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They would surely trade it for the Lombardi Trophy, but the Philadelphia Eagles got some revenge on the Kansas City Chiefs with a 21-17 victory in Monday’s Super Bowl rematch.
Philadelphia overcame a 10-point halftime deficit with two Jalen Hurts rushing touchdowns and a strong performance from its defense down the stretch. It also didn’t hurt that Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped a potential go-ahead touchdown on the Chiefs’ final possession on a perfectly placed ball from Patrick Mahomes.
Now all eyes turn toward the stretch run of the 2023 season, and the Chiefs are no longer atop the AFC playoff picture.
That spot goes to the Baltimore Ravens, while the Eagles secured their spot atop the NFC standings thanks to the dramatic win.
There may eventually be another Super Bowl matchup between Kansas City and Philadelphia down the line, but the AFC runs through Baltimore for the time being. With that in mind, here is a look at the full standings going into the Thanksgiving slate:
1. Baltimore Ravens (8-3, first-round bye)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, tiebreaker over Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins) vs. 7. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3, tiebreaker over Miami Dolphins) vs. 6. Houston Texans (6-4, tiebreaker over Pittsburgh Steelers)
4. Miami Dolphins (7-3) vs. 5. Cleveland Browns (7-3)
1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1, first-round bye)
2. Detroit Lions (8-2) vs. 7. Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
3. San Francisco 49ers (7-3) vs. 6. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
4. New Orleans Saints (5-5) vs. 5. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
While the race for the first-round bye that comes with the No. 1 seed and the final playoff spot that comes with the No. 7 seed generate much of the attention, the battle for the No. 5 seed in the NFC will also be important this year.
That is because the No. 5 seed will likely face the NFC South champion in the first round while the Nos. 6 and 7 seeds will likely be facing some combination of the Eagles, Detroit Lions or San Francisco 49ers.
At this point, matching up with an NFC South team is the clearest path to a playoff win.
Someone has to win the division that features zero teams above .500 and two 4-6 teams in the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers well within striking distance of the 5-5 New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans is dealing with injury concerns with Derek Carr, Marshon Lattimore and Michael Thomas and has been anything but consistent throughout the campaign. Much of the NFL world would surely expect a win for a wild-card team such as the Dallas Cowboys, even if that team has to go on the road.
One of the biggest questions on the AFC side is whether the Pittsburgh Steelers can hold off challengers for the final wild-card spot.
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The 5-5 Cincinnati Bengals may be done with Joe Burrow out for the season, but the 5-5 Denver Broncos have won four in a row with Russell Wilson playing better. The 5-5 Indianapolis Colts are riding a two-game winning streak of their own with a lighter stretch against the Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Burrow-less Bengals in the immediate future.
And then there are the 6-5 Buffalo Bills, who have not lived up to expectations but still have Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs leading the way.
Buffalo had realistic Super Bowl aspirations coming into the season and still has the talent to challenge the league’s top teams, but it is on the outside of the playoff picture with its next three against the Eagles, Chiefs and Cowboys.
The Steelers have been outgained in total yardage every single game this season but are somehow still 6-4 and could be in the driver’s seat with another couple wins given Buffalo’s schedule, especially if the Broncos and Colts regress some during the stretch run.