The San Francisco 49ers are two games away from wrapping up the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but we can still keep an eye on the developing playoff picture. Things are tightening up as we come down the home stretch, and it will make for an exciting Week 16 and 17.
First round bye
The Seahawks were the big beneficiary this week. They won on Thursday, and thanks to the Detroit Lions loss, have moved back into the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoff picture. They host the Arizona Cardinals and travel to face the 49ers to close out the season. If they win out, they get the bye.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football to improve to 12-2. They are two games up on the New York Giants in the NFC East with two games to go, and 2.5 games up on the Seahawks. One Cowboys win or one Giants loss means the Cowboys will have home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The Atlanta Falcons moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South with their win and the Bucs loss. Atlanta travels to Carolina and hosts New Orleans these final two weeks. The Bucs have the opposite schedule, traveling to New Orleans and hosting Carolina the final two weeks.
The Detroit Lions lost while the Green Bay Packers won, and now Detroit has a one-game lead on Green Bay. Detroit travels to Dallas this week, while Green Bay hosts Minnesota. The two teams square off in Detroit to finish out the season, and barring an unexpected upset, the division will be on the line.
Wild card picture
The New York Giants beat the Lions and hold a two game lead for a wild card spot. The Giants travel to Philadelphia and Washington to close out the season. Washington plays Carolina on Monday Night Football this week, and then closes the season at Chicago and at home against the Giants. There is plenty that could still shake up in the wild card picture.
NFC playoff picture
1. Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
2. Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1)
3. Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
4. Detroit Lions (9-5)
5. New York Giants (10-4)
6. Washington (7-5-1)
In the picture: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6), Green Bay Packers (8-6), Minnesota Vikings (7-7)
On the AFC side of things, congratulations to the Oakland Raiders, who clinched their first playoff berth since 2002. They barely beat the San Diego Chargers, but with the Kansas City Chiefs getting upset by the Tennessee Titans, the Raiders are back in first in the AFC West. The Raiders close out the season at home against Indianapolis and on the road against Denver. The Chiefs close out at home against Denver and on the road against San Diego.
New England clinched the AFC East and a bye with their big road win over the Denver Broncos. They host the New York Jets and travel to face the Miami Dolphins to close out the season. They lead the Raiders by one game for the best record, so they need to keep on winning.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins hold the final wild card berth with their road win over the Jets. Miami travels to Buffalo and then hosts New England to close out the season.
AFC playoff picture
1. New England Patriots (12-2)
2. Oakland Raiders (11-3)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
4. Houston Texans (8-6)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
6. Miami Dolphins (9-5)
In the picture: Baltimore Ravens (8-6), Tennessee Titans (8-6), Denver Broncos (8-6), Buffalo Bills (7-7), Indianapolis Colts (7-7)