2013 NFL playoff picture: Cardinals, Chargers keep hope alive with Week 16 wins
The Arizona Cardinals knocked off the Seahawks in Seattle to stay alive in the playoff race. In the AFC, a Chargers win combined with losses by the Dolphins and Ravens keeps means the final playoff spot won't be decided until next week. Here's a look at the complete playoff picture after the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. games.
The majority of Week 16 is in the books, but there is still a lot to be settled in the playoff races. Seattle lost at home for the first time this season, the first time in quarterback Russell Wilson's young career, and by doing so, failed to wrap up the No. 1 spot in the NFC. The Seahawks can still secure home-field advantage, but it may now come down to the final week of the season.
The late games also had an impact on the AFC races. Here's a look at the complete playoff picture with just two Week 16 games to play.
AFC playoff standings
No. 1 - (Y) Denver 12-3
No. 2 - (Y) New England 11-4
No. 3 - (Y) Cincinnati 10-5
No. 4 - (Z) Indianapolis 10-5
No. 5 - (X) Kansas City 11-4
No. 6 - Baltimore 8-7
In the hunt: Miami 8-7, San Diego 8-7, Pittsburgh 7-8
New England clinched the AFC East earlier in the day when Miami lost to Buffalo, but the Patriots moved one step closer to securing a first-round bye and remained in contention for home-field advantage with their win against Baltimore. Baltimore still controls its own destiny, despite the loss. The Ravens own a head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami and would make the playoffs with a win next week or a Dolphins loss.
The Chargers improved to 8-7 with a win against Oakland and kept their playoff hopes alive in the process. They are now tied with Miami and Baltimore, but San Diego is at a disadvantage due to a poor conference record. The Chargers will need to win next week at home against the Chiefs and get some help in the other games.
NFC playoff standings
No. 1 - Seattle 12-3
No. 2 - New Orleans 10-5
No. 3 - Philadelphia 8-6
No. 4 - Chicago 8-6
No. 5 - Carolina 11-4
No. 6 - San Francisco 10-4
In the hunt: Arizona 10-5, Green Bay 7-7-1, Detroit 7-8, Dallas 8-7
By snapping Seattle's 14-game home winning streak, the Arizona Cardinals stayed alive in the playoff race and kept Seattle from clinching home-field advantage. The Cardinals' win helped San Francisco, which can still secure the NFC West and the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The 49ers would need to beat Atlanta on Monday and Arizona next week with Seattle losing at home to St. Louis. If San Francisco loses either of its final two games or the Seahawks beat the Rams next week, Seattle will win the NFC West and secure home-field advantage.
Arizona is alive in the race, but still needs plenty of help. The Cardinals are tied with the Saints for the final wild card spot, but New Orleans owns the tiebreaker. San Francisco can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Atlanta on Monday. If the 49ers win, the Cardinals will need to beat San Francisco next week and have New Orleans lose to Tampa Bay.
Sunday night's game between the Eagles and Bears has implications too. A Bears win would clinch the NFC North, thanks to losses by the Packers and Lions. A Bears loss sets up a winner-take-all game against the Packers in Week 17 for the division. The Eagles and the Cowboys will square off next week in Dallas to determine the NFC East winner.
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