell-shocked after last week's devastating last-second defeat in the first half, and the Bengals torched them. Then they lost, excruciatingly, again and remain on the outside looking in. Remaining schedule: vs. Dolphins, at Bills

9. New York Jets (7-8), out of playoff field: Have lost four in a row but still have a viable playoff path – two wins plus a New England loss – and should get an emotional lift from QB Mike White's return Sunday. Remaining schedule: at Seahawks, at Dolphins

10. Tennessee Titans (7-8), AFC South leaders: Titans have lost five in a row, and Week 14 loss to Jacksonville currently has them on the wrong end of the divisional tiebreaker in division. Remaining schedule: vs. Cowboys, at Jaguars

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8), out of playoff field: Defeated Raiders in dramatic fashion in game where they celebrated the life and legacy of Franco Harris. Remaining schedule: at Ravens, vs. Browns

12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-9), out of playoff field: In dire straits after Pittsburgh went 76 yards and scored the game-winning TD with under a minute to go, the latest dramatic finish in what has been a wild and ultimately disappointing first season under coach Josh McDaniels. Mostly just a matter of time before they're officially eliminated. Remaining schedule: vs. 49ers, vs. Chiefs


x – 1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2), NFC East leaders: Missed opportunity to clinch NFC East, first-round bye and home-field advantage by losing to Dallas. Still have breathing room to secure that advantage. Remaining schedule: vs. Saints, vs. Giants

y – 2. Minnesota Vikings (12-3), NFC North champions: Greg Joseph's leg keeps the Vikings in the No. 2 spot, at least for this week. Remaining schedule: at Packers, at Bears

y – 3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4), NFC West champions: Have won eight in a row and remain in contention for No. 2 seed. Remaining schedule: at Raiders, vs. Cardinals

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8), NFC South leaders: With late rally vs. Arizona on Christmas Day, Tom Brady kept the Bucs atop the division with huge game looming against Carolina. Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers, at Falcons

x – 5. Dallas Cowboys (11-4), wild card No. 1: Appear primed to travel for wild card weekend matchup against NFC South winner. Also not out of NFC East race, but need help. Remaining schedule: at Titans, at Commanders

6. New York Giants (8-6-1), wild card No. 2: Had a golden opportunity to secure a wild card spot Sunday but the Vikings came out on top in the back-and-forth affair. Helped by everybody chasing them also losing. Remaining schedule: vs. Colts, at Eagles

7. Washington Commanders (7-7-1), wild card No. 3: Despite two consecutive losses, still in the playoff field. That tie against the Giants on Dec. 4 is looking all the more beneficial. Seahawks and Lions both losing was a help. Remaining schedule: vs. Browns, vs. Cowboys

8. Seattle Seahawks (7-8), out of playoff field: Could not get anything going against the Chiefs defense and missed an opportunity to put pressure on Washington. The good news is that the Lions also lost, and Seattle has the head-to-head advantage. Remaining schedule: vs. Jets, vs. Rams

9. Detroit Lions (7-8), out of playoff field: Finally fell back to Earth. Run defense was embarrassed. They also benefited from a contending counterpart stumbling. Remaining schedule: vs. Bears, at Packers

10. Green Bay Packers (7-8), out of playoff field: Suddenly, the Packers are alive after their comeback against Miami. If they can win the last two at home and the Commanders lose one, they'll be in the postseason. Remaining schedule: vs. Vikings, vs. Lions

11. Carolina Panthers (6-9), out of playoff field: Demolished the streaking Lions and ran all over them, while Sam Darnold is playing the best ball of his career. They control their own destiny. Remaining schedule: at Buccaneers, at Saints

12. New Orleans Saints (6-9), out of playoff field: Scored 17 unanswered in bitter Cleveland conditions to stay alive in NFC South race. Problem for New Orleans is poor division record (2-3) that will cost the Saints in tiebreakers. Remaining schedule: at Eagles, Panthers

x – clinched berth

y – clinched division


Follow Nate Davis and Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @ByNateDavis and @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL playoff picture; AFC, NFC standings after Week 16: Chargers clinch