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What Falcons win over Colts in Week 16 means for NFL playoff picture in NFC and AFC

The Atlanta Falcons beat the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16 of the NFL season. We break down what it means for the NFC and AFC playoff pictures.

Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Atlanta Falcons hands the ball off to Tyler Allgeier #25 during the second quarter in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 24, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons held strong at home for a big win over the Indianapolis Colts, 29-10. Atlanta moves to 7-8, while Indy falls to 8-7. Let’s take a look at what this result does to both the NFC and AFC playoff pictures.

Atlanta moves into a tie with the New Orleans Saints for second place in the NFC South. The Falcons currently own the tiebreaker with New Orleans due to the head-to-head victory in Week 12. The Falcons will remain outside the NFC playoffs, but it gets much closer if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon. Tampa Bay barely holds the tiebreaker over Atlanta as they split head-to-head matchups, and the Bucs are currently 3-1 in the division compared to 3-2 for the Falcons. Atlanta will be on the road against the Chicago Bears in Week 17 and against the New Orleans Saints in Week 18.

Indianapolis dropped to third place in the AFC South but bounced back to No. 2 with the Houston Texans’ loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Colts will retain the No. 7 seed heading into Week 17. Cleveland is 10-5 in the No. 5 seed, and the Buffalo Bills are 9-6 in the No. 6 seed. Indianapolis owns the tiebreaker over the Texans based on the head-to-head win in Week 2. The Colts play the Las Vegas Raiders next week and the Houston Texans in Week 18.