Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023

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USATSI

After 17 weeks of football, the 2022 NFL season comes down to this. So which teams are officially still fighting for playoff spots as we approach Week 18? And how do each of them actually clinch a trip to the postseason? We’re so glad you asked. Below you’ll find an updated rundown of all the latest clinching scenarios for the remaining open playoff spots:

One more thing: The AFC scenarios are subject to change with the NFL postponing the Bills and Bengals game Monday night following the on-field collapse of Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin. Focused on Hamlin’s health, the league has not yet made a decision about the Bills-Bengals matchup as of Wednesday evening. Scenarios will change based on if the game is continued or cancelled altogether. The scenarios below assume the Bills and Bengals will resume their showdown.

AFC scenarios

No. 1 seed (bye + home-field advantage)

Chiefs clinch with any of the following:

  • Win + 1 Bills loss
  • 2 Bills losses + Bengals loss

Bills clinch with any of the following:

  • 2 wins
  • Win at Bengals + Chiefs loss
  • Win vs. Patriots + Chiefs and Bengals lose in Week 18

Bengals clinch with any of the following:

AFC South title

  • Jaguars (8-8) clinch with: win/tie vs. Titans
  • Titans (7-9) clinch with: win at Jaguars

AFC North title

  • Bengals (11-4) clinch with: win vs. Ravens or win/tie vs. Bills

No. 7 seed wild card

  • Patriots (8-8) clinch with: win at Bills OR Dolphins loss vs. Jets AND Steelers loss vs. Browns AND Jaguars win vs. Titans
  • Dolphins (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Jets AND Patriots loss at Bills
  • Steelers (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Browns AND Dolphins loss vs. Jets AND Patriots loss at Bills
  • Jaguars (8-8) clinch with: loss vs. Titans AND losses by Dolphins, Patriots and Steelers

NFC scenarios

No. 1 seed (bye + home-field advantage)

Eagles clinch with any of the following:

49ers clinch with any of the following:

  • Win vs. Cardinals + Eagles loss vs. Giants

Cowboys clinch with any of the following:

  • Win at Commanders + Eagles loss vs. Giants + 49ers loss/tie vs. Cardinals

NFC East title

  • Eagles (13-3) clinch with: win vs. Giants OR Cowboys loss at Commanders
  • Cowboys (12-4) clinch with: win at Commanders AND Eagles loss vs. Giants

No. 7 seed wild card

  • Packers (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Lions
  • Lions (8-8) clinch with: win at Packers AND Seahawks loss/tie vs. Rams, OR tie vs. Packers AND Seahawks loss vs. Rams, OR tie vs. Packers AND Rams-Seahawks tie AND Commanders win vs. Cowboys
  • Seahawks (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Rams AND Packers loss/tie vs. Lions, OR tie vs. Rams AND Lions-Packers tie AND Commanders loss/tie vs. Cowboys

For a complete look at playoff standings, scenarios and projected first-round matchups across the entire NFL, check out our updated postseason forecast right here.





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