NFL Week 18 Playoff Picture and Clinching Scenarios

NFL Week 18 Playoff Picture and Clinching Scenarios

We are entering the conclusion of the NFL regular season. We’ve landed on Week 18 for the first time in NFL history.

The extra week of the regular season means an extra week of betting on NFL football. The first 17 weeks didn’t do much to decide the fate of several teams.

There are three spots in the NFL that have yet to be decided for the playoffs. It’s a crowded race for the final seeds, especially in the AFC, where five teams are vying for two positions.

The Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens are still statistically alive.

The Colts and Jaguars game carries massive implications, while the Chargers and Raiders on Sunday Night Football are likely winner-take-all, or maybe not.

If the Colts beat the Jags, then the Chargers and Raiders will essentially have a play-in game for the playoffs. Crazily enough, if the Jags win, the Chargers and Raiders can tie to both clinch.

The NFC picture isn’t as hectic. The 49ers and Saints are competing for one spot in the NFC playoffs. The LA Rams and Arizona Cardinals are playing for seeding.

We’ll get into the NFL Week 18 playoff picture and scenarios that could play out going into Wild Card Weekend in more detail below. We’ll make it nice and simple to follow at a time in the season where there can be confusion.

American Football Conference

Kansas City Chiefs Playoffs Scenario:

  • No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win over the Denver Broncos and a Tennessee Titans loss or tie
  • No. 1 seed in the AFC with a tie versus the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans loss

Tennessee Titans Playoffs Scenario:

  • No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win over the Houston Texans
  • No. 1 seed in the AFC with a tie versus the Houston Texans and a Chiefs loss or tie
  • No. 1 seed in the AFC if the Kansas City Chiefs lose versus the Denver Broncos and a loss or tie for the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots
  • No. 1 seed in the AFC if the Kansas City Chiefs lose and the Buffalo Bills win or tie and the Bengals lose or tie

Buffalo Bills Playoffs Scenario:

  • Win the AFC East with a win over the New York Jets
  • Win the AFC East with a New England Patriots loss versus the Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots Playoffs Scenario:

  • No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win over the Miami Dolphins, the Bills win or tie, and the Chiefs and Titans lose
  • Win the AFC East with a win or tie and the Buffalo Bills lose

Cincinnati Bengals Playoffs Scenario:

  • No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win over the Cleveland Browns AND
  • Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Patriots loss OR
  • No. 1 seed in the AFC a win over the Cleveland Browns AND
  • Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs loss, and Buffalo Bills win over the New York Jets

Indianapolis Colts Playoffs Scenario:

  • Clinch a playoff berth with a win over tie versus the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Clinch a playoff berth if the LA Chargers lose and the Ravens-Steelers tie
  • Clinch a playoff berth if the LA Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New Endland Patriots lose

Los Angeles Chargers Playoffs Scenario:

  • Clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders
  • Clinch a playoff berth with a tie versus the Las Vegas Raiders and an Indianapolis Colts loss

Las Vegas Raiders Playoffs Scenario:

  • Clinch a playoff berth with a win over the LA Chargers
  • Clinch a playoff berth with a tie versus the LA Chargers and an Indianapolis Colts loss
  • Clinch a playoff berth if the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers lose

Baltimore Ravens Playoffs Scenario:

  • Clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers AND
  • LA Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins loss

Pittsburgh Steelers Playoffs Scenario:

  • Clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Baltimore Ravens AND
  • Indianapolis Colts loss and the Chargers-Raiders don’t tie

National Football Conference

Los Angeles Rams Playoffs Scenario:

  • Win the NFC West with a win or tie over the San Francisco 49ers
  • Win the NFC West with an Arizona Cardinals loss or tie

Arizona Cardinals Playoffs Scenario:

  • Win the NFC West with a win over the Seattle Seahawks AND
  • LA Rams loss versus the San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers Playoffs Scenario:

  • Clinch a playoff berth with a win over the LA Rams
  • Clinch a playoff berth with a New Orleans Saints loss or tie versus the Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints Playoffs Scenario:

  • Clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Atlanta Falcons AND
  • LA Rams beat the San Francisco 49ers
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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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