Skip to content
GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. NFL

NFL Week 16 review: AFC teams win the week's biggest battles

Week 16 of the NFL season featured some pivotal games affecting both ends of the standings.

With each team still having two regular-season games to play, only six of the 14 playoff places have so far been secured, with just two spots claimed so far of the five available in the AFC.

At the other end of the scale, eight teams have now been eliminated from playoff contention. That leaves 18 teams in the middle section, who are not yet sure of securing a playoff place but who are still fighting for one.

The headline matchups on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were the Dallas Cowboys vs Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers showdowns, and both were won by the AFC teams involved.

Let's take a look at the key results from NFL Week 16 and their implications.

Dolphins and Ravens take the marquee wins of the week

The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys both went into their game at 10-4, but Miami emerged at 11-4 thanks to a 22-20 win and is heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

In a close game, Dallas took the lead through a Brandin Cooks touchdown to go up 20-19 with less than four minutes left, but the Dolphins got into field-goal range and won with a 29-yard kick from Jason Sanders as time expired.

On Christmas night, the big inter-conference matchup saw the Baltimore Ravens visiting the San Francisco 49ers in the final game of the week.

Despite going in as 6.5-point underdogs, the Ravens came up with a dominant 33-19 win, as San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy threw four interceptions and back-up Sam Darnold added another.

Those results left the Ravens (12-4) with the best record in the AFC, one game ahead of the Dolphins and the teams play each other in Maryland this week with the top seed in the conference on the line. 

The Ravens are early three-point favorites on the spread for Sunday's huge matchup and quarterback Lamar Jackson is now the -175 favorite to win the MVP award.

The 49ers are still on top of the NFC playoff standings, but at 11-4 they are now level with both the Eagles and the Lions.

The 49ers are still the favorites for the NFL Championship, but at +275 odds after the Monday night setback compared to +240 last week. The Ravens are at +350 odds having been +450 last week.

Movement in AFC playoff race

The Kansas City Chiefs won the NFL Championship last season but their chances of a repeat victory are looking increasingly unlikely. The Chiefs fell to 9-6, marking their fourth loss in their last six games when they were beaten 20-14 at home by the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Day.

Two defensive scores and two field goals proved to be enough for the Raiders to score a stunning road victory as double-digit underdogs even though their quarterback Aidan O'Connell passed for only 62 yards in the game. The Chiefs are out to +850 to retain their title, the fifth-shortest odds.

The non-qualified team with the best record in the AFC is now the Cleveland Browns, who crushed the Houston Texans 36-22 on the road. The Browns pulled their starters after going up by 36-7 early in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Amari Cooper stole the show with a team record of 265 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The Browns have now won three games in a row and will be sure of a playoff place if they beat the Jets at home on Thursday Night Football this week. They are -320 odds to get the job done and seven-point favorites on the spread.

The Buffalo Bills (9-6) needed a late field goal to hold off the Los Angeles Chargers and win 24-22 to boost their AFC playoff prospects, but they are still two games behind the Dolphins, who they face in Week 18.

As well as the Texans, some other AFC wild-card contenders to miss their chance to move to the front of the line were the Cincinnati Bengals (8-7) who lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7), the Indianapolis Colts (8-7) who lost to the Atlanta Falcons, the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7) who lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their fourth-straight defeat and the Denver Broncos (7-8), who were beaten 26-23 at home by the New England Patriots.

The Browns are now +3500 to win the NFL Championship, while head coach Kevin Stefanski is +188 to win the Coach of the Year Award having been +1400 last week. Quarterback Joe Flacco is +350 to win the Comeback Player of the Year award.

The Bills are much higher up the NFL Championship odds list at +900, while the Colts have the most even odds of any team to make the playoffs this season at +100 to make it and -130 to miss out.

Lions and Eagles challenging 49ers in the NFC

In the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions benefited most from the 49ers and Cowboys losing in Week 16, but the Eagles didn't make a great impression in their 33-25 home win over the New York Giants.

Nick Sirianni's team had been 14-point favorites for the game against their NFC East rivals and led 20-3 at half-time, but three second-half touchdowns from the Giants made it a tighter game than many had expected.

The Lions clinched their first NFC North title since 1993 by beating divisional rivals the Minnesota Vikings 30-24. They are eighth in the betting for the NFL Championship at +1600 odds.

The Los Angeles Rams remain a team to watch in the NFC after improving their record to 8-7 with a 30-22 win over the New Orleans Saints in the first game of Week 16. They are currently the sixth seed in the conference and on course for a wild-card meeting with their former QB Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions.

The Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all improved their chances of making the playoffs by winning in Week 16, while the Chicago Bears (6-9) kept their season alive with a 27-16 home win over the Arizona Cardinals.

The Buccaneers' picked up their fourth-straight win, 30-12 over the Jaguars, to keep their noses ahead in the NFC South and they are now -500 to win the division having been available at -150 last week. The Saints are at +600 odds with the Falcons out to +800 despite a much-improved performance to beat the Colts 29-10.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalized service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet $1 & Get $365 in Bonus Bets

Join Now

Deposit required. Bonus Bet winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply.