NFL Playoff Brackets 2016: Pittsburgh Steelers Move Into Brackets, Washington Redskins Take Over NFC East

NFL playoff brackets for the 2016 now include the Pittsburgh Steelers. The updated 2016 NFL playoff brackets have the Steelers as the No. 6 seed in the AFC after the team beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday, December 20. The 34-27 win was a hard-fought battle between two teams trying to make the postseason.

In the updated NFL standings, the Steelers were able to pass the New York Jets for a wild card spot in the AFC. The Jets won in Week 15, as well, but played an NFC opponent, causing the team to fall behind in a three-team tie-breaker. The Steelers now have a better record against AFC opponents, but still slide in behind the No. 5-seeded Kansas City Chiefs in the race for those wild card spots. All three teams are now 9-5, though, so the pressure is on to finish the regular season strong.

In the 2016 NFL playoff brackets for the AFC, first-round match-ups would be the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) vs. the Denver Broncos (10-4) and the Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) vs. the Houston Texans (No. 4). The Broncos currently hold first place in the AFC West, while the Texans now hold a commanding lead in the AFC North. The winner of the Broncos vs. Steelers would play the Cincinnati Bengals (11-3) in the divisional round, while the winner of the Chiefs vs. Texans game would play the New England Patriots (12-2).

Russell Wilson Runs Over Cleveland Browns [Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]The 2016 NFL playoff brackets for the NFC haven’t changed much, and possibly won’t as the regular season comes to a close. The Seattle Seahawks (9-5) and Minnesota Vikings (9-5) have even stronger holds of the wild card spots after wins in Week 15. The Seahawks actually clinched a spot in the postseason, and the Vikings can do so with one more win or one more loss by the Atlanta Falcons this year. Seattle owns the head-to-head tie-breaker with the Vikings should the two teams remain tied at the end of the season.

The current NFC playoff brackets have the Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers as first-round match-ups. This would be the third game between the Vikings and Packers this season. The Packers (10-4) have a one-game lead over the Vikings (9-5) for first place in the NFC North. Currently the Washington Redskins (7-7) hold first place in the NFC East, but the team is only slightly ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) and New York Giants (6-8) for the division lead.

Kirk Cousins Gets Washington Redskins To First Place [Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]The Carolina Panthers (14-0) have already clinched the NFC South and a first-round bye in the 2016 NFL Playoffs. The team will also likely clinch home field advantage throughout the postseason very soon. The Arizona Cardinals (12-2) have clinched the NFC West and are also in line for one of the first-round byes. In the current NFL playoff brackets, Carolina would play the winner of the Seattle vs. Washington game, while Arizona would play the winner of the Green Bay vs. Minnesota game.

The Week 16 NFL schedule has a number of games that could impact seeding and divisions, including a big game on Saturday, December 26, for the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles host the Washington Redskins at 8:25 p.m. ET with first place in the division on the line. On Sunday night, the Minnesota Vikings host the New York Giants in a game both teams need to win. Earlier in the day, the Arizona Cardinals host the Green Bay Packers. Then in Week 17, the Packers and Vikings play again, possibly with the NFC North on the line.

Games affecting the AFC wild card in Week 16 are the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots vs. New York Jets, and the Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs appear to have the easiest route to the postseason, but still have to take care of business at home. Just two weeks of games are left before the 2016 NFL playoff brackets are set and the postseason begins.

[Photo by Justin Aller/Getty Images]