The Patriots' win over the Ravens on Monday night doesn't mean much in terms of how it affects the standings in the AFC. The Patriots remain No. 1 overall in the AFC -- they would have dropped to No. 2 with a loss to Baltimore -- and the Ravens stay at No. 8 overall.
But it's a huge move in terms of what it means for the remainder of the season. The Patriots are now a full game clear of the Chiefs for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. Their remaining games are at Denver, home against the Jets and at Miami. A loss would've put the Dolphins within two games and now the Pats can clinch the AFC East with a win next week.
For the Ravens, they're in a tough situation relative to their division battle with the Steelers. Pittsburgh has a game on Baltimore, although the teams meet in two weeks. The Ravens play the Eagles at home and the Bengals on the road in their other two games, while the Steelers get the Bengals on the road and the Browns at home. There's very little margin of error for the Ravens now, although multiple paths to the postseason remain.
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1. New England Patriots (11-2)
The Patriots didn't clinch a playoff spot or the division on Monday night as a result of the Dolphins winning Sunday. But with the win over Baltimore at home Monday night, they're three up in the AFC East with three to play (including Week 17 in Miami).
2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
The huge win Thursday night sets up the Chiefs very well for making a run to the top of the AFC standings. They have the tiebreaker in the AFC West over Oakland based on a season sweep.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
With the Steelers' victory over the Bills, a 27-20 triumph that featured Le'Veon Bell setting a team record for most rushing yards in a single game, they move ahead of the Ravens thanks to the better number on the win column.
4. Houston Texans (7-6)
Despite having the worst quarterback in the division, and maybe in football, Houston is in great position to win the AFC South. The Texans and Brock Osweiler are now 4-0 in the division after beating Andrew Luck and the Colts. They hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Titans.
5. Oakland Raiders (10-3)
The Raiders are close to clinching a playoff spot but still not guaranteed to get in. Eleven wins probably makes it out of the AFC.
6. Denver Broncos (8-5)
You may have heard on TV that Miami is here, but that's not the case. The defending champions hold on to the final AFC playoff spot for now, but their stretch run is brutal. Home against New England, on the road at Kansas City and home against Oakland.
In the hunt
Miami Dolphins (8-5): Huge win at home against the Cardinals for the Dolphins, but it came at a price after Ryan Tannehill strained his MCL and ACL. Matt Moore is going to earn his money if they want to make a playoff run.
Baltimore Ravens (7-6): Much tougher schedule than the Steelers, making Monday night's loss a tough one to swallow.
Tennessee Titans (7-6): Kansas City, Jacksonville and Houston to close out is going to make the Titans a contender the rest of the year. They currently lose the tiebreaker to the Texans.
On the fringe
Indianapolis Colts (6-7): Can't count them out because the division is terrible, but losing at home to Houston in Week 14 is going to be tough to overcome.
1. Dallas Cowboys (11-2) (x)
The Cowboys fell to the Giants 10-7 on Sunday night, leaving open the possibility of them being caught in the NFC East and postponing them clinching a bye for another week. The Cowboys get the white-hot Buccaneers next week.
2. Detroit Lions (9-4)
Every week the Lions trail in the fourth quarter and every week Matthew Stafford leads a comeback. Detroit is in very good shape even though the Packers are hot on their heels. The Lions' win and the Seahawks' loss bumped Detroit up to the No. 2 spot.
3. Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1)
Horrific game for Seattle, which fell a spot and lost any chance of clinching the NFC West with a loss in Green Bay. Home-field advantage is essentially off the table and a first-round bye looks like it's going to be tougher to get.
4. Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
Atlanta absolutely stomped out the Rams in Los Angeles.
5. New York Giants (9-4)
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)
Tampa took care of business to win its fifth straight game in a pretty handy victory over the Saints. Tampa's defense is playing really well the past month-plus.
In the hunt
Washington Redskins (7-5-1): Massive win against NFC East rival Philadelphia.
Minnesota Vikings (7-6): They absolutely had to beat the Jaguars on the road Sunday to stay alive and they did just that. Minnesota is right there with Tampa and the Giants too.
Green Bay Packers (7-6): Aaron Rodgers and Co. continued to look like a different team, dominating the Seahawks en route to an easy victory that saw Russell Wilson throw five interceptions and Brett Hundley get playing time for a good reason.
On the fringe
Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1): Losing at Miami probably did them in, but there's a chance 8-7-1 could steal a wild-card spot. A very small one.
(x) - clinched playoff spot
(y) - clinched division
(z) - clinched first-round bye
(*) - clinched homefield advantage