The NFL Playoff picture 2016 edition continues to heat up as Week 13 arrives for hungry teams looking to fight their way into the postseason. There will be some pivotal games taking place on the schedule including the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants battling it out in an AFC vs. NFC showdown. Additionally, a matchup featuring the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans could help determine who's in or out, as there are a handful of teams still alive for potential playoff berths. Here's the latest on who's currently in and who's trying to battle get a spot going forward as some great matchups take place during the Week 13 NFL schedule.
There's no question about the Dallas Cowboys making it into the NFL playoffs for this current season. Rookies Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott have led them to an 11-1 record to start the season. Most recently, they captured a close 17-15 victory over Minnesota on Thursday Night Football, according to ESPN. Receiver Dez Bryant was the star of the game, as he had 84 yards and a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, which ultimately helped seal the lead. As it stands, no team has a better record in the league than Dallas, and they will be the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Minnesota (6-6) is still in the hunt after the loss, but clutching to hopes of an NFC Wild Card spot, as they are the No. 8 team with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) right above them. Green Bay and New Orleans are right there with these teams hoping to claw their way into a final playoff spot before the end of the season. For the Packers, they'll host the Houston Texans in Green Bay today with both teams hungry for that win. The Inquisitr reported earlier this week in the latest NFL Week 13 picks and predictions that Green Bay at four points to win may be one of the bets to take.
As for who's in for the NFC, Dallas is the surest of the teams as they are the No. 1 seed. The Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1) are the second seed, with the Detroit Lions (7-4) as the third seed. The Atlanta Falcons are holding onto the No. 4 seed ahead of their interesting matchup with the AFC's Kansas City on Sunday. The New York Giants are the No. 5 seed with an 8-3 record, while the Washington Redskins (6-4-1) hold the No. 6 spot. All of that could change based on Sunday's results, but a look at how it stands ahead of the games is below.
2016 NFC Playoff Picture (Week 13)No. 1 Dallas Cowboys (11-1)
No. 2 Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
No. 3 Detroit Lions (7-4)
No. 4 Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
No. 5 New York Giants (8-3)
No. 6 Washington Redskins (6-4-1)
Next four teams: Buccaneers (6-5), Vikings (6-6), Saints (5-6), Packers (5-6)
Among the biggest NFC scenarios to watch today are the potential for Green Bay to gain ground in the NFC North. They'll need to defeat the Houston Texans and hope for Detroit to lose to the New Orleans Saints in today's 1 p.m. Eastern Time NFL games. Also, Philadelphia is still in the playoff chase, barely behind the four teams mentioned above, but a win today over Cincinnati could keep their hopes going strong.
In the AFC, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots continue to cling to the No. 1 seed, but the Oakland Raiders are right there with them. Both teams hold 9-2 records, but the Pats have the No. 1 seed, and Oakland holds the No. 2 seed. New England recently got bad news, as according to multiple sources including NFL.com, Rob Gronkowski is officially done for the season, including the playoffs and won't be healthy until the 2017 NFL season. Gronk opted for back surgery several days ago and will be on the mend. That means one of Tom Brady's top targets won't be available for that potential Cowboys vs. Patriots Super Bowl matchup. It could even mean that New England struggles to capture the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They'll host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday's slate.
For the rest of the AFC Playoff picture, the Baltimore Ravens (6-5) are clinging to the No. 3 spot. A lot could change if the Ravens lose and Pittsburgh can take down the Giants on Sunday. The Texans (6-5) are the No. 4 seed, while the Kansas City Chiefs are the No. 5 seed. The Miami Dolphins (7-4) are holding onto the No. 6 seed, but that could change if Denver keeps winning. The Dolphins and Ravens will compete at 1 p.m. EST in a game that could shake up the picture, while the Broncos will take on Jacksonville at the same time.
2016 AFC Playoff Picture (Week 13)No. 1 New England Patriots (9-2)
No. 2 Oakland Raiders (9-2)
No. 3 Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
No. 4 Houston Texans (6-5)
No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs (8-3)
No. 6 Miami Dolphins (7-4)
Next four teams: Broncos (7-4), Steelers (6-5), Bills (6-5), Titans (6-6)
The Miami Dolphins could lose their spot today, or the Baltimore Ravens could, with a loss. Watch for the Denver Broncos or Pittsburgh Steelers to enter the playoff picture based on those results. Big Ben and Pittsburgh will need the Ravens to lose and also need to defeat the Giants to move into contention. If the Dolphins lose, it helps the Denver Broncos possibly regain their spot. Denver will also need to win at Jacksonville, which may not be too difficult a task. The Jaguars are 2-9 overall with a 1-4 record at home and Denver is a four-point favorite heading into this matchup.
So expect some changes to the NFL playoff picture as the Week 13 games go down. One thing is for sure, it could be a fun ride for the remainder of the season, depending on who your team is!
[Featured Image via Andy Lyons/Getty Images]