NFL playoff standings for 2016 just got tighter in the AFC. With a strong spot in the NFL playoff standings, the Pittsburgh Steelers just needed to win in Week 16 and Week 17 to clinch a spot. The Steelers even had a shot to win the AFC North. On the road against the Baltimore Ravens, though, the Steelers came up short (20-17). The loss dropped the Steelers to 9-6 on the season and possibly put the playoffs at risk.
The reason the Steelers are in danger is that the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns, and then the New York Jets beat the New England Patriots. The Chiefs and Jets improved to 10-5 on the season, taking full control of the two AFC wild card spots. The 9-6 Steelers now need to not only win a game in Week 17, but also need the Jets to lose to the Bills on January 3. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have already clinched the No. 5 seed in the AFC.
To completely shake up the 2016 NFL playoff standings, the Atlanta Falcons also beat the Carolina Panthers in a Week 16 game. The Panthers dropped to 14-1, putting the No. 1 seed at risk, while the Falcons improved to 8-7, possibly putting the team in a position to steal an NFC wild card spot. The pressure is now on the Minnesota Vikings, as the team is 9-5 and holds the second wild card spot in the NFC. The team has to still win one of its final two games to make the playoffs.