The NFC West became the first division race decided this season when the Seahawks dispatched the Rams on Thursday Night Football to clinch their third division crown. It wasn’t the only division settled by the end of the weekend, as the Patriots locked up the AFC East for the eighth consecutive time with a win in Denver. Farther down the standings, the Dolphins moved into the second AFC wild-card spot with their Saturday night win against the Jets and stayed there at the end of Sunday’s action. Washington slipped out of the NFC's six seed by way of a sloppy loss to Carolina on Monday Night Football. Meanwhile, the surging Packers are in after beating their division-rival, Chicago.
If the playoffs started today, which teams would be in, and which teams would be on the bubble? Here’s an updated look at how the playoff seeds shake out, plus a breakdown of the teams on the outside looking in as of Week 15’s action. Teams with an asterisk (*) have clinched a playoff berth.
The Patriots became the first team to clinch a first-round bye on Sunday, dealing a big blow to the Broncos within the crowded AFC playoff bubble with their dominant defensive effort against the team that bested them in last year’s AFC title game. The Colts entered Sunday with their playoff hopes on life support, and for a moment everything appeare to be breaking right to get Indianapolis right back into the thick of the AFC South race. While Andrew Luck & Co. blitzed the Vikings in Minnesota, the Titans looked poised to drop a tough road game in Kansas City and the Texans were on their way to an inexplicable loss to the Jaguars. But both Tennessee and Houston rallied for thrilling road wins, keeping the two-team tie atop the division intact and raising the stakes for the teams’ Week 17 meeting.
The Bucs' loss to the Cowboys gives Atlanta some breathing room at the top of the NFC South, but Tampa still has control of the No. 6 seed because the Redskins couldn't hold serve against the Panthers on Monday night. The Lions’ loss put Green Bay in control of its NFC North destiny: If the Packers win out, the division is theirs.