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NFL playoff picture: Updated AFC, NFC seeds, matchups, standings after Week 16

NFL playoff picture: Updated AFC, NFC seeds, matchups, standings after Week 16

Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season will be a pivotal one in the playoff races for both conferences as several division titles and playoff berths/seeds can be clinched over the next few days.

Here's a look at the updated AFC and NFC playoff pictures based on the outcome of the Week 16 games. This story will be updated as more games conclude.

AFC
1. Baltimore Ravens, 13-2, AFC North winner: Bye week

The Ravens were able to beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday 31-15 to secure the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Browns were eliminated from playoff contention as well.

2. New England Patriots, 12-3, AFC East winner: Bye week
The Patriots have clinch the AFC East title for the 11th consecutive season after they beat the Bills at Gillette Stadium 24-17 on Saturday. New England will clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye if it defeats the Miami Dolphins in Week 17 or if the Kansas City Chiefs lose to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4, AFC West winner) vs. 6. Tennessee Titans (8-7, second wild card)
The Chiefs are still alive in the race for a top-two seed, but they need another Patriots loss for that to happen. Kansas City dominated the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, 26-3.

The Titans own the second wild card spot by the slimmest of margins. They have the same record and in-conference record as the Steelers, but the Titans have superior strength of victory. Both teams lost on Sunday to the Jets and Saints respectively.

4. Houston Texans (10-5, AFC South winner) vs. 5. Buffalo Bills (10-5, first wild card)
The Texans staved off a late comeback attempt by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday to win the AFC South title. Houston could still move up to the No. 2 or No. 3 seeds because it owns the head-to-head tiebreakers with both the Patriots and Chiefs.

The Bills have clinched a playoff berth and are all but locked into the five seed. A win in Week 17 would clinch it, as would a loss by either the Titans or the Steelers (the Bills own the head-to-head tiebreaker against both teams).

In the Hunt
7. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-7
8. Oakland Raiders, 7-8

NFC
1. San Francisco 49ers, 12-3, NFC West leader: Bye week
By virtue of their last-second win over the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers head into Sunday holding onto the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

2.  Green Bay Packers, 12-3, NFC North winner: Bye week
The Packers clinched the NFC North title win their win over the rival Vikings in Minnesota on "Monday Night Football." They also jumped back up to the No. 2 seed with the victory.

3. New Orleans Saints (12-3, NFC South winner) vs. 6. Minnesota Vikings (10-5, second wild card)
The Saints beat the Tennessee Titans and have already clinched a top-three seed, but they go back down from the No. 2 spot to No. 3 after the Packers' win on Monday Night Football.

The Vikings' loss cost them a shot at the NFC North title, however they had already clinched a playoff spot with the Los Angeles Rams losing on Saturday. Minnesota is locked into the No. 6 spot.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7, NFC East leader) vs. 5. Seattle Seahawks, 11-4, (first wild card)
The Eagles took down the Cowboys to overtake their archrival in the NFC East. Philly will have a chance to clinch the division crown with a win next week vs. the New York Giants.

The Seahawks fell to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, thus failing to jump back to the top seed in the NFL entering their Week 17 showdown against the 49ers in Seattle. 

In the Hunt
Dallas Cowboys, 7-8

Curran: Patriots provide proof positive of 2019 potential

Tom Brady's stay-at-home message contains healthy living tips amid pandemic

Tom Brady's stay-at-home message contains healthy living tips amid pandemic

Tom Brady is the latest athlete to record a stay at home message amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But his is a little different than the other ones you've already seen.

While most have spent time focusing on providing encouraging words to those dealing with the struggles of social distancing, Brady focused more on how to stay healthy amid the pandemic. Here's a look at his full message courtesy of the NFL's Twitter account.

This was a nice idea by Brady to give some tips to help people adjust to these unfamiliar living conditions. It also lines up pretty well with his health and lifestyle brand, TB12, so it's no surprise to see him preach the benefits of staying hydrated, being active, and eating nutrient-rich vegetables.

Of course, Brady did also have some words of encouragement for his audience and signed off by saying "I know we’re going to get through this together." So, that was a great gesture as well.

Brady will surely be focused on following these tips as he prepares for his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady spent the first 20 seasons of his career with the New England Patriots before signing with the Bucs this offseason.

NFL Odds: Here are the favorites to start at QB in Week 1 for the Patriots

NFL Odds: Here are the favorites to start at QB in Week 1 for the Patriots

The New England Patriots are facing uncertainty at quarterback for the first time in two decades. Tom Brady departed this offseason to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots will need a new starting quarterback as a result.

That said, a favorite appears to be emerging to take over the job.

According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Jarrett Stidham is currently heavily favored to be the Patriots starter at least to kick-off 2020. Here's a look at the odds for each potential candidate at the position courtesy of FanDuel.

This lines up pretty well with what has come out of Patriots camp since Brady's departure. They seem to believe that Stidham is their future at quarterback, so why wouldn't they give him a shot to start? While Brian Hoyer isn't too far behind Stidham (+250), he's likely only that high because he has the most starting experience of the three passers currently on the Patriots depth chart.

The more interesting parts of these odds are the ones relating to veterans and rookies not currently on the team. Cam Newton (+900) leads the pack among the veteran options and is one of two non-Patriot quarterbacks ahead of presumed third-stringer Cody Kessler. The other is Andy Dalton (+1000).

While Newton is available, the Patriots don't have much in the way of cap space. So, it seems unlikely that they would sign him unless they have minimal confidence in the quarterback options on their roster or if one of their options suffers an injury down the road.

As for the rookies, Jacob Eason (+1900) actually leads the pack by a fair bit. He's still a longshot, but his odds are much better than the triage of other rookie passers listed; Justin Herbert, Jake From, and Jordan Love come in at +2600.

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Is this a sign that the Patriots like Eason? They're notoriously tight-lipped about the draft process, so it's hard to say. But if Eason continues to considerably lead the rookie pack as the draft draws nearer, that should be a good indication that the Pats have their eye on him.

Either way, Stidham is rightfully the favorite at this point and the Patriots seem content to give him a season to prove himself. But once the 2020 NFL Draft comes and goes, the picture at quarterback will be a bit clearer.