Week 16 NFL Playoff Picture: Nearly Half the Field is Set

Week 16 NFL Playoff Picture
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

After what ended up being a crazy Week 15 across the NFL with ridiculous endings all over the league, more playoff spots continue to be settled. Even still, there are a number of teams jostling positions, and there should be plenty of movement in the coming weeks. As we approach the final three weeks of the 2022 NFL season, here is the Week 16 NFL playoff picture.

NOTE: *= clinched playoff berth
**= clinched division

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Week 16 NFL Playoff Picture
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) reacts to his catch against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports


  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1)*
  2. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)**
  3. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)**
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (10-4)*
  6. New York Giants (8-5-1)
  7. Washington Commanders (7-6-1)

  1. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
  2. Detroit Lions (7-7)
  3. Green Bay Packers (6-8)
  4. Carolina Panthers (5-9)
  5. New Orleans Saints (5-9)
  6. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)
  7. Arizona Cardinals (4-10)
  8. Los Angeles Rams (4-10)
  9. Chicago Bears (3-11)

Wild Card Matchups

  • (7) Washington Commanders @ (2) Minnesota Vikings
  • (6) New York Giants @ (3) San Francisco 49ers
  • (5) Dallas Cowboys @ (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • (1) Philadelphia Eagles on bye


  • Only three spots are left to be settled in the NFC: the NFC South division and a pair of wild card spots. Two wild card spots between the Giants, Commanders, Seahawks, Lions, and Packers should make for an interesting final few weeks.
  • If, in fact, every NFC South team finishes the season 6-11 (yes, that is possible), the Carolina Panthers will host a playoff game.
  • As for this week, not too much changes in the actual playoff picture for the conference.
  • Another win for the Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys not only wraps up the NFC East, but it also clinches the No. 1 seed.
  • Who would have thought the Detroit Lions would come this close to a playoff spot after their 1-6 spot?


Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) exits the field after defeating the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports


  1. Buffalo Bills (11-3)*
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)**
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-4)
  4. Tennessee Titans (7-7)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (9-5)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
  7. Miami Dolphins (8-6)

  1. New England Patriots (7-7)
  2. New York Jets (7-7)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8)
  4. Las Vegas Raiders (6-8)
  5. Cleveland Browns (6-8)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8)
  7. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1)
  8. Denver Broncos (4-10)
  9. Houston Texans (1-12-1)

Wild Card Matchups

  • (7) Miami Dolphins @ (2) Kansas City Chiefs
  • (6) Los Angeles Chargers @ (3) Cincinnati Bengals
  • (5) Baltimore Ravens @ (4) Tennessee Titans
  • (1) Buffalo Bills on bye


  • Justin Herbert vs. Joe Burrow would be an absolutely electric matchup.
  • Keep an eye on the Cincinnati Bengals for that No. 1 seed. They have a game against the Bills later this season.
  • We saw on Saturday night why homefield advantage would be so huge for the Buffalo Bills. Will they be able to hang onto that top spot, though?
  • Jacksonville might just sneak in and claim the AFC South crown after all.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.