NFL playoff standings have become a bit tighter. The Baltimore Ravens are working to make the NFL Playoffs again this season, coming up with a big win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday (Nov. 27). Though this was a game that the Ravens were supposed to win, doing so moved the team back into first place in the AFC North. The updated NFL standings have the Ravens (6-5) just ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5), thanks in part to the head-to-head tie-breaker.
The Ravens vs. Bengals game wasn't the only one early on Sunday that had a direct impact on how the latest 2016 NFL playoff standings look. In the Week 12 schedule, the Tennessee Titans beat the Chicago Bears to improve to 6-6 on the season, the New York Giants beat the Cleveland Browns to improve to 8-3, and the Miami Dolphins beat the San Francisco 49ers to improve to 7-4. The Dolphins are right back in the race for one of the two AFC Wild Card spots, especially with the Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) and Denver Broncos (7-3) playing in a late game.
Both AFC Wild Card teams could finish with better records than two divisional winners, as showcased in the latest NFL playoff standings. The Houston Texans (6-5) lead the AFC South, while the Baltimore Ravens (6-5) lead the AFC North. The teams hold the No. 3 and No. 4 playoff slots, ahead of three teams with better records (Chiefs, Broncos, Dolphins). It also shows how the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the race for divisional titles, raising the stakes for upcoming matchups against the Texans and Ravens.
The Dallas Cowboys won on Thanksgiving Day to improve to 10-1 on the season and hold the top seed in the NFC playoff standings. The team continues to keep its lead over the Seattle Seahawks, though Russell Wilson continues to find ways to lead his team to victory. The NFC may project to a Seattle vs. Dallas title game to decide who will advance to play in the Super Bowl this year.
The New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders play in the afternoon games on Sunday, with a chance for each team to secure sole possession of the best record in the AFC. Currently, the Raiders and Patriots are tied at 8-2, with the Raiders holding the tie-breaker and the No. 1 seed so far. The Raiders have a lot of tough games coming up on the schedule, including several against AFC West opponents that are also competing for the Wild Card slots. It could be a tough road to the top seed, but it would be well-earned if the team can clinch it.
The Monday night game (Nov. 28) this week is the Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers and Eagles are outside of the playoff picture at the moment, making this a must-win game for both teams. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the NFL experts are very split on the predictions for this game. It shows how evenly matched the teams will be on Monday night, possibly setting it up to be a very exciting contest. How much it will affect the 2016 NFL playoff standings will depend on how the late afternoon games from Sunday turn out.
Full 2016 NFL Playoff Standings
AFC Playoff Standings
1 - New England Patriots (9-2)2 - Oakland Raiders (9-2)3 - Baltimore Ravens (6-5)4 - Houston Texans (6-5)5 - Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)6 - Denver Broncos (7-3)
7 - Miami Dolphins (7-4)8 - Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)9 - Buffalo Bills (6-5)10 - Tennessee Titans (6-6)11 - Indianapolis Colts (5-6)12 - San Diego Chargers (5-6)13 - Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)14 - New York Jets (3-7)15 - Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)16 - Cleveland Browns (0-12)
NFC Playoff Standings
1 - Dallas Cowboys (10-1)2 - Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)3 - Detroit Lions (7-4)4 - Atlanta Falcons (7-4)5 - New York Giants (8-3)6 - Washington Redskins (6-4-1)
7 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5)8 - Minnesota Vikings (6-5)9 - Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)10 - New Orleans Saints (5-6)11 - Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)12 - Green Bay Packers (4-6)13 - Carolina Panthers (4-7)14 - Los Angeles Rams (4-7)15 - Chicago Bears (2-9)16 - San Francisco 49ers (1-10)
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]