The New England Patriots protected their lead atop the AFC standings in Week 11 with a 17-10 road win over the Philadlphia Eagles, improving their record to 9-1.
The defending Super Bowl champs suffered their first loss in Week 9 with a lackluster 37-20 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens, but they recovered nicely after a Week 10 bye to keep their grip on the conference's No. 1 seed. Tom Brady and Co.'s margin error remains is razor thin, though, because the Ravens have the tiebreaker advantage as a result of their head-to-head win two weeks ago.
Speaking of the Ravens, if it wasn't already clear they're a legit Super Bowl contender, quarterback Lamar Jackson made it quite evident Sunday by leading a 41-7 trouncing of the Houston Texans.
Both the Patriots and Ravens have tough Week 12 matchups on deck. The Pats will host the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys, while the Ravens will face the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams on the road.
The Texans dropped from the No. 3 seed to the No. 6 seed as a result of Sunday's defeat, but they lead the Oakland Raiders for the second wild-card spot because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Raiders extended their win streak to three games with a 17-10 victory versus the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
The Colts earned a comfortable 33-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars to move back into the AFC South lead.
The Kansas Chiefs have the AFC West lead over the Raiders (via the head-to-head tiebreaker) entering their Monday night matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. It's basically a must-win game for the Chargers, who are 4-6.
The Buffalo Bills continued to ride a soft schedule to a potential wild card berth. Buffalo beat the Miami Dolphins 37-20 on Sunday.
The NFC race is going to be asbolutely wild down the stretch. There are five teams with an 8-3 record or better, and the fight for the top two seeds -- and the first-round playoff bye they come with -- will be a lot of fun to watch. The best game of Week 12 is a matchup between the Chiefs and Green Bay Packers on "Sunday Night Football" that'll impact the playoff race in both conferences.
Here's the updated NFL playoff picture after Sunday's Week 11 games.
1. New England Patriots, 9-1 (AFC East leader)
2. Baltimore Ravens, 8-2 (AFC North leader)
3. Indianapolis Colts, 6-4 (AFC South leader)
4. Kansas City Chiefs, 6-4 (AFC West leader)
5. Buffalo Bills, 7-3 (First Wild Card)
6. Houston Texans, 6-4 (Second Wild Card
In the Hunt
7. Oakland Raiders 6-4
8. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-5
9. Tennesee Titans, 5-5
1. San Francisco 49ers, 9-1 (NFC West leader)
2. Green Bay Packers, 8-2 (NFC North leader)
3. New Orleans Saints, 8-2 (NFC South leader)
4. Dallas Cowboys, 6-4 (NFC East leader)
5. Seattle Seahawks, 8-2 (First Wild Card
6. Minnesota Vikings, 8-3 (Second Wild Card)
In the Hunt
7. Los Angeles Rams, 6-4
8. Philadelphia Eagles, 5-5
9. Carolina Panthers, 5-5
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