Week 15 NFL playoff picture: Bills soar, Cowboys fall despite securing a position.

commencing with the late games on Sunday afternoon and continuing for the rest of the schedule (that is, until Thursday’s game or, if relevant, Saturday’s).

What occurred just now? How does that signify? When the seven-team brackets for each conference start to take shape, what relevant factors—and maybe even tiebreakers—are heavily involved? Until the postseason field is decided on Sunday night, January 7, everything will be discussed and examined.

The 2023 season is about halfway through, so here’s where things stand:

AFC playoff image

x – 1. Baltimore Ravens (11-3), the top team in the AFC North: After their victory in Jacksonville on Sunday night, Baltimore became the first team in the conference to win 11 games and secure a postseason berth. But in the upcoming weeks, holding onto the top seed won’t get any simpler. Schedule remaining: at 49ers, against Dolphins, and against Steelers

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2. Dolphins (10-4), leaders of the AFC East: grounded the Jets on Sunday allowed them to get back on track. However, with three strong opponents on the horizon, a club without a victory against anyone in 2023 enters the crucial portion of its campaign. If the Fins manage to win, they will secure home field and a bye. Schedule remaining: at Ravens, at Cowboys, and against Bills

3. the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs (9-5): K.C. is still in the running to play in the AFC title game at Arrowhead Stadium for the sixth time in a row thanks to victories against Miami and Jacksonville on top of an AFC 7-2 record. However, after winning in New England on Sunday with relative ease, the Chiefs will likely need to run the table. Still to come: at Chargers, at Raiders, and Bengals.

4. AFC South leaders Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6): They’ve dropped three straight and four out of six, so it appears like their main focus is holding onto the division title rather than making significant progress toward playoff positions. Luckily, the Jaguars presently have the tiebreakers to fend off the 8-6 Texans and Colts, who both swept Indianapolis. The remaining games are at Titans, at Panthers, and at Buccaneers.

5. The Cleveland Browns (9-5), the first wild card: They’ve just about won two straight. However, the Brownies’ victory over the Bears on Sunday keeps them a step ahead of other teams of the conference’s wild-card race. Schedule remaining: Bengals, at Texans, and vs. Jets

6. Wild-card team Cincinnati Bengals (8-6). Second: QB2 They are once again predicted to make the postseason, at least for the time being, thanks to Jake Browning’s outstanding performances over the last three weeks, which included a fierce comeback against Minnesota on Saturday. It may be extremely difficult to overcome a winless record (0-4) against the division and a 3-6 record in conference games in the tiebreaker category. However, wins over the Bills and Colts might possibly turn out to be favorably decisive. Schedule remaining: Chiefs at home, Browns vs. Steelers

7. The Indianapolis Colts (8-6), the third wild card: were just as happy to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers as they were about the victory. Due to its defeat against the Bengals in Week 14, Indianapolis is presently behind Cincinnati. When RB Jonathan Taylor returns after his thumb surgery, that will be good. The remaining games are against the Texans, the Raiders, and the Falcons.

8. Houston Texans (8-6), not eligible for the postseason: They beat the Titans in Nashville while wearing vintage Houston Oilers clothes and without injured rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, which was a nice comeback after their Week 14 loss to the Jets. Indianapolis’ regular-season finale might be very important. Schedule remaining: at Colts, vs Browns, and Titans

9. The 8-6 Buffalo Bills are not in the postseason picture: After the Cowboys thrashed them 31–10 on Sunday, they are officially on fire, both fields. This place has a strong pulse despite all the hardships, both on and off the field. Buffalo, which has been winning lately, began to move up in the AFC rankings overall on Saturday, surpassing Pittsburgh and Denver. If the Bills can win three straight games and Miami loses to either Dallas or Baltimore, they may potentially win the division title. Next up: Dolphins at home, Patriots at home, and Chargers at home.

10. The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) are eliminated from the playoffs: due to their three-game losing streak and their head-to-head defeats to Houston and Indianapolis, which further highlight the team’s quarterbacking woes. Schedule remaining: at Seahawks, at Ravens, and at the Bengals

11. Denver Broncos (7-7), out of postseason contention: After being ran out of the building in Detroit on Saturday night, they looked like a team from the beginning of the season without any chance of making the playoffs. The Broncos would have jumped into the third wild-card slot in the AFC with a victory. Right now? With a 4-5 record in AFC games, they are now below Pittsburgh and might drop much farther. The remaining games are at Raiders, Chargers, and Patriots.

NFC playoff image

x – 1. NFC West leaders, San Francisco 49ers (11-3): They made history on Sunday by being the first club to finish top in a division in 2023 and the first team to secure a berth in Week 14. With victories against the Eagles and Cowboys under their belt, the Niners are also moving closer to home-field advantage. However, they will face a formidable Baltimore team in Week 16. Schedule remaining: @Commanders, @Ravens, @Rams

x – 2. NFC East leaders Philadelphia Eagles (10–3): They have a game on Monday night, but the Niners’ victory on Sunday guaranteed them a berth. Additionally, the Cowboys’ defeat returned Philadelphia to the top of a division that the Eagles already dominated. If the defending NFC champions prevail against a fairly easy schedule, they will one more rule the NFC East. Schedule remaining: at Seahawks, vs Giants, at Cardinals, and at Giants

3. Detroit Lions (10-4), who lead the NFC North: Big get-right Saturday came just hours after Minnesota’s defeat in Cincinnati, as the Lions thrashed Denver 42–17. Detroit will guarantee a postseason berth if Seattle loses on Monday. The Lions can win the NFC North for the first time with one more victory (or a defeat by the Vikings). Schedule remaining: Cowboys against. Vikings, at Vikings

4. The NFC South leaders, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7–7): The Bucs fared well after a thrilling victory in Green Bay and a defeat in Atlanta, but New Orleans is still in the mix with a 7-7 record and is hoping for a split in the next few weeks. The remaining games are at the Panthers, Saints, and Jaguars.

5. Dallas Cowboys (10-4), the first wild card Before kickoff on Sunday: a string of defeats by other teams guaranteed “America’s Team” a postseason spot. But the Cowboys proceeded to play as if their humiliating loss meant nothing. To win the division and the top spot in the NFC, they will now require a lot of assistance. Schedule remaining: at Commanders, against the Lions, at Dolphins

6. Wild card Minnesota Vikings (7-7). No. 2: They don’t lose ground despite their heartbreaking loss to Cincinnati… for the time being. But with two games against Detroit coming up, the Vikes had a chance to win and take the NFC North title going into this Saturday. They no longer have that route. This tenuous position is maintained by their 6-3 record in league games. Schedule remaining: at Lions, vs Packers, and vs. Lions

7. The Los Angeles Rams (7-7), the third wild card: They climb ahead of the Saints into the NFC’s last playoff place with a victory over Washington and a 5-4 record in NFC games. However, LA will play New Orleans on Thursday in an attempt to retain the trophy and the significant tiebreaker that goes along with it. The remaining games are at the Giants, 49ers, and Saints.

8. New Orleans Saints (7-7), eliminated from the playoffs: They moved up three slots as a result of their victory over the Giants. However, New Orleans’ best chance still appears to be winning the NFC South. Schedule remaining: Buccaneers at home, Rams away, and Falcons against.

9. Seattle Seahawks (6-7), who will not participate in the playoffs: They have now lost five of their last six games, with quarterback Geno Smith (who is injured) missing the most recent one in San Francisco. Losing against the Rams in both games can be a persistent problem. The remaining games are against the Eagles, at Titans, at Steelers, and at Cardinals.

10. Atlanta Falcons (6-8), out of the postseason picture: In only two weeks, they went from fourth in the league to this position, with Sunday’s defeat to Carolina potentially devastating them. They are only this high because of the Pack’s narrow loss in Week 2. Schedule remaining: at Bears, at Saints, and against the Colts

11. Green Bay Packers (6-8), who won’t be playing in the playoffs: They have defeated the Chiefs and Lions but lost to the Giants and Bucs. So much for riding the wave of what was theoretically the easiest five-game schedule in the league in the final stretch. Schedule remaining: at Vikings, at Panthers, and against Bears


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