For the first time in NFL history: Week 18.
There's a few more shufflings that could take place this weekend, but the NFL must be glad with the way the lengthened season worked out: Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, there are still several playoff spots left open in the AFC and one in the NFC, with divisional matchups
There are a few win-and-in scenarios in the AFC: The Chargers and Raiders, though, are in the only winner-take-all game in the league come Sunday night. Elsewhere, the 49ers have to knock off a division rival to get a shot at playoff contention.
Here's how the playoff picture looks entering Week 18:
NFL playoff picture: AFC projections
- No. 1 seed: Tennessee Titans (11-5)
Games remaining: at Texans
The Titans just have to beat the lowly Texans in Week 18 to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference. That's a tremendous coaching job by Mike Vrabel, who's had to help his team navigate injuries to Derrick Henry, AJ Brown and Julio Jones through the season.
- No. 2 seed: Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
Games remaining: at Broncos
The Chiefs can reclaim the No. 1 seed with a win and a Titans loss. If not, they'll settle into the No. 2 seed in the conference. Their eight-game win streak came to an end at the hands of the Bengals and Ja'Marr Chase, but they still scored 31 points in the effort.
- No. 3 seed: Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
Game remaining: at Browns
The Bengals handed the Chiefs a big L courtesy of the Joe Burrow-Ja'Marr Chase connection. Chase put together a historic performance vs. KC's defense, going for 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, an effort that helped the Bengals clinch the AFC North. That's Cincy's first since 2015.
- No. 4 seed: Buffalo Bills (10-6)
Games remaining: vs. Jets
The Bills have a chance to lock up the AFC East with a win over the Jets on Sunday. They should take care of business, even if New York had an admirable performance vs. the Buccaneers in Week 17.
- No. 5 seed: New England Patriots (10-6)
Games remaining: at Dolphins
It's kind of hard to believe that the Patriots still have an outside shot at earning the No. 1 seed on Sunday, though they're going to need some help. Mac Jones and the Pats steamrolled the Jaguars in Week 17, so they're still feeling good heading into the season finale.
- No. 6 seed: Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
Games remaining: vs. Jaguars
The formula is simple: It's win and in for the Colts. They have something of an easy path, too, playing the lowly Jaguars on the road. The Jaguars, with the No. 1 overall pick on the line, have absolutely nothing to play for.
- No. 7 seed: Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
Games remaining: at Raiders
The Chargers' up-and-down season comes down to one more game, and all they need to do is, well, win or tie. It might be a daunting task: They're .500 since their Week 7 Bye week. That's no guarantee.
NFL playoff picture: NFC projections
- No. 1 seed: Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Games remaining: at Lions
The Packers have locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC, earning homefield advantage and a first-round bye. This game could mean more for the Lions, who are "playing" for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
- No. 2 seed: Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
Games remaining: vs. 49ers
The Rams overcame an uneven Matthew Stafford start to down the Ravens in Week 17. Now at 12-4, the NFC West is still on the table for LA heading into the final game of the season.
- No. 3 seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
Games remaining: vs. Panthers
The Buccaneers were taken to the limit vs. the Jets in Week 17, but Tom Brady had a classic Tom Brady drive to beat his old foe late. The Bucs have the division all locked up.
- No. 4 seed: Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
Games remaining: at Eagles
The Cowboys were on the business end of a missed fumble call late in their matchup vs. the Cardinals in Week 17. That's a tough pill to swallow for the Cowboys, but Mike McCarthy's poor timeout usage reared its ugly head again. Dallas would like to avoid that when they make the dance.
- No. 5 seed: Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
Games remaining: vs. Seahawks
A big road win vs. the Cowboys kept the Cardinals in the NFC West chase. They're going to need a win and a Rams loss to capture a division crown that looked to be guaranteed to the Valley of the Sun earlier in the season.
- No. 6 seed: San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
Games remaining: at Rams
A massive Week 18 game awaits the 49ers: They play the Rams, which could play into their favor. The 49ers haven't lost to the Rams since 2018. Trey Lance (or Jimmy Garoppolo) has his work cut out for him.
- No. 7 seed: Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)
Games remaining: vs. Cowboys
What a strange season it's been for Nick Sirianni and the Eagles, Part 17. The Eagles are already in the playoffs, which is something of a miracle given the
Current NFL playoff picture
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.
|1.||Tennessee Titans||11-5||Yes. (AFC South champions.)|
|2.||Kansas City Chiefs||12-5||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.)|
|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)
|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||9-8||Yes. (Playoff berth.)|
In the hunt: New Orleans Saints (8-8)