In Orchard Park, New York, the Buffalo Bills sent a strong message to the rest of the AFC, proving that writing them off midseason was a mistake. Simultaneously, the assumption that the AFC East race was over was proven wrong. Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, the Jaguars’ losing streak extended to three games, creating a three-way tie in the AFC South with the Colts and Texans. The Ravens secured another convincing win, moving closer to claiming the top seed in the AFC.
In New Orleans, the Tommy DeVito story and the Giants’ three-game win streak cooled off temporarily. In Cleveland, a missed Hail Mary opportunity for the Bears resulted in Joe Flacco securing his second consecutive victory as the Browns’ starter, bringing them closer to a playoff spot.
The Jets faced another setback in Miami, suffering a 30-0 loss to the Dolphins, marking their 13th straight season without a playoff berth. In Arizona, the 49ers clinched their second consecutive NFC West title with a dominating 45-29 victory over the Cardinals, solidifying their status as the NFC’s first 11-win team.
Week 15 highlights and an updated look at the AFC and NFC playoff picture:
Ravens Maintain AFC Lead
The Ravens quietly hold an impressive 11-3 record and remain in the lead for the AFC’s top seed. The upcoming game against the Dolphins could determine the top seed, but a challenging test against the 49ers awaits the Ravens.
AFC South Three-Way Tie
With the Jaguars’ loss, the AFC South now has a three-way tie between the Jaguars, Colts, and Texans, all standing at 8-6. The division title is up for grabs, and the Jaguars face a tough closing schedule against the Bucs, Panthers, and Titans.
Bills Resurgence in AFC East
Despite being written off midseason, the Bills have bounced back with a 3-1 record since firing their offensive coordinator. Their recent 31-10 victory over the Cowboys showcased a revitalized team, setting up an intriguing race for the AFC East title against the Dolphins.
AFC Wild-Card Race
The Browns’ resilience has propelled them to a 9-5 record, while the Bengals, Colts, Texans, and Bills also won to reach 8-6. The Steelers and Broncos, now at 7-7, face challenges in the competitive wild-card race.
Bucs Surge, Packers Struggle in NFC
The Buccaneers’ third consecutive win, a convincing 34-20 victory over the Packers, has propelled them to a tie atop the NFC South with the Saints. The Packers’ recent struggles might jeopardize their playoff hopes, as six teams compete for the final two NFC wild-card spots.
The Chargers’ decision to fire Brandon Staley adds to the list of head-coaching vacancies, alongside the Panthers, Raiders, and Patriots. Speculation surrounds Ron Rivera’s future with the Commanders, while Bill Belichick’s potential departure from the Patriots after 24 seasons adds another layer to the coaching carousel.