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NFL

NFL playoff implications after Saturday night doubleheader

Two regular season games ended Saturday, both with playoff implications. Let’s take a look at what the playoffs look like after Saturday's doubleheader.

Update:
Two regular season games ended Saturday, both with playoff implications. Let’s take a look at what the playoffs look like after Saturday's doubleheader.
Ron ChenoyUSA TODAY Sports

Saturday night’s NFL doubleheader ended with the Chiefs rallying to defeat the Broncos and the Cowboys sweeping the NFC East with a win over the rival Eagles.

Saturday's matchups and their effect on the playoffs

Though the Cowboys and Eagles both had already clinched playoff berths before the game, Dallas was still playing to move up to possibly the No.2 seed in the NFC. The Eagles, on the other hand, accepted their fate wouldn’t change much as the highest they could get would be No.6 seed in the conference. They rested several key players and the Cowboys ended up with a 6-0 sweep in the NFC East.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 08: Ced Wilson #1 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 08, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mit
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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 08: Ced Wilson #1 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 08, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. MitMitchell LeffAFP

The Chiefs came back to win it against the Broncos and clinched at least the No.2 seed in the AFC. The Titans will now have to win over the Texans to keep their spot at top seed in the AFC and get home-field advantage.

AFC playoff standings

In the AFC, no team has secured home field advantage yet. The Chiefs, Titans, and Bengals, have clinched their division (and by default playoff berths). The Patriots and Bills have clinched a playoff spot.

Teams still fighting for a division title (AFC East): Bills and Patriots

Teams still fighting for a playoff berth: Colts, Chargers, Raiders, Steelers, Ravens

NFC playoff standings

In the NFC, the Packers have already clinched the No.1 seed and home field advantage in the playoffs. The Packers, Buccaneers, and Cowboys have all won their division (and therefore playoff berths). The Rams, Cardinals, and Eagles have also already clinched playoff berths.

Teams still fighting for a division win (NFC West): Rams, Cardinals

Teams still fighting for a playoff berth: 49ers, Saints

What to know about each team in the playoffs and playoff contention:

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
Because the Chiefs beat the Broncos, they are now the No.1 seed in the AFC. They would need the Titans to lose to the Texans on Sunday in order to keep that status and get the first-round bye, which is unlikely. They have already made sure they will be at least the No.2 seed in the AFC, which means they will get at least two home games in the playoffs if they win the wild-card round.

Tennessee Titans (11-5)
The Titans were sitting at the No.1 seed in the AFC after the Bengals beat the Chiefs, but now that the Chiefs came back to win it over the Broncos, the Titans are under pressure to beat the Texans on Sunday in order to take it back from them and get the first-round bye. With a win, they’ll secure the No.1 seed and KC will be the No.2 seed. A loss would do the opposite.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
The Bengals clinched the AFC North with their win over the Chiefs in week 17 but sit at the No.3 seed behind them and the Titans. Their chances at being the top seed were ruined by Kansas City’s win over the Broncos on Saturday.

Buffalo Bills (10-6)
The Bills have clinched their playoff spot, but not their division. They could win the AFC East with a win over the Jets on Sunday. They could also move up to the No.3 seed if the Bengals lose to the Browns on Sunday.

New England Patriots (10-6)
The Patriots clinched their playoff spot, but not their division. To win the AFC East, they would need to win over the Dolphins AND for the Bills to lose to the Jets. If the Patriots do beat the Dolphins, they would be at least the No.5 seed in the AFC.

Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
The Colts have not yet secured a playoff spot. They could make the playoffs with a win over the Jaguars on Sunday. The Colts are currently the No.6 seed in the AFC. They have the best record in their conference games.

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
The Chargers have not yet secured a playoff spot. They could make the playoffs with win over the Raiders on Sunday. The Chargers are currently the No.7 seed and own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Raiders.

Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
The Raiders have not yet secured a playoff spot. They have the same record as the Colts and Chargers. In order to get a playoff berth, the Raiders need either a win over the Chargers OR the Steelers AND Colts to both lose on Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)
The Steelers haven’t clinched a playoff berth, but could. They would need two things to happen: a win over the Ravens and a Colts loss to the Jaguars on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
The Ravens need a lot of magical things to happen to keep their playoff hopes alive. They need a win over the Steelers AND a Colts loss, Browns loss, Chargers loss, and Dolphins loss.

NFC

Green Bay Packers (13-3)
The Packers are all set and the game against the Lions this Sunday will not mean anything for them. They have already clinched their division, the No.1 seed in the NFC and home field advantage in the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
The Rams have clinched a playoff spot, but not their division. They could clinch the NFC West with a win over the 49ers. They are currently the No.2 seed in the NFC and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bucs. They have a lot on the line as they could also potentially move down to the No.5 seed if they lose and the Cardinals win.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
The Bucs have clinched their playoff berth and are currently the No.3 seed in the AFC after the Rams. They lose the tiebreaker to the Rams for the No.2 spot. They play the Panthers on Sunday, but don’t have much to lose.

Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
The Cowboys had already clinched their playoff berth and division before Saturday's game, and now, with their win over the Eagles, they have a chance to move up from the No.4 seed in the NFC to No.2, but they need a few things to happen. They need both the Bucs and the Rams to lose. Otherwise, they’re locked in at No.4.

Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
The Cardinals have clinched their playoff spot but not their division. They could win the NFC West with a win over the Seahawks AND a Rams loss on Sunday. They have already clinched at least the No.5 seed in the NFC.

San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
The 49ers have not yet clinched a playoff spot. They would need a win over the Rams OR a Saints loss to the Falcons. The Niners are currently the No.6 seed in the NFC and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
The Eagles clinched a playoff berth and are still the No.7 seed in the NFC since the Niners own the head-to-head tiebreaker. They could still potentially move up to the No.6 seed if the 49ers lose AND the Saints win on Sunday.

New Orleans Saints (8-8)
The Saints have not clinched a playoff berth, but are still in the race. They are currently the No.8 seed. In order to clinch a playoff spot, they would need a win over the Falcons AND the 49ers to lose to the Rams.

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