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NFL standings: Updated AFC, NFC playoff picture for Week 18 of 2022 season

Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence
nfl standings: updated afc, nfc playoff picture for week 18

The 2022 NFL regular season is shortened to a final week in 2023.

Although the playoff picture for AFC and NFC won’t be finalized until Sunday, it’s time to look at the updated standings and find out which teams would be in the playoffs if the season ends before week 18.

Here’s a breakdown of the NFL’s latest playoff field and seedings, as well as a look at the contenders poised to join the postseason party:

POWER RANKINGS: Chiefs, 49ers pass Eagles, Bills as new 1-2; Packers, Steelers, Patriots cling to life in Week 18

NFL rankings for week 18

AFC playoff image

1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3), champions, AFC West. The Chiefs, along with home advantage and a lonely bye, will secure first place with a win over the Raiders on Saturday. They can drop to No. 2 with a loss to the Raiders if the Bills win on Sunday.

2. Buffalo Bills (12-3), Champions, AFC East. The Bills didn’t lose control of the No. 1 after their Week 17 sit-down with the Bengals going into Week 18. They can only return to that position with a Chiefs loss and a win over the Patriots. They could drop to 3rd place with a Bengals loss and a win due to a tiebreaker in the joint games.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4), champions, AFC North. The Bengals can’t become No. 1 again with a game against the Chiefs, but with no result in Week 17 they are also in position to clinch the division title before playing the second-placed Ravens. The Bengals can jump over the Bills to No. 2 but can’t fall lower than that seed.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8), first place, AFC South. The Jaguars will win the division title with a win or a tie against the Titans at home on Saturday night. They can also go into the playoffs with a loss as a No. 7 seed wild card if the Patriots, Dolphins and Steelers all lose their games and all go down to 8-9 as well.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-6), second place, AFC West. The Chargers remain in the top wildcard position with a win over the Broncos on Sunday or a loss to the Ravens. They could slip down to 6th with a loss and a Ravens win.

6. Baltimore Ravens (10-6), second place, AFC North. The Ravens can’t seem to catch up with the Bengals in the division race. They can still move up a spot with a win over the Bengals, who could rest key players, and a loss to the Chargers.

7. New England Patriots (8-8), second place, AFC East. The Patriots will make the playoffs again on Sunday with a win over the Bills as the final wild card. You can also come in with a loss, but in that case the Dolphins and Steelers would have to lose and the Jaguars win.

Who’s on the hunt?

8. Miami Dolphins (8-8), Third Place, AFC East
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8), Third Place, AFC North
11. Tennessee Titans (7-9), second place, AFC South

The Dolphins would come in with a win over the Jets and a loss for the Patriots to the Bills. The Steelers would come in with a win over the Browns and losses to the Dolphins and Patriots. The Titans can only come in as AFC South champions if they beat the Jaguars.

Who is outside?

10. New York Jets (7-9), last place, AFC East
12. Cleveland Browns (7-9), last place, AFC North
13. Las Vegas Raiders (6-10), Third Place, AFC West
14. Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1), Third Place, AFC South
15. Denver Broncos (4-12), last place, AFC West
16. Houston Texans (2-13-1), last place, AFC South

The Jets and Raiders were the latest teams to go out with their losses, while the Browns were the only ones in that group to win in Week 17. The Texans will win the No. 1 draft pick in 2023 by a loss or a tie a Bears win.

NFL MOCK DRAFT: CJ Stroud to Colts under 7 Georgia, Ohio State picks in Round 1 after Alabama duo goes 1-2

NFC playoff image

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3), first place, NFC East. The Eagles, who are expected to have Jalen Hurts back as quarterback, will win the division with a win over the Giants, who have nothing to play as No. 6. You can also win the division with a loss and a Cowboys loss. The Eagles can fall 2nd behind the 49ers or 5th behind the Cowboys, but they can’t fall 3rd behind the Vikings.

2. San Francisco 49ers (12-4), champions, NFC West. The 49ers can still make the top seed with a win, an Eagles loss, and a Cowboys win. That would give them the league-record tiebreaker over the Cowboys for No. 1. They would stay here with a win if the Eagles win and a loss if the Vikings lose. They can drop to 3rd place by losing to the Cardinals if the Vikings beat the Bears.

3. Minnesota Vikings (12-4), champions, NFC North. The Vikings can’t go No. 1 with a win because their 13-4 record would tie with either the Eagles or Cowboys as NFC East champions and the 49ers. They lost neck and neck to both the Eagles and Cowboys and lost the conference-record tiebreaker to the 49ers. They can return to No. 2 with a win and a loss against the 49ers.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8), champions, NFC South. The Buccaneers secured the division with their home win over the Panthers in Week 17. They’re trapped in this final division-winning seed no matter what happens on Sunday.

Dak Prescott

5. Dallas Cowboys (12-4), second place, NFC East. The Cowboys can win the division with a win over the Commanders and an Eagles and would grab the No. 1 in this scenario should the 49ers also lose. They’re going to stay here with a loss to the Commanders or a win for the Eagles.

6. New York Giants (9-6-1), Third Place, NFC East. The Giants secured their wildcard spot behind the Eagles and Cowboys with their home win over the Colts in Week 17. They joined that second wildcard no matter what happens on Sunday.

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-8), second place, NFC West. The Seahawks can secure the final wildcard spot by beating the Rams at home if the Lions beat the Packers Sunday night and give them the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to a Week 4 in Detroit. The Seahawks can also come in with a tie should the Lions and Packers also get a tie.

Who’s on the hunt?

8. Detroit Lions (8-8), second place, NFC North
8. Green Bay Packers (8-8), Third Place, NFC North

The Lions can only secure the final wildcard spot with a win or draw against the Packers and a Seahawks loss. They must have a better record than the Seahawks and an even record with the Packers.

The Packers can secure the last wildcard spot with a win over the Lions, which would give them the conference-recorded tiebreaker against the Seahawks. The Packers would be eliminated with a loss or a tie.

Who is outside?

10. Washington Commanders (7-8-1), last place, NFC East
11. New Orleans Saints (7-9), last place, NFC South
12. Carolina Panthers (6-10), Third Place, NFC South
13. Atlanta Falcons (6-10), last place, NFC South
14. Los Angeles Rams (5-11), Third Place, NFC West
15. Arizona Cardinals (4-12), last place, NFC West
16. Chicago Bears (3-13), last place, NFC North

The Commanders, Saints and Panthers were the last three teams eliminated in Week 17. The Bears can be #1 overall pick in the 2023 draft with a loss and a win for the Texans.

Written By

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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