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NFL playoff-clinching scenarios: Everything to know for Week 18



Here are the NFL playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 18 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

We are less than a week away from the NFL playoff picture being finalized.

After the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals battle on Monday Night Football, it will be on to the final week of the regular season.

Several teams will have something to play for in Week 18, with some fighting for the last few playoff berths and others jockeying for seeding.


Ahead of what’s sure to be a wild weekend of NFL action, here’s what to know about the Week 18 playoff-clinching scenarios.

What are the AFC standings?

  1. Kansas City Chiefs, 13-3 (clinched AFC West)
  2. Buffalo Bills, 12-3 (clinched AFC East)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals, 11-4 (clinched playoff berth)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 8-8
  5. Los Angeles Chargers, 10-6 (clinched wild card berth)
  6. Baltimore Ravens, 10-6 (clinched playoff berth)
  7. New England Patriots, 8-8
  8. Miami Dolphins, 8-8
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-8
  10. Tennessee Titans, 7-9

With the Steelers’ last-minute win over the Ravens on Sunday Night Football, the Bengals can wrap up the AFC North race by beating the Bills. Should Buffalo win on MNF, the Bengals and Ravens would play for the division title in Cincinnati in Week 18. The Bengals are also still in contention for the No. 1 seed, along with the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

The Titans and Jaguars will play for the AFC South title in Jacksonville on Saturday night. Tennessee can only make the playoffs with a win, while the Jags would need some help in the event of a loss.

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The Patriots control their own destiny for the third and final wild card spot, as a win over the Bills in Buffalo would be enough to clinch. A Patriots loss would keep the Dolphins, Steelers and Jaguars (if they lose to the Titans) alive in the hunt for the No. 7 seed.

What are the Week 18 AFC playoff scenarios?

Here’s a full look at the AFC playoff-clinching scenarios:


Kansas City Chiefs

Clinch No. 1 seed with:

  • Win over Raiders and one Bills loss OR
  • Two Bills losses and one Bengals loss

Buffalo Bills

Clinch No. 1 seed with:

  • Wins over Bengals and Patriots OR
  • Win over Bengals and Chiefs loss to Raiders OR
  • Win over Patriots, Chiefs loss to Raiders and Bengals loss to Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Clinch AFC North with:

  • Win over Bills OR
  • Win over Ravens

Clinch AFC North and No. 1 seed with:

  • Wins over Bills and Ravens, and Chiefs loss to Raiders

Baltimore Ravens

Clinch AFC North with:

  • Bengals loss to Bills and win over Bengals
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Jacksonville Jaguars

Clinch AFC South with:

  • Win over Titans

Clinch wild card berth with:

  • Steelers loss to Browns, Patriots loss to Bills and Dolphins loss to Jets

Tennessee Titans

Clinch AFC South with:

  • Win over Jaguars

New England Patriots

Clinch wild card berth with:

  • Win over Bills OR
  • Dolphins loss to Jets, Steelers loss to Browns and Titans loss to Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

Clinch wild card berth with:

  • Win over Jets and Patriots loss to Bills

Pittsburgh Steelers

Clinch wild card berth with:

  • Win over Browns, Patriots loss to Bills and Dolphins loss to Jets

What are the NFC standings?

  1. Philadelphia Eagles, 13-3 (clinched playoff berth)
  2. San Francisco 49ers, 12-4 (clinched NFC West)
  3. Minnesota Vikings, 12-4 (clinched NFC North)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8-8 (clinched NFC South)
  5. Dallas Cowboys, 12-4 (clinched playoff berth)
  6. New York Giants, 9-6-1 (clinched wild card berth)
  7. Seattle Seahawks, 8-8
  8. Detroit Lions, 8-8
  9. Green Bay Packers, 8-8

Despite two straight losses, the Eagles still have the inside track to the NFC East crown and No. 1 seed. All Philly needs to do is beat the Giants, who have nothing to play for, at home. An Eagles loss would open the door for Dallas to steal the division, and for the Cowboys or 49ers to claim the No. 1 seed.

One NFC playoff berth is still up for grabs with three teams in contention: the Packers, Lions and Seahawks. Green Bay controls its own destiny, as a win over the Lions at Lambeau Field would send Aaron Rodgers and Co. to the postseason as the No. 7 seed.

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The Buccaneers and Giants are locked into the No. 4 and No. 6 seeds, respectively.



What are the Week 18 NFC playoff scenarios?

Here’s a complete look at the NFC playoff-clinching scenarios:

Philadelphia Eagles

Clinch NFC East and No. 1 seed with:

  • Win over Giants OR
  • Cowboys loss to Commanders and 49ers loss to Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers

Clinch No. 1 seed with:

  • Win over Cardinals and Eagles loss to Giants

Dallas Cowboys

Clinch NFC East with:

  • Win over Commanders and Eagles loss to Giants

Clinch NFC East and No. 1 seed with:

  • Win over Commanders, Eagles loss to Giants and 49ers loss to Cardinals

Green Bay Packers

Clinch wild card berth with:

  • Win over Lions

Detroit Lions

Clinch wild card berth with:

  • Win over Packers and Seahawks loss to Rams

Seattle Seahawks

Clinch wild card berth with:

  • Win over Rams and Packers loss to Lions

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