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Last Updated: January 13, 2022

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The 2021 – 2022 National Football League Playoff Picture heading into Week 18

Introduction

The 2021 – 2022 regular season of the National Football League is now winding down as there is only one weekend left (week – 18) in order to decide the NFL playoff landscape which is presently in full view as 11 of the 14 total NFL postseason spots have already been filled as of now (1 / 6 / 2022). 6 of the 8 eight divisions in the National Football League have already been won, and currently 1 of the NFL’s 2 - top seeds have been clinched already.

The Cincinnati Bengals have clinched the AFC North division of the NFL, and the Tennessee Titans have clinched the AFC South division of the NFL. The Green Bay Packers have secured the NFC's top seed as they destroyed the Minnesota Vikings last weekend earning the Green Bay Packers a bye during the wild - card round of the 2021 – 2022 NFL playoffs which will be played from Saturday, January 15th, 2022 through Monday, January 17th, 2022.

With the Green Bay Packers victory last week, the Philadelphia Eagles also clinched one of the NFC wild - card playoff positions. Last weekend’s NFL match – ups also resulted in the Buffalo Bills clinching an NFL playoff berth as well as the New England Patriots clinched a place in the AFC playoff bracket.

During the past Monday Night Football game, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns (already eliminated from the NFL postseason prior to MNF game last week) which ultimately kept the Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff hopes alive.

At the moment 7 – NFL franchises are still fighting for the final 3 - available playoff spots in the entire National Football League as we head into week - 18 of the 2021 – 2022 NFL regular season this upcoming weekend beginning on Saturday, January 8th, 2022 and will conclude on Sunday, January 9th, 2022. Below are the current NFL standings, postseason clinching scenarios, division races, and predictions for the 2021 – 2022 NFL playoff picture.

AFC Playoff Standings

1. Tennessee Titans (11 - 5)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win AFC South division: Clinched

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the AFC: 79 %

Remaining schedule: at the Houston Texans

2. Kansas City Chiefs (11 - 5)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win AFC West division: Clinched

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the AFC: 17 %

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: vs. the Los Angeles Chargers

Remaining schedule: at the Denver Broncos

3. Cincinnati Bengals (10 - 6)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win AFC North division: Clinched

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the AFC: 4 %

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: vs. the Indianapolis Colts

Remaining schedule: at the Cleveland Browns

4. Buffalo Bills (10 - 6)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win AFC East division: 95 %

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the AFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: vs. the New England Patriots

Remaining schedule: vs. the New York Jets

5. New England Patriots (10-6)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win AFC East division: 5 %

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the AFC: 1 %

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: at the Buffalo Bills

Remaining schedule: at the Miami Dolphins

6. Indianapolis Colts (9 - 7)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: 81 %

Chances to win AFC South division: Eliminated

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the AFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: at the Cincinnati Bengals

Remaining schedule: at the Jacksonville Jaguars

7. Los Angeles Chargers (9 - 7)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: 58 %

Chances to win AFC West division: Eliminated

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the AFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: at the Kansas City Chiefs

Remaining schedule: at the Las Vegas Raiders

In the AFC Playoff Hunt

Las Vegas Raiders (9 - 7)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: 50 %

Pittsburgh Steelers (8 - 7 - 1)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: 8 %

Baltimore Ravens (8 - 8)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: 4 %

NFC Playoff Standings

1. Green Bay Packers (13 - 3)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win NFC North division: Clinched

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the NFC: Clinched

Remaining schedule: at the Detroit Lions

2. Los Angeles Rams (12 - 4)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win NFC West division: 77 %

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the NFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: vs. the Philadelphia Eagles

Remaining schedule: vs. the San Francisco 49ers

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12 - 4)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win NFC South division: Clinched

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the NFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: vs. the San Francisco 49ers

Remaining schedule: vs. the Carolina Panthers

4. Dallas Cowboys (11 - 5)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win NFC East division: Clinched

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the NFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: vs. the Arizona Cardinals

Remaining schedule: at the Philadelphia Eagles

5. Arizona Cardinals (11 - 5)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win NFC West division: 23 %

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the NFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: at the Dallas Cowboys

Remaining schedule: vs. the Seattle Seahawks

6. San Francisco 49ers (9 - 7)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: 60 %

Chances to win NFC West division: Eliminated

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the NFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Remaining schedule: at the Los Angeles Rams

7. Philadelphia Eagles (9 - 7)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: Clinched

Chances to win NFC East division: Eliminated

Chances to earn Number 1 seed in the NFC: Eliminated

Current projected wild - card - round postseason matchup: at the Los Angeles Rams

Remaining schedule: vs. the Dallas Cowboys

In the NFC Playoff Hunt

New Orleans Saints (8 - 8)

Chances to make NFL playoffs: 40 %

Sources:

“NFL Scoreboard”, espn.com, January 6, 2022.

“NFL Standings 2021, espn.com, January 6, 2022.


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