NFL Playoff Picture 2022: Week 18 NFC and AFC race, clinching scenarios and Wild Card matchups

How does the NFL playoff picture look at the conclusion of Week 18? And what is the schedule for Wild Card Weekend?

The 2021 regular season has drawn to a conclusion and the NFL playoff picture is finally crystal clear. Which teams locked up playoff spots in the AFC and NFC this week and what are the Wild Card Weekend matchups? Let’s review the full playoff picture and the schedule for next weekend.

If your team has been eliminated from playoff contention, then why not start looking ahead to the draft with Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator.

NFL Playoff Picture

What was a convoluted playoff picture in the NFL just a few weeks ago now has been cleared up. There were three playoff spots up for grabs in Week 18. Additionally, there were still races for the AFC East and NFC West, as well as for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Sunday’s action concluded all of those final races. Let’s examine the final NFL playoff picture for the 2022 postseason.

Current AFC Playoff Picture

*x — clinched playoff berth, y — clinched No. 1 seed, z — clinched division

1. y — Tennessee Titans (12-5)
2. z — Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
3. z — Buffalo Bills (11-6)
4. z — Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)
5. x — Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)
6. x — New England Patriots (10-7)
7. x — Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)

Despite a Chiefs win, the Titans clinch the top seed in the AFC

The Tennessee Titans, improbably, might just be the team to beat in the AFC. Thanks to a Week 18 win over the Texans, they’ve secured the conference’s No. 1 seed and the first-round bye that comes with it. That means Derrick Henry will have two more weeks to get healthy before making his long-awaited return.

Bills clinch the AFC East with an unconvincing but easy enough win over the Jets

#Billsmafia, get ready for a home Wild Card round game. The Buffalo Bills secured a second straight AFC East crown with a Week 18 win over the Jets. The win ended any hope the Patriots had at winning the division. New England will be on the road for Mac Jones’ first playoff game.

Bengals look set for the No. 4 seed after Week 18 loss

The Bengals approached the game like they didn’t care about the outcome – and the outcome reflected it. The Browns beat Cincinnati’s backups comfortably, meaning the Bengals will be the AFC’s No. 4 seed next weekend.

Colts eliminated from playoff contention after inexcusable loss in Jacksonville

This is an absolutely awful, inexcusable, and to be honest, fireable loss. The Colts just needed to beat the horrendous Jaguars to make the playoffs. Instead, they went down to Duval and got stomped. That left Indianapolis’ postseason hopes at the mercy of events beyond its control. The Steelers victory officially eliminated the Colts from the NFL playoffs.

Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive with a victory over the Ravens

The miracle scenario has happened. The Raiders and Chargers did not tie on Sunday Night Football (though it was closer than Pittsburgh fans would have liked), meaning the Steelers will get the AFC’s final spot. That’s the reality after the Colts lost and the Steelers beat the Ravens in overtime in the final regular-season game of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.

Raiders defeat Chargers in OT on Sunday Night Football to earn postseason berth

The Las Vegas Raiders are back in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2016 after beating the rival Chargers in an overtime thriller on Sunday Night Football. The result also put the Steelers in the playoffs. The Raiders are the AFC’s fifth seed, dropping the Patriots to the sixth seed and the Steelers are the seventh.

Current NFC Playoff Picture

*x — clinched playoff berth, y — clinched No. 1 seed, z — clinched division

1. y — Green Bay Packers (13-4)
2. z — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
3. z — Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
4. z — Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
5. x — Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
6. x – San Francisco 49ers (10-7)
7. x — Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)

The Cardinals loss hands the Rams the NFC West despite Los Angeles also losing

The Rams are NFC West champs. But they surely don’t feel great about it after blowing a 17-point lead and losing to the San Francisco 49ers in overtime. The result put San Francisco into the playoffs over the New Orleans Saints and made the NFC West a three-bid division. The Rams will nonetheless host a first-round playoff game because the Cardinals lost to the Seahawks.

Buccaneers will be the No. 2 seed after their victory and the Rams’ loss

As the Buccaneers embark upon their Super Bowl championship defense, they do so knowing they won’t have to get on a plane before the Super Bowl. They’re the No. 2 seed after a Week 18 win and a Rams loss to the 49ers. Tom Brady finished his second campaign in Tampa Bay with a remarkable 42 touchdown passes.

Saturday, January 15

Las Vegas Raiders (5) at Cincinnati Bengals (4)
4:30 PM | NBC

New England Patriots (6) at Buffalo Bills (3)
8:15 PM | CBS

Sunday, January 16

Philadelphia Eagles (7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2)
1:00 PM | FOX

San Francisco 49ers (6) at Dallas Cowboys (3)
4:30 PM | CBS/Nickelodeon/Amazon Prime Video

Pittsburgh Steelers (7) at Kansas City Chiefs (2)
8:15 PM | NBC

Monday, January 17

Arizona Cardinals (5) at Los Angeles Rams (4)
8:15 PM | ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN+

Adam Beasley is the NFL Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.

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