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NFL Playoff Picture Entering Week 18

The postseason continues to come into focus entering the final week of the regular season.

One week is left in the NFL regular season, and much remains in the air. Not only is there still one division title up for grabs, but two wild cards and both No. 1 seeds also remain unclaimed as well.

The NFL made the right call to suspend the Bills-Bengals game on Monday night when safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and had to be taken to the hospital, and they followed that up with Thursday's announcement that it won't be resumed. This means that Cincinnati has won the AFC North and the race for the conference's No. 1 seed could be decided by Saturday.

After last week, five more teams were eliminated from contention, and eight teams have a shot at claiming the final three playoff spots. According to FiveThirtyEight, they all have at least a 17 percent chance of making it. We've broken down the tiebreakers and clinching scenarios here.

AFC Playoff Picture

Current playoff matchups

No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (13-3, AFC West champions)
No. 2 Buffalo Bills (12-3, AFC East champions) vs. No. 7 New England Patriots (8-8)
No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals (11-4, AFC North champions) vs. No. 6 Baltimore Ravens (10-6, clinched playoff berth)
No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (10-7, clinched playoff berth)

The Chiefs can wrap up the No. 1 seed with a win on Saturday, while a loss gives the Bills a chance to leapfrog them with a victory over the Patriots. Meanwhile, the winner of the Jags-Titans game on Saturday will claim the AFC South, and New England can take the final wild card with a win or some serious luck with the rest of the contenders losing.

In the hunt

No. 8 Miami Dolphins (8-8)
No. 9 Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
No. 11 Tennessee Titans (7-9)

The tiebreakers for these teams are pretty easy to follow. A Patriots win eliminates the Dolphins and Steelers, and a Miami win eliminates Pittsburgh. The Titans can only get in by beating the Jaguars to claim the AFC South crown.


No. 10 New York Jets (7-9)
No. 12 Cleveland Browns (7-9)
No. 13 Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)
No. 14 Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1)
No. 15 Denver Broncos (4-12)
No. 16 Houston Texans (2-13-1)

The Jets and Raiders were officially eliminated with losses on Sunday, and both could undergo quarterback changes next year. The Raiders have already moved on from Derek Carr, whom they benched for Jarrett Stidham last week, and are expected to trade or release him in the coming weeks. Zach Wilson may not be long for New York either after a disastrous sophomore season.

NFC Playoff Picture

Current playoff matchups

No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles (13-3, clinched playoff berth)
No. 2 San Francisco 49ers (12-4, NFC West champions) vs. No. 7 Seattle Seahawks (8-8)
No. 3 Minnesota Vikings (12-4, NFC North champions) vs. No. 6 New York Giants (9-6-1, clinched playoff berth)
No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8, NFC South champions) vs. No. 5 Dallas Cowboys (12-4, clinched playoff berth)

The Eagles can finally secure the No. 1 seed with a win, while the 49ers can claim it with a win and Eagles loss. Dallas needs a win and losses from the Eagles and 49ers. Tampa Bay and New York are set in their seeds, while Seattle actually needs a Packers loss or tie to hold onto the seven seed.

In the hunt

No. 8 Detroit Lions (8-8)
No. 9 Green Bay Packers (8-8)

Despite currently being behind Seattle and Detroit, the Packers can secure a playoff spot with a win over the Lions on "Sunday Night Football." The NFL did not schedule Week 18 well, though, putting the Seahawks game before this matchup. If Seattle wins, Detroit will be eliminated, giving the Lions nothing to play for and potentially propelling the Packers to the playoffs.


No. 10 Washington Commanders (7-8-1)
No. 11 New Orleans Saints (7-9)
No. 12 Carolina Panthers (6-10)
No. 13 Atlanta Falcons (6-10)
No. 14 Los Angeles Rams (5-11)
No. 15 Arizona Cardinals (4-12)
No. 16 Chicago Bears (3-13)

The Commanders, Panthers, and Falcons will have nothing but draft position to play for in Week 18 after getting eliminated last week. Meanwhile, the Bears are in line for the No. 2 pick and could move up to first overall with a loss and a Texans win.

Key Games for Week 18

  • No. 8 Detroit Lions (8-8) vs. No. 9 Green Bay Packers (8-8) (SNF)
  • No. 11 Tennessee Titans (7-9) vs. No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) (Sat.)
  • No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) vs. No. 13 Las Vegas Raiders (6-10) (Sat.)
  • No. 7 New England Patriots (8-8) vs. No. 2 Buffalo Bills (12-3)
  • No. 6 Baltimore Ravens (10-6) vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)
  • No. 14 Los Angeles Rams vs. No. 7 Seattle Seahawks (8-8)
  • No. 10 New York Jets (7-9) vs. No. 8 Miami Dolphins (8-8)
  • No. 6 New York Giants (9-6-1) vs. No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
  • No. 12 Cleveland Browns (7-9) vs. No. 9 Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
  • No. 5 Dallas Cowboys (12-4) vs. No. 10 Washington Commanders (7-8-1)
  • No. 15 Arizona Cardinals (4-12) vs. No. 2 San Francisco 49ers (12-4)