NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE

2023-01-05 · 8 min read · NFL/Football
Joe Burrow of Cincinnati Bengals and Damar Hamlin of Buffalo Bills

Timothy Ludwig and Dylan Buell via Getty Images

As we approach the final week of the regular season, only three playoff spots are still up for grabs, two in the AFC, while there’s one Wild Card berth available in the NFC.
We know for sure that there will be at least five teams who missed the previous postseason that will make it in 2022-23, though the #1 seed and an opening round bye in both conferences is still there for the taking, as well as plenty of meaningful games to watch for on Saturday and Sunday.
Here is a look at all the potential playoff scenarios, breaking down each team that’s either clinched or in the hunt, who they’re playing next, their current record, and all of the potential outcomes.
NFC
Philadelphia Eagles- 13-3 (at New Giants)
The Eagles were the first team in the league to clinch a playoff spot; however, losing Jalen Hurts through injury has set them back, as Philly have dropped two in a row with Gardner Minshew at centre.
Philadelphia can clinch the NFC East with:
  1. A victory OR
  1. A Dallas loss
Philadelphia can clinch the #1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage with:
  1. A win OR
  1. Losses by the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers- 12-4 (vs Arizona Cardinals)
Kyle Shanahan’s crew have already clinched a playoff berth and will be the NFC West champions; however, they can still finish higher in the conference standings.
San Francisco clinches the #1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage with:
  1. A win + an Eagles loss
Dallas Cowboys- 12-4 (at Washington Commanders)
The Cowboys are on a two-game winning streak and in with a shot to hold onto their title in the NFC East, along with an automatic spot in the Divisional Round.
Dallas clinches the NFC East title with:
  1. A victory + an Eagles loss
Dallas clinches the #1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage with:
  1. A win + a Philly loss + a San Francisco defeat
Green Bay Packers- 8-8 (vs Detroit Lions)
It has been a December to remember for the Cheeseheads, but it won’t mean a thing for Aaron Rodgers and co. if they can’t win the last one.
Green Bay clinches a playoff berth with:
  1. A victory
Detroit Lions- 8-8 (at Green Bay Packers)
Their defensive issues haven’t improved, but the Lions are in a position to make the postseason for the first time since 2016-17 with some help.
Detroit clinches a playoff berth with:
  1. A victory + a Seattle Seahawks loss
Seattle Seahawks- 8-8 (vs. Los Angeles Rams)
Pete Carroll’s crew have been challenging to read all season, going up and down like a roller coaster.
Thanks to a 23-6 win over the New York Jets, there is an outside chance they can make the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five NFL campaigns.
Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:
  1. A win + a Packers loss
AFC
Buffalo Bills- 12-3 (vs New England Patriots, at Cincinnati Bengals potentially)
Given what happened on Monday Night Football to Damar Hamlin, the Bills’ current playoff situation has taken a backseat for understandable reasons.
That frightening moment puts into perspective how precious life can be and that, at the end of the day, football is a sport, and there are things more important in this world than winning and losing.
That being said, the Bills are in the poll position to win the AFC heading into the playoffs whether or not their game against Cincinnati is ever replayed or not, so keeping that in mind, here is what is at stake for the AFC East champions.
Buffalo clinches the #1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage with:
  1. Two wins (assuming the Cincy game is played, if not than just one) OR
  1. A victory + a Kansas City Chiefs loss OR
  1. A victory + a loss by the Bengals and Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs- 13-3 (at Las Vegas Raiders)
That narrow defeat at home to Buffalo back in October is looming large as it’s the only thing separating Andy Reid’s Chiefs from an automatic place in the AFC Divisional Round right now.
KC has won nine of their last 10 games since that defeat, only dropping a one-score contest to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Here is the scenario facing the winners of the AFC West heading into this weekend.
Kansas City clinches the #1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage with:
  1. A victory + one Bills loss OR
  1. The Bills losing their remaining game or games + one Bengals loss
Cincinnati Bengals- 11-4 (vs Baltimore Ravens)
Like Buffalo and, for that matter, all NFL teams, Zac Taylor and the Bengals are most likely shaken by what occurred on Monday night.
For Cincinnati, here is what, for the moment, is up for grabs as they still have a shot at clinching first overall in the AFC, but at the same time, they still haven’t officially secured their division crown.
Cincinnati clinches the #1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage with:
  1. Two wins + a Chiefs loss
Cincinnati clinches the AFC North with:
  1. A victory or tie versus the Buffalo Bills or the Baltimore Ravens
Jacksonville Jaguars- 8-8 (vs Tennessee Titans)
Duval County is as electric as it’s been in years, and there is a lot to be optimistic about with this team heading into the home stretch of the regular season.
While Doug Pederson’s crew have won four in a row and sit first in the AFC South, they might still need a result at home versus Tennessee on Saturday.
Jacksonville clinches the AFC South with:
  1. A win or tie
Jacksonville clinches a Wild Card spot with:
  1. A loss + a loss by the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots.
Tennessee Titans- 7-9 (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
While the Jags have been on the rise, the Titans have fallen dramatically, with their once comfortable divisional lead now gone, having suffered six straight defeats.
Tennessee clinches the AFC South with:
  1. A win
New England Patriots- 8-8 (at Buffalo Bills)
The Pats put themselves in a favourable position to get back into the postseason, thanks to a big victory against the Miami Dolphins last weekend.
New England clinches a Wild Card spot with:
  1. A victory OR
  1. A Dolphins loss + a Steelers loss + a Titans loss
Miami Dolphins- 8-8 (vs New York Jets)
Miami has cooled off at the most inopportune moment, losing five in a row and needing a couple of things to go their way this weekend.
Miami clinches a Wild Card spot with:
  1. A victory + a Patriots loss
Pittsburgh Steelers- 8-8 (vs Cleveland Browns)
Mike Tomlin’s Steelers have saved their season in each of the last two games but heading into its regular-season finale it will take more than just a dramatic last-minute victory to send them into the playoffs.
Pittsburgh clinches a Wild Card spot with:
  1. A victory + a Patriots loss + a Dolphins loss
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre

Share

Up Next

Sports Tree Blog

NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE ROUND 2 PREDICTIONS

Read more2024-05-05 · 2 min read
NHL/Hockey
Sports Tree Blog

MESSI BEGINNING TO BREAK RECORDS FOR MLS

Read more2024-05-03 · 2 min read
MLS/Soccer

Sports Tree

© 2024 Sports Tree LTD.

The sports tree newsletter

Sign up for the newsletter

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms of Service  and Privacy Policy. You can opt out at any time.