NFL playoff clinching scenarios for 49ers, Colts, Steelers & more in Week 18

10 months ago 131

We have just one more week to sort out the 2022 NFL playoff picture, and there are still many things to be decided.

The AFC has been a logjam all year long, and it will come to a head in Week 18. There are five teams still vying for two remaining playoff spots on that side of the bracket, as the Colts, Chargers, Raiders, Ravens and Steelers all have a chance to get it. Either the Chargers or Raiders, who are squaring off in Week 18, figure to get in while the Colts have the inside track to the other spot.

Additionally, four teams have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC — the Titans remain likely to earn it but don't count the others out — while the AFC East winner will need to be decided this week as well. So, there will be a lot of potential shuffling in the AFC.

The same can't be said of the NFC. The NFC West is still up for grabs and so is one Wild Card spot, but that's about it. The final Wild Card will come down to the 49ers and Saints while the Cardinals will look to catch the Rams in their divisional race. That said, both have already made the playoffs, so they aren't looking at a win-and-in scenario or anything of that ilk.

Therew ill be plenty of drama and potential chaos during the final week of the 2021 NFL regular season. Here are all of the NFL playoff clinching scenarios for teams that can guarantee themselves a postseason berth in Week 18. And also, a complete look at the NFL playoff picture.

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NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 17

  • AFC

Tennessee Titans (11-5)

Remaining game: at Texans

Tennessee clinches AFC's No. 1 seed with:

  1. Titans win OR
  2. Titans tie AND Chiefs loss or tie OR
  3. Chiefs loss AND Bengals loss or tie AND Patriots loss or tie OR
  4. Chiefs loss AND Bengals loss or tie AND Bills win

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)

Remaining game: at Broncos

Chiefs clinches AFC's No. 1 seed with:

  1. Chiefs win and Titans loss or tie OR
  2. Chiefs tie and Titans loss

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

Remaining game: at Browns

Cincinnati clinches AFC's No. 1 seed with:

  1. Bengals win AND Titans loss AND Chiefs loss AND Patriots loss or tie OR
  2. Bengals win AND Titans loss AND Chiefs loss AND Bills win

Buffalo Bills (10-6)

Remaining game: vs. Jets

Buffalo clinches AFC East division title with:

  1. Bills win OR
  2. Patriots loss OR
  3. Bills tie and Patriots tie

New England Patriots (10-6)

Remaining game: at Dolphins

New England clinches AFC's No. 1 seed with:

  1. Patriots win AND Bills loss or tie AND Chiefs loss AND Titans loss

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

  1. Patriots win AND Bills loss or tie OR
  2. Patriots tie AND Bills loss

Indianapolis Colts (9-7)

Remaining game: at Jaguars

Indianapolis clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. Colts win or tie OR
  2. Chargers loss AND Ravens/Steelers tie OR
  3. Chargers loss AND Steelers loss AND Dolphins win

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

Remaining game: at Raiders

Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. Chargers win or tie

Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)

Remaining game: vs. Chargers

Las Vegas clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. Raiders win OR
  2. Raiders tie AND Colts loss OR
  3. Colts loss AND Steelers loss or tie

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)

Remaining game: at Ravens

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. Steelers win AND Colts loss AND Raiders/Chargers does not end in a tie

Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

Remaining game: vs. Steelers

Baltimore clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. Ravens win AND Chargers loss AND Colts loss AND Dolphins loss or tie

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  • NFC

Los Angeles Rams (12-4)

Remaining game: vs. 49ers

Los Angeles clinches NFC West division title with:

  1. Rams win or tie OR
  2. Cardinals loss or tie

Arizona Cardinals (11-5)

Remaining game: vs. Seahawks

Arizona clinches NFC West division title with:

  1. Cardinals with AND Rams loss

San Francisco 49ers (9-7)

Remaining game: at Rams

San Francisco clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. 49ers win or tie OR
  2. Saints loss or tie

New Orleans Saints (8-8)

Remaining game: at Falcons

New Orleans clinches a playoff berth with:

  1. Saints win AND 49ers loss

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NFL playoff picture 2021

Here's how the standings in both conferences break down entering Week 15, along with the other teams that are still in the playoff hunt. 

  • AFC

Seed Team Record Clinched
1. Tennessee Titans 11-5 Yes. (AFC South champions.)
2. Kansas City Chiefs 11-5 Yes. (AFC West champions.)
3. Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 Yes. (AFC North champions.)
4. Buffalo Bills 10-6 Yes. (Playoff berth.)
5. New England Patriots 10-6 Yes. (Playoff berth.)
6. Indianapolis Colts 9-7 N/a
7. Los Angeles Chargers 9-7 N/a

In the hunt: Las Vegas Raiders (9-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1), Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

  • NFC

Seed Team Record Clinched
1. Green Bay Packers 12-3 Yes. (NFC North champions.)
2. Los Angeles Rams 12-4 Yes. (Playoff berth.)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-4 Yes. (NFC South champions.)
4. Dallas Cowboys 11-5 Yes. (NFC East champions.)
5. Arizona Cardinals 11-5 Yes. (Playoff berth.)
6. San Francisco 49ers 9-7 N/a
7. Philadelphia Eagles 9-7 Yes. (Playoff berth.)

In the hunt: New Orleans Saints (8-8)

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