NFL Playoffs: Standings, Picture and Clinched Berths

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Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs as New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) and outside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) and cornerback Corey White (24) defend in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL playoffs are beginning to take shape as several teams clinched berths in the postseason Sunday. Make sure to check out the NFL’s changes to the Week 17 schedule, which includes several alterations to ensure that nearly every Week 17 game is competitive and no team is resting their starters.

Here are the latest standings and berths clinched:

*In the NFC, the New Orleans Saints’ loss dropped them from  second to sixth in the NFC playoff race by losing to the Carolina Panthers, who will clinch the NFC South with a win next week over the Atlanta Falcons.

*The Dallas Cowboys’ win against the Washington Redskins keeps them in the fight to win the NFC East as they try to catch the Philadelphia Eagles, and the NFC East will be decided on Sunday Night Football in Week 17

*In the AFC, the Denver Broncos clinched the AFC West by beating the Houston Texans, which, combined with a loss by the Kansas Chiefs to the Indianapolis Colts, ensures=d Denver will end the season at least tied in the standings with Kansas City, thus giving Denver the division.

*The Cincinnati Bengals’  clinched a playoff berth with their win over the Minnesota Vikings  because the Miami Dolphins also lost to the Buffalo Bills. 

*The Detroit Lions have been eliminated from playoff contention with today’s loss to the New York Giants.

*The Pittsburgh Steelers’ win over the Green Bay Packers plus a loss by the Bears on Sunday Night Football means the NFC North will come down to the Week 17 matchup between them.