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NFL playoff picture: How Packers’ win over Ravens impacts NFC, AFC races



The Packers are getting closer to locking down their second consecutive top seed in the NFC playoffs. The Ravens, meanwhile, are in danger of falling out of the AFC playoffs.

Green Bay’s thrilling 31-30 win over Baltimore in the Sunday late-afternoon window of Week 15 had major NFL playoff picture implications across both conferences. While the Packers (11-3) improved to the NFL’s best record, the Ravens (8-6) slipped in the battle for their division and one of the three wild-card berths.

Here’s looking at exactly what the Packers’ big road win and the Ravens’ latest loss mean:

NFL playoff picture: How Packers’ win affects NFC seeding

The Packers (11-3) will remain the No. 1 seed in the NFC going into Week 16.ย With the No. 2 Buccaneers (10-3) presumed to beat the Saints in Week 15, Green Bay will still hold the lead over Tampa Bay thanks to a slim conference-record tiebreaker (8-2 vs. 7-3).

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The Packers also gained a game on the losing No. 4-seedย Cardinals (10-4) and stayed a game ahead of the winning No. 3-seed Cowboys (10-4). Green Bay is in good shape to lock up the top spot and home-field advantage; it closes the season with a home game vs. Cleveland (Week 16 on Christmas), another home game vs. Minnesota and a date at Detroit. The Buccaneers,ย however, getย two games with Panthers around a matchup with the Jets,ย so there will pressure on the Packers to win out to stay No. 1.

Green Bay also took care of one piece of important business Sunday.ย The victory sewed up a second straight NFC North title for the team, putting the division out of reach for second-place Minnesota (6-7 going into Week 15).

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NFL playoff picture: How Ravens’ win affects AFC North, wild-card races

The Ravens (8-6) went into Week 15 as the No. 4 seed in the AFC behind the Chiefs (10-4), Patriots (9-5) and Titans (9-5). Their loss dropped them out of first place in the AFC North behind the Bengals (8-6), who won their Week 15 game at the Broncos.ย 

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The Bengals have the tiebreaker because of beating the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 7. The teams meet again in Cincinnati in Week 16. It can get worse for the Ravens in the AFC North standings if the Browns beat the Raiders on Monday. In the case of a three-way tie, both the Bengals (3-1) and Browns (2-2) have a better division record than the Ravens (1-3).

The Ravens went from No. 4 to No. 8 because of one result. That’s how much was on the line during their failed 2-point conversion play at the end of the Packersย game. The Ravens will still be ahead of the Steelers (7-6-1) in the division race after Week 15, but they’ve fallen behind three teams in the AFC wild-card race โ€” the winning Colts, the losing Chargers and the winning Bills, all of whomย are also 8-6.

Baltimore has done its best to overcome major injuries all season, but it has been so ravaged on defense โ€” the offense has persevered with or without Lamar Jackson โ€” that it might be hard for the team to recover in time with only three games left.

The Ravens, now losers of three consecutive games, face an almost must-win game next week. They also have a brutal home date with the Rams in Week 17. They close with the Steelers, who beat them in Pittsburgh in Week 13.

While the Packers gained by the victory, the Ravens suffered a much more significant loss.



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