NFL playoff standings reflect how the Seattle Seahawks have eliminated the Carolina Panthers and how the Dallas Cowboys have now clinched a spot in the 2017 NFL Playoffs. The Week 13 NFL scores cleared up a lot in the race to the postseason, with the Panthers and Minnesota Vikings sliding further down the NFL playoff standings. While Dallas is No. 1 and Seattle is No. 2 in the NFC, Minnesota is down to No. 9 and Carolina has fallen all the way to 14th place in the conference. Rather than planning for the postseason, the Panthers are planning for the 2017 NFL Draft.
The updated NFL standings have the other divisional leaders as the Detroit Lions (8-4) and Atlanta Falcons (7-5) in the NFC. The Lions are now two full games ahead of the Vikings (6-6) and Green Bay Packers (6-6) in the NFC North, while the Falcons have slipped into a tie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) in the NFC South. The Falcons still hold a tie-breaker over the Buccaneers, but it could all come down to the final few regular season games, as the teams have split the two head-to-head games this year.
In the latest NFL playoff standings, the Buccaneers have also moved up into one of the NFC Wild Card spots. They replace the Washington Redskins (6-5-1), who lost again on Sunday (December 4). The New York Giants (8-4) hold the other NFC Wild Card spot, with a very important game against the Dallas Cowboys (11-1) taking place in Week 14. If the Cowboys win that game, the team will clinch the NFC East and a first-round bye in the 2017 NFL Playoffs. The Giants need a victory to try to move closer to clinching one of the Wild Card spots.
The Oakland Raiders (10-2) and New England Patriots (10-2) each won in Week 14 to remain tied atop the AFC standings. The Raiders hold the No. 1 seed via tie-breakers, but this is a battle that could come down to the final weekend of the regular season. The Raiders are also only one game ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) for first place in the AFC West. As for the Patriots, the team is now three full games ahead of the Miami Dolphins (7-5) for first place in the AFC East.
The other AFC divisional leaders are the Baltimore Ravens (7-5) in the AFC North and the Houston Texans (6-6) in the AFC South. The two Wild Card teams both come from the West, with the Chiefs in the No. 5 slot and the Denver Broncos (8-4) in the No. 6 slot. The Broncos are one game ahead of the Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) for that final playoff slot in the conference.
On Monday night football (December 5), the Indianapolis Colts (5-6) play a must-win game on the road against the New York Jets (3-8). A win for the Colts will tie the team for first place in the AFC South with the Houston Texans. It would also put the team in a prime position to take over the fourth playoff spot in the AFC, with everything relying on the final head-to-head game between the two teams. For now, the Colts are 11th place in the NFL playoff standings, needing a win just to stay afloat.
Full 2016 NFL Playoff Standings
AFC Playoff Standings
1 - Oakland Raiders (10-2)2 - New England Patriots (10-2)3 - Baltimore Ravens (7-5)4 - Houston Texans (6-6)5 - Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)6 - Denver Broncos (8-4)
7 - Miami Dolphins (7-5)8 - Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)9 - Tennessee Titans (6-6)10 - Buffalo Bills (6-6)11 - Indianapolis Colts (5-6)12 - San Diego Chargers (5-7)13 - Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1)14 - New York Jets (3-8)15 - Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)16 - Cleveland Browns (0-12)
NFC Playoff Standings
1 - Dallas Cowboys (12-1)2 - Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1)3 - Detroit Lions (8-4)4 - Atlanta Falcons (7-5)5 - New York Giants (8-4)6 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
7 - Washington Redskins (6-5-1)8 - Green Bay Packers (6-6)9 - Minnesota Vikings (6-6)10 - Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1)11 - Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)12 - New Orleans Saints (5-7)13 - Los Angeles Rams (4-8)14 - Carolina Panthers (4-8)15 - Chicago Bears (3-9)16 - San Francisco 49ers (1-11)
[Featured Image by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]