2023 NFL playoffs: Week 18 clinching scenarios for AFC and NFC contenders

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USATSI

Week 17 of the 2022 NFL season is just about in the books, with only the Bills visiting the Bengals in a Monday night showdown yet to kick off. So which teams are officially still fighting for playoff spots as we approach Week 18? And how do each of them actually clinch a trip to the postseason? We’re so glad you asked. Below you’ll find an updated rundown of all the latest clinching scenarios for the remaining open playoff spots:

AFC scenarios

No. 1 seed (bye + home-field advantage)

Chiefs clinch with any of the following:

  • Win + 1 Bills loss
  • 2 Bills losses + Bengals loss

Bills clinch with any of the following:

  • 2 wins
  • Win at Bengals + Chiefs loss
  • Win vs. Patriots + Chiefs and Bengals lose in Week 18

Bengals clinch with any of the following:

AFC South title

  • Jaguars (8-8) clinch with: win/tie vs. Titans
  • Titans (7-9) clinch with: win at Jaguars

AFC North title

  • Bengals (11-4) clinch with: win/tie vs. Bills OR win vs. Ravens

No. 7 seed wild card

  • Patriots (8-8) clinch with: win at Bills OR Dolphins loss vs. Jets AND Steelers loss vs. Browns
  • Dolphins (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Jets AND Patriots loss at Bills
  • Steelers (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Browns AND Dolphins loss vs. Jets AND Patriots loss at Bills
  • Jaguars (8-8) clinch with: loss vs. Titans AND losses by Dolphins, Patriots and Steelers 

NFC scenarios

No. 1 seed (bye + home-field advantage)

Eagles clinch with any of the following:

  • Win/tie vs. Giants
  • Cowboys loss/tie at Commanders
  • 49ers loss/tie vs. Cardinals

49ers clinch with any of the following:

  • Win vs. Cardinals + Eagles loss vs. Giants

Cowboys clinch with any of the following:

  • Win at Commanders + Eagles loss vs. Giants + 49ers loss/tie vs. Cardinals

NFC East title

  • Eagles (13-3) clinch with: win vs. Giants OR Cowboys loss at Commanders
  • Cowboys (12-4) clinch with: win at Commanders AND Eagles loss vs. Giants

No. 7 seed wild card

  • Packers (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Lions
  • Lions (8-8) clinch with: win at Packers AND Seahawks loss/tie vs. Rams, OR tie vs. Packers AND Seahawks loss vs. Rams, OR tie vs. Packers AND Rams-Seahawks tie AND Commanders win vs. Cowboys
  • Seahawks (8-8) clinch with: win vs. Rams AND Packers loss/tie vs. Lions, OR tie vs. Rams AND Lions-Packers tie AND Commanders loss/tie vs. Cowboys

For a complete look at playoff standings, scenarios and projected first-round matchups across the entire NFL, check out our updated postseason forecast right here.





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