SportsPulse: Nick Foles did it again, the Bears did something they haven’t done in awhile and the Steelers look like they will get it done in the end. Trysta Krick breaks down the top storylines in Week 15.

Here’s how the NFL playoff picture looks after Week 15’s Sunday games.

x — 1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3):
AFC West leader. Does collapse against Chargers portend a bigger one? Chiefs retain inside track to home-field advantage because their division record (4-1) is better than Bolts’ (3-2). But one more slip-up opens door for Chargers to move into No. 1 spot while dropping Kansas City to fifth.

2. Houston Texans (10-4): AFC South leader. Look who’s suddenly in line for a week off in postseason. Will wrap up division with one more win.

3. New England Patriots (9-5): AFC East leader. Loss in Pittsburgh means failure to clinch division. Worse, veteran group must now have to come to grips with likelihood it may not get the bye that the team has become so accustomed to. Of the 15 times Bill Belichick and Co. have reached postseason since 2001, they’ve only failed to get a bye three times, and never since 2009. The Patriots have not reached the Super Bowl under Belichick and Tom Brady without being off during wild-card round.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1): AFC North leader. Can’t understate this win. Pittsburgh finally won meaningful game against New England and, more importantly, maintained division lead. A loss would have knocked Steelers from playoff field.

x — 5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3): Wild card No. 1. Back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. They host Ravens on Saturday and beating them would keep pressure on Chiefs, whose next game is in Seattle’s unfriendly confines.

6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6): Wild card No. 2. Rookie QB Lamar Jackson — you can now, officially, call him The Man — maintained their late-season surge. But objects in rear-view mirror are closer than they appear. Ravens keep this spot because their record in AFC games (6-4) is a shade better than Indianapolis’ (6-5).

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6): Don’t qualify for postseason at this point.
8. Tennessee Titans (8-6): Don’t qualify for postseason at this point.
9. Miami Dolphins (7-7): Don’t qualify for postseason at this point.
10. Cleveland Browns (6-7-1): Don’t qualify for postseason at this point.

y — 1. New Orleans Saints (11-2):
NFC South champions. Chicago’s win means they can’t claim a bye this week.

y — 2. Los Angeles Rams (11-3): NFC West champions. They’re now 3-3 after that 8-0 start. Another loss would give Bears opportunity to pass them in pursuit of bye.

y — 3. Chicago Bears (10-4): NFC North champions. Division champs and playoff bound for first time since 2010. Bears’ turnaround means for 15th time in past 16 NFL seasons, at least one team has gone from worst to first after a last-place finish in previous year.

4. Dallas Cowboys (8-6): NFC East leader. Not a surprise they lost in Indianapolis, but who foresaw a blowout by way of shutout? Dallas blew a chance to clinch division and might have locked itself into a potentially tough wild-card matchup with the Seahawks, who handled the Cowboys in Seattle in Week 3.

5. Seattle Seahawks (8-6): Wild card No. 1. Surprising stumble against Richard Sherman’s 49ers on Sunday cost them chance to sew up a spot. Seattle still in relatively good shape, but visiting Chiefs represent tough assignment in Week 16.

6. Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1): Wild card No. 2. New offense looked pretty good and kept them ahead of pursuers. 

7. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7): Don’t qualify for postseason at this point.
8. Washington Redskins (7-7): Don’t qualify for postseason at this point.
9. Carolina Panthers (6-7): Don’t qualify for postseason at this point.

x — clinched playoff berth
y — clinched division


Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis


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