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NFL

NFL Playoff Picture: Updated After Early Week 16 Games

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

@craigballard77

Week 16 in the NFL means “go time” for several teams looking to either jockey for a better seed,  or looking to secure a playoff birth. The early games are done, let’s take a look at where we stand headed into the final four games of the weekend…

AFC

The Houston Texans (12-3) put their #1 seed in jeopardy as they dropped a 23-6 decision to the Minnesota Vikings (big win for the Vikes, more on them in NFC section below). The Texans will need to win next weekend at the Indianpolis Colts (10-5), or have the Denver Broncos (11-3) lose to either the Cleveland Browns or Kansas City Chiefs in their final two games (both of those games are at Mile High) to secure the top seed in the AFC.

The Broncos are the current #2, but as outlined above they now have a shot at #1. They are about to play the Browns now, and they should be able to maintain at least the #2 seed ahead of the #3 New England Patriots (11-4).

The Patriots need something dramatic to happen to change them from being the #3 seed. They look certain to host a playoff game week one of the playoffs vs the AFC wild-card team with the worst record.

The Baltimore Ravens are about to play, and they are currently the #4 seed.

The Colts are the #5 seed in the AFC. They are very likely going to travel to the winner of the AFC North in week one of the playoffs.

The Cincinnati Bengals are in thanks to their 13-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. That eliminated the Steelers and the Miami Dolphins.

NFC

The #1 Atlanta Falcons took care of business in their road finale of 2012. They will host any playoff game they play (except the Super Bowl).

The #2 seed San Francisco 49ers are in action tonight at the #5 seed Seattle Seahawks. Big game, but the likely outcome for the season will be the 49ers as NFC West champions and the Seahawks as the wild-card team with the best record.

#3 seed Green Bay Packers romped 55-7 over the Tennessee Titans today which keeps them on the heels of the 49ers for the #2 seed. Big deal here as #2 or #3 is difference of being off week one of the playoffs or not. The Pack play at Minnesota next weekend in a game that is loaded with playoff implications.

#4 Washington Redskins continued their hot streak with a  win over the Philadelphia Eagles. This is the sixth win in a row for the 9-6 Redskins.

The Dallas Cowboys (8-7) lost at home to the New Orleans Saints today, and the New York Giants (8-6) are currently playing the Baltimore Ravens. Today’s results make the Redskins a heavy favorite to win the NFC East division, but if the Giants win today (vs Baltimore) and next week at home vs the Eagles they would make the playoffs as the #6 seed.

The Redskins host the Cowboys in a Week 17 game that could essentially become the division title game if the Giants lose to the Ravens today.

The Vikings took a massive step towards a surprising playoff birth as they went on the road and won big at Houston. The Vikes have now won three in a row, and are currently the #6 seed. They will need to win next week vs the Packers, and could need a Giants loss as well (depending on the Giants at Ravens results).

Stay tuned to rantsports.com/nfl for all of your NFL info