Sunday, January 23, 2022

NFL Week 18 playoff-clinching scenarios: No. 1 seed in the AFC still up for grabs

We are at the finish line of the 2021 regular season. As we step into Week 18, we do have a solid grasp of what the upcoming playoff picture is going to look like. In the NFC, we already have three division winners and the Green Bay Packers secured the No. 1 seed in the conference with a win in Week 17. Meanwhile, in the AFC there are also three division winners already crowned, but the top seed is still up for grabs along with a few other playoff spots. 

Below, you’ll find all the different permutations for how various teams sneak their way into the postseason and how a number of clubs in the AFC could find themselves with No.1 seed by the week’s end. 

Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

Clinches playoff berth with:

  1. BAL win + LAC loss + IND loss + MIA loss or tie

Week 18 opponent: Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS — stream on Paramount+)

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Buffalo Bills (10-6)

Clinches AFC East division title with: 

  1. BUF win OR
  2. NE loss OR
  3. BUF tie + NE tie

Week 18 opponent: Jets (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS — stream on Paramount+)

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

Clinches AFC’s No. 1 seed, only first-round bye and home-field advantage with:

  1. CIN win + TEN loss + KC loss + NE loss or tie OR
  2. CIN win + TEN loss + KC loss + BUF win

Week 18 opponent: at Browns (Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX)

Indianapolis Colts (9-7) 

Clinches playoff berth with:

  1. IND win or tie OR
  2. LAC loss + BAL-PIT tie OR
  3. LAC loss + PIT loss + MIA win

Week 18 opponent: at Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS — stream on Paramount+)

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) 

Clinches AFC’s No. 1 seed, only first-round bye and home-field advantage with:

  1. KC win + TEN loss or tie OR
  2. KC tie + TEN loss

Week 18 opponent: at Broncos (Saturday, 4:30 p.m. on ESPN, ABC) 

Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) 

Clinches playoff berth with:

  1. LV win OR
  2. LV tie + IND loss OR
  3. IND loss + PIT loss or tie

Week 18 opponent: Chargers (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. on NBC)

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) 

 Clinch playoff berth with:

  1. LAC win or tie

Week 18 opponent: at Raiders (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. on NBC)

New England Patriots (10-6)

Clinches AFC’s No. 1 seed, only first-round bye and home-field advantage with:

  1. NE win + BUF loss or tie + KC loss + TEN loss

Clinches AFC East division title with:

  1. NE win + BUF loss or tie OR
  2. NE tie + BUF loss

Week 18 opponent: at Dolphins (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS — stream on Paramount+)

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)

Clinches playoff berth with:

  1. PIT win + IND loss + LV-LAC game does not end in a tie

Week 18 opponent: at Ravens (Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS — stream on Paramount+)

Tennessee Titans (11-5)

Clinches AFC’s No. 1 seed, only first-round bye and home-field advantage with:

  1. TEN win OR
  2. TEN tie + KC loss or tie OR
  3. KC loss + CIN loss or tie + NE loss or tie OR
  4. KC loss + CIN loss or tie + BUF win

Week 18 opponent: at Texans (Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS — stream on Paramount+)

Arizona Cardinals (11-5)

Clinches NFC West division title with:

  1. ARI win + LAR loss

Week 18 opponent: Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX)

Los Angeles Rams (12-4)

Clinches NFC West division title with:

  1. LAR win or tie OR
  2. ARI loss or tie

Week 18 opponent: 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX)

New Orleans Saints (8-8)

Clinches playoff berth with:

  1. NO win + SF loss

Week 18 opponent: at Falcons (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX)

San Francisco 49ers (9-7) 

Clinches playoff berth with:

  1. SF win or tie OR
  2. NO loss or tie

Week 18 opponent: at Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX)

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