Sunday, January 23, 2022

2021 NFL playoff picture, standings: Chiefs take over first in AFC, force Titans to win in Week 18

The longest season in NFL history has finally come to a close, starting with a Week 18 Saturday doubleheader that features matchups with playoff implications. The Kansas City Chiefs rallied to defeat the Denver Broncos to clinch a least No. 2 seed in the AFC, forcing the Tennessee Titans to win Sunday in order to lock up home-field advantage in the AFC.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have their playoff berths clinched. Dallas still has a shot at the No. 2 seed in the NFC while the highest the Eagles can obtain is the No. 6 seed in the conference. Philadelphia is resting several key starters in the Saturday night showdown. 

Below, you can find a conference breakdown of the current standings, how each club performed in Week 18 and their playoff matchup and draft pick selection (for the teams eliminated from the playoffs). 

AFC

y-Chiefs

12

5

.706

5-1

7-5

y-Titans

11

5

.688

4-1

6-5

y-Bengals

10

6

.625

4-1

8-3

y-Bills

10

6

.625

4-1

6-5

x-Patriots

10

6

.625

3-2

8-3

Colts

9

7

.563

3-2

7-4

Chargers

9

7

.563

3-2

6-5

Raiders

9

7

.563

2-3

7-4

Steelers

8

7

1

.531

3-2

6-5

e-Dolphins

8

8

.500

3-2

5-6

Ravens 

8

8

.500

1-4

5-6

e-Browns

7

9

.438

2-3

4-7

e-Broncos

7

10

.412

1-5

3-9

e-Jets

4

12

.250

0-5

4-7

e-Texans

4

12

.250

3-2

4-7

e-Jaguars

2

14

.125

1-5

2-9

x-clinched playoff berth

y-clinched division title

z-clinched homefield advantage

e-eliminated from playoffs

Kansas City Chiefs

What to know: The Chiefs are currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC after their win over the Broncos and will be at least the No. 2 seed in the conference. Kansas City needs a Tennessee loss in Week 18 to clinch the first-round bye. 

Tennessee Titans 

What to know: The Titans hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC with the Chiefs’ loss to the Bengals. Tennessee clinches the top seed with a win over Houston in Week 18.

Remaining schedule: at Texans 

Cincinnati Bengals

What to know: The Bengals have clinched the AFC North. Cincinnati is the No. 3 seed in the AFC due to having a better conference record than Buffalo. 

Remaining schedule: at Browns 

Buffalo Bills

What to know: The Bills didn’t lock up the AFC East yet, but clinched a playoff berth. They clinch the AFC East in Week 18 with a win. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Jets

New England Patriots

What to know: The Patriots clinched a playoff berth. New England wins the AFC East with a win and a Buffalo loss to New York in Week 18. The Patriots will be at least the No. 5 seed with a win. 

Remaining schedule: at Dolphins 

Indianapolis Colts

What to know: Indianapolis needs just a win over the Jaguars in Week 18 to lock up a playoff spot. The Colts are the No. 6 seed in the conference, even though they have the same record as the Chargers and Raiders. Indianapolis has the best record in conference games and the Chargers beating the Raiders earlier this year gives Los Angeles the No. 7 spot. The Colts can clinch a playoff berth with a victory against the Jaguars.

Remaining schedule: at Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

What to know: The Chargers are currently the No. 7 seed with one week to go, losing a conference record tiebreaker to the Colts but own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Raiders — who they face this week. 

Los Angeles clinches a playoff spot with a win over Las Vegas. 

Remaining schedule: at Raiders 

Las Vegas Raiders

What to know: The Raiders are tied with the Colts and Chargers at 9-7 with one week to go. Las Vegas loses the head-to-head tiebreaker with Los Angeles — currently the No. 7 seed — yet the Raiders play the Chargers next week. 

The Raiders can clinch a playoff berth with either of the following:

  1. Win vs Chargers
  2. Steelers loss (Week 17 or 18) + Colts loss

Remaining schedule: vs. Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers

What to know: The Steelers can clinch a playoff berth with a Week 18 win over the Ravens, plus a Colts loss.

Remaining schedule: at Ravens

Miami Dolphins

What to know: The Dolphins are eliminated from the playoffs with their loss to the Titans. Their first-round draft pick goes to the Eagles in the 2022 NFL Draft

Remaining schedule: vs. Patriots

Baltimore Ravens

What to know: The Ravens’ playoff hopes are dim. Baltimore is 11th in the conference, and needs a Week 18 win with some help in order to make the playoffs. 

The Ravens can clinch a playoff berth with a win, plus losses by the Colts, Browns, Chargers and Dolphins.

Remaining schedule: vs. Steelers  

Cleveland Browns 

What to know: The Browns were eliminated from the playoffs in Week 17 with the Chargers beating the Broncos and the Bengals clinching the AFC North. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Bengals

Denver Broncos

What to know: The Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs and are in line for the No. 10 pick in the NFL Draft. 

New York Jets

What to know: The Jets are eliminated from the playoffs and are in line for the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Remaining schedule: at Bills

Houston Texans

What to know: The Texans are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

What to know: The Jaguars are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Colts

NFC

z-Packers

13

3

.813

4-1

9-2

x-Rams

12

4

.750

3-2

8-3

y-Buccaneers

12

4

.750

3-2

7-4

y-Cowboys

11

5

.688

5-0

9-2

x-Cardinals

11

5

.688

4-1

874

49ers

9

7

.563

1-4

6-5

x-Eagles

9

7

.563

3-2

7-4

Saints

8

8

.500

3-2

6-5

e-Vikings

7

9

.438

3-2

5-6

e-Falcons

7

9

.438

2-3

4-7

e-Washington

6

10

.375

1-4

5-6

e-Bears

6

10

.375

2-3

4-7

e-Seahawks

6

10

.375

2-3

438

e-Panthers

5

11

.313

2-3

3-8

e-Giants

4

12

.250

1-4

3-8

e-Lions

2

13

1

.156

1-4

2-9

x-clinched playoff berth

y-clinched division title

z-clinched homefield advantage

e-eliminated from playoffs

Green Bay Packers

What to know: The Packers clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Remaining schedule: at Lions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to know: The Buccaneers are the No. 3 seed in the NFC. They lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Rams for the No. 2 spot. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Panthers

Los Angeles Rams

What to know: The Rams clinch the NFC West with a win over the 49ers in Week 18 or a Cardinals loss to the Seahawks. They are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC, holding a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Buccaneers. 

Remaining schedule: vs. 49ers

Dallas Cowboys

What to know: The Cowboys are the No. 4 seed in the NFC, but have already clinched the NFC East. They can clinch the No. 2 seed in the conference, but need some help. 

Remaining schedule: at Eagles 

Arizona Cardinals

What to know: The Cardinals will win the NFC West with a win and a Rams loss in Week 18. Arizona can’t be lower than the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers

What to know: The 49ers clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Rams in Week 18 or a Saints loss to the Falcons. San Francisco is currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC, holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over Philadelphia. 

Remaining schedule: at Rams

Philadelphia Eagles

What to know: The Eagles clinched a playoff berth, but are still the No. 7 seed since the 49ers own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Remaining schedule: vs. Cowboys

New Orleans Saints

What to know: The Saints are still alive in the NFC playoff race. New Orleans is one game behind Philadelphia and San Francisco for the final playoff spot as the No. 8 seed, but lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Eagles. 

The Saints clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Falcons and a 49ers loss to the Rams. 

Remaining schedule: at Falcons

Minnesota Vikings

What to know: The Vikings are eliminated from the playoffs and are in line for the No. 12 pick in the NFL Draft.

Remaining schedule: vs. Bears

Atlanta Falcons

What to know: The Falcons are eliminated from the playoffs and are in line for teh No. 11 pick in the NFL Draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Saints

Washington Football Team 

What to know: Washington is eliminated from the playoffs and in line for the No. 9 pick in the NFL Draft.

Remaining schedule: at Giants

Chicago Bears

What to know: The Bears are eliminated from playoff contention. Chicago would be in line for the No. 8 pick in the draft, but that is going to the New York Giants from a draft day trade. 

Remaining schedule: at Vikings 

Seattle Seahawks

What to know: The Seahawks are eliminated from the playoffs and would own the No. 7 pick in the draft, but that goes to the Jets thanks to the Jamal Adams trade. 

Remaining schedule: at Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

What to know: The Panthers are eliminated from the postseason. Carolina currently has the No. 6 pick in the draft.  

Remaining schedule: at Buccaneers

New York Giants 

What to know: The Giants are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 5 pick in the draft.

Remaining schedule: vs. Washington

Detroit Lions

What to know: The Lions are eliminated from the playoffs and currently own the No. 2 pick in the draft. 

Remaining schedule: vs. Packers

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