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NFL playoff picture: What does Steelers-Panthers result mean for AFC and NFC standings

The Steelers face the Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Results Update: The Steelers secured the 24-16 win over the Panthers. They move to 6-8, but remain in last place in the AFC North.

The Panthers are unable to get a leg up in their divisional race and fall into a realm of tiebreakers with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints for second place in the division. They need a Buccaneers loss Sunday afternoon to stay in the divisional hunt.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will hit the road to meet the Carolina Panthers today at 1 p.m. ET on CBS. The Panthers are on a two-game win streak and enters this game as a 2.5-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Both teams are 5-8 heading into this Week 15 matchup and while it may not seem like it, there are playoff implications for this showdown. We’ll go over them below.

Panthers playoff picture

Believe it or not, Carolina is sitting just one game behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South and are still very much alive for the division title. A victory today would allow the Panthers to keep pace with the Bucs while a loss would put them behind the eight-ball, although it wouldn’t outright eliminate them.

Steelers playoff picture

Pittsburgh still has a minuscule chance at making the playoffs, but the margins are extremely thin. A win keeps the Steelers alive in the playoff hunt while they will be eliminated with any of the following scenarios:

Loss + Patriots win
Loss + Jets win + Chargers win/tie
Loss + Chargers win + Raiders tie

Tiebreaker implications

A Carolina victory would improve its non-conference record to 2-3, which would give it a leg up on Tampa Bay in that tiebreaker category.