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The final week of the 2022 NFL regular season is here, and it’s going to be a race to the finish as bubble teams get one last chance to punch their tickets to the postseason.
Week 18 kicked off with a matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday afternoon. Patrick Mahomes helped lead the Chiefs to a 31-13 victory over the already eliminated Raiders to lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The Jacksonville Jaguars then defeated the Tennessee Titans 20-16 to win the AFC South and clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 2017 season.
One playoff spot remains in each conference. The remaining schedule for Week 18 is set to begin on Sunday, so let’s take a look at the updated standings and clinch scenarios.
- Kansas City Chiefs: 14-3 (visited AFC West)
- Buffalo Bills: 12-3 (tied for AFC East)
- Cincinnati Bengals: 11-4 (fortified playoff spot)
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 9-8 (consolidated AFC South)
- Los Angeles Chargers: 10-6 (clinched playoff spot, tiebreaker over BAL on conference record)
- Baltimore Ravens: 10-6 (fortified playoff spot)
- New England Patriots: 8-8 (in the chase, tiebreaker over MIA on division record, tiebreaker over PIT on head-to-head)
- Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (in the hunt, tiebreaker over PIT on head-to-head)
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-8 (in the hunt)
- New York Jets: 7-9 (eliminated)
- Cleveland Browns: 7-9 (eliminated)
- Tennessee Titans: 7-10 (eliminated)
- Las Vegas Raiders: 6-11 (eliminated)
- Indianapolis Colts: 4-11-1 (eliminated)
- Denver Broncos: 4-12 (eliminated)
- Houston Texans: 2-13-1 (eliminated)
The NFC table
- Philadelphia Eagles: 13-3 (fortified playoff spot)
- San Francisco 49ers: 12-4 (took NFC West, tiebreaker over MIN on conference record)
- Minnesota Vikings: 12-4 (consolidated NFC North)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-8 (consolidated NFC South)
- Dallas Cowboys: 12-4 (clinched playoff spot)
- New York Giants: 9-6-1 (clinched playoff spot)
- Seattle Seahawks: 8-8 (in the hunt, tiebreaker over DET on head-to-head)
- Detroit Lions: 8-8 (in the hunt, tiebreaker over GB on head-to-head)
- Green Bay Packers: 8-8 (in the hunt)
- Washington Commanders: 7-8-1 (eliminated)
- New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (eliminated)
- Carolina Panthers: 6-10 (eliminated)
- Atlanta Falcons: 6-10 (eliminated)
- Los Angeles Rams: 5-11 (eliminated)
- Arizona Cardinals: 4-12 (eliminated)
- Chicago Bears: 3-13 (eliminated)
The No. 7 seed in the NFC is still up for grabs, but the No. 1 seed is also up for grabs this weekend.
The Philadelphia Eagles have held the NFC’s top seed for much of the 2022 campaign, but the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys remain in contention for the conference crown.
The Eagles can clinch the No. 1 seed, including a first-round bye and home-field advantage, with:
- A win or tie against the New York Giants.
- A Cowboy loss or tie against the Washington Commanders.
- A 49ers loss or tie against the Arizona Cardinals.
San Francisco can seal the No. 1 seed with a win against the Cardinals and an Eagles loss against the Giants.
Dallas has the toughest road to the top seed, needing a win against the Commanders, an Eagles loss against the Giants and a 49ers loss or tie against the Cardinals.
As for the No. 7 seed in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers will gain with a win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers is expected to lead the franchise to a fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
The Lions can win the final seed with:
- A win against the Packers AND a Seattle Seahawks loss/tie against the Los Angeles Rams.
- A tie against the Packers AND a Seahawks loss against the Rams.
- Packers tie AND Seahawks-Rams tie AND Commanders win over Cowboys.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, can seal the No. 7 seed with:
- A win against the Rams AND a Packers loss/tie against the Lions.
- Tie vs. Rams AND tie Packers-Lions AND Commanders loss/tie vs. Cowboys.
As for the AFC, the NFL has announced that the Jan. 2 game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals has been canceled after Bills Safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the first quarter, resulting in a suspension of the game.
With the game ruled a no contest, the Chiefs have locked up the No. 1 seed after their 31-13 win over the Raiders on Saturday. The Bills can clinch No. 2 with a win against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
The NFL also approved the following scenarios for the 2023 postseason after the Bills-Bengals cancellation:
Adam Schefter @Adam Schefter
A neutral AFC Championship Game site is now possible, according to the NFL: pic.twitter.com/5gmd0drq7q
Tom Pelissero @Tom Pelissero
What’s at stake this weekend:
If #Chiefs wins and < a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills lose, Kansas City is the 1 seed. AFCCG in KC.
Cincinnati is out of contention for the No. 1 seed. The Bengals could finish as the No. 2 seed if they beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and the Bills lose to the Patriots, though it would come down to a strength-of-victory tiebreaker.
There are four teams in the running to win the No. 7 seed: Patriots, Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Patriots can clinch the AFC’s last seed with:
- A win against the Bills.
- A Dolphins loss to the Jets AND a Steelers loss to the Cleveland Browns AND a Jaguars win over the Titans.
The Dolphins can claim the No. 7 seed with a win over the Jets and a Patriots loss against the Bills.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, can clinch the final seed with a win over the Browns, a Dolphins loss against the Jets and a Patriots loss against the Bills.