Week 14 of the NFL schedule offered an excellent slate with several opportunities for teams to clinch postseason berths. With only a month left in the 2022 campaign, Sunday’s games provided plenty of drama that affected the NFL playoff picture.
Let’s take a look at the updated NFL playoff picture and assess which teams enhanced or impaired their postseason chances on Sunday. For analysis of all the action from Week 14, scroll down below the standings.
NFL Week 15 Playoff Picture
AFC Playoff Picture
1. Buffalo Bills (10-3)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
3. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
4. Tennessee Titans (7-6)
5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)
6. Miami Dolphins (8-5)
7. New England Patriots (7-6)
In the Hunt
8. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)
9. New York Jets (7-6)
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)
11. Las Vegas Raiders (5-8)
12. Cleveland Browns (5-8)
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)
14. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1)
15. Denver Broncos (3-10)
16. Houston Texans (1-11-1)
NFC Playoff Picture
1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1)
2. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
3. San Francisco 49ers (9-4)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
5. Dallas Cowboys (10-3)
6. Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
7. New York Giants (7-5-1)
In the Hunt
8. Seattle Seahawks (7-6)
9. Detroit Lions (6-7)
10. Green Bay Packers (5-8)
11. Carolina Panthers (5-8)
12. Atlanta Falcons (5-8)
13. Arizona Cardinals (4-9)
14. New Orleans Saints (4-9)
15. Los Angeles Rams (4-9)
16. Chicago Bears (3-10)
Eagles Become First Team to Clinch Playoff Berth
With a dominant 48-22 win over the Giants on Sunday, the Eagles became the first NFL team to officially clinch a playoff berth. Philadelphia’s offensive corps of Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith was nearly flawless again, while the Eagles’ defense sacked Daniel Jones four times and held Saquon Barkley to just 28 rushing yards.
Even with the Vikings losing, the Eagles still haven’t quite clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they could as soon as next week. Meanwhile, the Giants have lost or tied in four straight, but they’re still the NFC’s seventh seed thanks to Seattle’s loss.
Bills Beat Jets in Crucial AFC East Battle
The Bills will retain the AFC’s No. 1 seed for at least one more week after defeating the Jets in a sloppy defensive battle. Even though the Chiefs won today to match Buffalo’s record, the Bills hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The race for the top seed will come down to the season’s final weeks, and the Ravens and Bengals could still compete with Buffalo and Kansas City for the first-round bye.
Meanwhile, the Jets — who will have to contend with quarterback questions after Mike White left Sunday’s game — slide down to the eighth seed and out of the playoff picture following the Chargers’ win over the Dolphins on Sunday night. If the Patriots win on Monday, Gang Green will move back to No. 9 in the AFC.
Lions Still Alive After Taking Down Vikings
Despite the differences in their records, the Lions were home favorites over the Vikings on Sunday — and they lived up to the pre-game line. Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes, including the first of Jameson Williams’ career, as Detroit beat Minnesota 34-23.
Not much will change for the Vikings, who could have clinched a playoff berth with a win but still seem likely to capture the NFC’s No. 2 seed. But the Lions are still in theoretical contention after moving to 6-7. They’ll need some help to get into the playoffs, but with a final four-game stretch that includes the Jets, Panthers, Bears, and Packers, Detroit still has a chance.
Ravens Win But Still Have Quarterback Questions
The Ravens eked out another close victory by beating the Steelers 16-14, but they have another issue under center. Tyler Huntley, filling in for the injured Lamar Jackson, suffered a concussion midway through today’s game, forcing Baltimore to turn to undrafted rookie free agent Anthony Brown.
Jackson is expected to miss 1-3 weeks with a knee injury, while Huntley could be sidelined in Week 15. The Ravens face the Browns, Falcons, and Steelers over the next three weeks, so they can conceivably compete even with Brown at quarterback. But a Week 18 battle with the Bengals looms incredibly large for both the AFC North race and the AFC postseason picture as a whole.
Bengals Keep Rolling, Reach 9 Wins
The Bengals kept pace with the Ravens by taking down the Browns 23-10, earning their fifth win and retaining their spot as the AFC’s fifth seed. Cincinnati and Baltimore hold the same record, but the Ravens still have the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Joe Burrow got his first career win against Cleveland, but it was the Bengals’ defense that really won the game. Cincinnati held the Browns to just 10 points and limited Nick Chubb to only 34 yards on the ground.
The Bengals can win in a variety of ways, and if they keep stacking victories, they’ll move up in the AFC playoff picture as the season draws to a close.
Jaguars Defeat Titans To Remain in Playoff Conversation
One week after getting stomped by the Lions, the Jaguars put the hurt on the division-rival Titans in a 36-22 victory that wasn’t as close as the final score. Trevor Lawrence posted one of his best games of the season, completing 30 of 42 attempts for 368 yards and three touchdowns, keeping Jacksonville alive in the playoff race — even if it’s only on the fringes.
The Jaguars will have to win the AFC South in order to make the postseason, and they’re still two games behind Tennessee even after today’s win. Still, Jacksonville gets to play the Titans again in Week 18, so they still have a chance to pull ahead in the division.
49ers Destroy Tom Brady and the Buccaneers
Brock Purdy looks like he belongs in the NFL. The rookie seventh-round pick was hyper-efficient against a usually staunch Buccaneers defense, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt and tossing two scores in the 35-7 win. We’ll have to wait and hear how serious Deebo Samuel’s injury is, but the 49ers look unstoppable on both sides of the ball.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the Bucs looked absolutely terrible. Everything on offense feels difficult, and their defense got shredded in the pass and run games. Tampa Bay is back under .500, and while they should still be viewed as the favorites in the NFC South, it’s impossible to count out the Falcons or — improbably — the Panthers.
Assuming the Bucs still make the playoffs, it isn’t easy to envision this team as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Questions about where Brady will play in 2023 seem more interesting than what Tampa will do on the field to end the season.
Chiefs Hang on Against Broncos
The Chiefs initially jumped out to a 27-0 lead against the Broncos, but they subsequently allowed Denver to score 21 unanswered points of their own. Kansas City eventually pulled out a 34-28 win, but this contest was a lot closer than many expected.
Nothing changes about the Chiefs’ AFC seeding — they have the same 10-3 record as the Bills, but Buffalo holds the tiebreaker. Kansas City didn’t clinch the AFC West because the Chargers won on Sunday night, but they’ll have another chance in Week 14.
Seahawks Fail Test Against Panthers
With the Giants losing and the Commanders on bye, the Seahawks had the chance to take a leap in the NFC Wild Card race with a win over the Panthers. Instead, Seattle made too many mistakes — including two interceptions thrown by Geno Smith — in a 30-24 loss that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.
The Seahawks can still make the playoffs, and they’ll be helped by the fact that Washington and New York play each other again next week. The Panthers aren’t totally out of the postseason race, either. Carolina is just a game back of the Bucs in the NFC South, holds the tiebreaker, and plays Tampa Bay again in Week 17.