NFL Playoff Picture: Patriots, Raiders Still Battling For AFC’s No. 1 Seed

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Tom Brady, Derek Carr

Photo via Dec 24, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) yells from the field against the New York Jets in the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Jets 41-3. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The final week of the NFL season will be exciting to watch because playoff seeding and spots will be up for grabs in both the AFC and NFC.

Major injuries also threw a curveball at the playoff races, most notably the Oakland Raiders losing quarterback Derek Carr to a broken right fibula that’ll sideline him indefinitely.

Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks following Saturday’s Week 16 action.

AFC
East: New England Patriots (13-2)
West: Oakland Raiders (12-3)
North: Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
South: Houston Texans (9-6)
In the hunt for a wild-card berth: Kansas City Chiefs (10-4), Miami Dolphins (10-5), Baltimore Ravens (8-6), Denver Broncos (8-6), Tennessee Titans (8-7)

The Patriots beat the New York Jets for their first 13-win season since 2011, but they still haven’t locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC. New England must finish with a better record than the Raiders to secure the No. 1 seed as Oakland has the edge in all tiebreakers if these teams are tied after Week 17. The Pats clinch the top seed with a Week 17 win in Miami.

The Raiders will clinch the AFC West with a Kansas City Chiefs loss on Christmas Day or a Week 17 win over the Broncos. The Chiefs clinch a berth with one win in their last two games.

The Ravens and Broncos will be eliminated from contention if they lose Sunday. The Steelers win the AFC North with a win over the Ravens on Sunday.

The Texans clinched the AFC South with their win over the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as losses by the Titans and Indianapolis Colts.

The Bills were eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to the Dolphins. The Colts were eliminated by losing to the Raiders.

NFC
East: Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
West: Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1)
North: Detroit Lions (9-5)
South: Atlanta Falcons (10-5)
In the hunt for a wild-card berth: New York Giants (10-5), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7), Green Bay Packers (9-6), Washington Redskins (8-6-1)

The Cowboys clinched the NFC East division and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs as a result of the Giants’ loss on Thursday night.

The Falcons locked up the NFC South with their win over the Carolina Panthers and the Buccaneers’ loss to the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. Atlanta also took over the No. 2 seed with its win and Seattle’s loss Saturday. The Giants clinched a playoff berth after Tampa Bay’s loss.

The Packers beat the rival Minnesota Vikings 38-25 for their fifth straight win. They’ll play the Detroit Lions next week for the NFC North Division title. The Vikings were eliminated from the playoff picture with the loss.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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