The 2022 NFL season comes to an end this week, and the playoffs are right around the corner. NFL schedulers did their best (good try, guys!) to keep things meaningful, with each team facing a divisional rival in hopes of creating some juicy NFL drama. Of course, things never go the way they're intended though, right?
Who has something on the line in Week 18? Let's dive into which teams have clinched an NFL playoff spot, and who's left in contention for the final spots. Buckle up for some confusing NFL playoff math!
— Kansas City Chiefs (13-3): They can clinch the AFC's No. 1 seed (and first-round bye) with a win and Bills loss this week.
— Buffalo Bills (12-3): The Bills can clinch the No. 1 seed in Week 18 with a win over the Patriots PLUS a loss from the Chiefs and Bengals, regardless of whether or not their game against the Bengals is rescheduled.
— Cincinnati Bengals (11-4): They have clinched a playoff spot, but will be playing the Ravens this week for the AFC North title. They do still remain in play for the No. 1 seed with a Week 18 win over the Ravens, a Chiefs loss and a win over the Bills (assuming the game is rescheduled).
— LA Chargers (10-6): They have clinched a Wild Card spot and can finish no lower than the six seed.
— Baltimore Ravens (10-6): They have clinched a playoff spot, and if the season ended today would hold the No. 6 seed. However, a win over the Bengals would secure them the AFC North title and the third seed (including home-field advantage in the Wild Card round).
— Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8): If the season ended today, the Jaguars would have the No. 4 seed by virtue of leading the AFC South. They'll play the Titans for the AFC South title this week and clinch their playoff spot with a win or tie.
— Tennessee Titans (7-9): With a win over the Jaguars, the Titans would take the No. 4 seed as AFC South champions and eliminate Jacksonville from the playoffs.
— New England Patriots (8-8): If the season ended today, the Patriots would hold the No. 7 seed. To keep a hold on it, they'd either need a Week 18 win over the Bills OR wins from the Jets, Browns and Jaguars.
— Miami Dolphins (8-8): In order to clinch a Wild Card spot, the Dolphins would need to beat the Jets, and need the Bills to beat the Patriots.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): In order to clinch a Wild Card spot, the Steelers need a win over the Browns, the Jets to beat the Dolphins AND the Bills to take down the Patriots.
— Philadelphia Eagles (13-3): The NFC East title remains up for grabs, so there's potential remains that the Eagles finish as a Wild Card team, despite their 8-0 start this year. Regardless, they're in the playoffs.
— San Francisco 49ers (12-4): They have clinched with NFC West title and can finish no lower than the third seed. They remain in play for the No. 1 seed, with the potential to earn the first-round bye with a win and an Eagles loss.
— Minnesota Vikings (12-4): They have clinched the NFC North title and can finish no lower than the third seed.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8): They have clinched the NFC South title and are locked into the fourth seed, regardless of the game's outcome in Week 18.
— Dallas Cowboys (12-4): The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East title with a win over the Commanders and Eagles loss in Week 18. Incredibly, they remain in play for the No. 1 seed, too, and could clinch a first-round bye with a win AND losses from the 49ers and Eagles!
— Seattle Seahawks (8-8): If the season ended today, the Seahawks would have the No. 7 seed. However, they'll need a win over the Rams AND a loss from the Packers to keep a playoff spot with one caveat. If both their game against the Rams and the Packers-Lions game ended in a tie, they'd clinch with a loss or tie from the Commanders.
— Green Bay Packers (8-8): The Packers are the only fringe team with the ability to control their own destiny in Week 18. If they win over the Lions, they're in as the seven seed.
— Detroit Lions (8-8): The Lions need a win over the Packers AND a Seahawks loss/tie to clinch the seven seed.