NFL Week 18 playoff clinching scenarios: Full AFC, NFC breakdown

January 8, 2022
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard (53), Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II (23) and Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis (37) celebrate an interception during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Indianapolis.


There’s only one last round of games before the NFL’s playoff picture fully falls into place.

Entering Week 18, 11 of the 14 postseason berths have already been wrapped, as have six of the eight divisions and home-field advantage in the NFC, which went to the Green Bay Packers. Still, there’s plenty to sort out over the weekend. The AFC’s top seed is still up for grabs, with several teams having a shot at securing it, and seeding could fluctuate wildly depending on several different matchups.

Here’s a look at all of the possible playoff clinching scenarios throughout the NFL for Week 18:

MORE:What will be the biggest surprises in Week 18 of NFL’s regular season?

NFL WEEK 18 PICKS:Los Angeles Chargers or Las Vegas Raiders with wild card at stake?


Clinched: Cincinnati Bengals – AFC North, Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West, Tennessee Titans – AFC South division title, Buffalo Bills – playoff berth, New England Patriots – playoff berth

Baltimore Ravens (8-8) [vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1), Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET]

Ravens clinch playoff berth with:

1. Ravens win + Chargers loss + Colts loss + Dolphins loss or tie

Buffalo Bills (10-6) [vs. New York Jets (4-12), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET]

Bills clinch AFC East division title with:

1. Bills win OR

2. Patriots loss OR

3. Bills tie + Patriots tie

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) [at Cleveland Browns (7-9), Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET]

Bengals clinches AFC’s No. 1 seed with

1. Bengals win + Titans loss + Chiefs loss + Patriots loss or tie OR

2. Bengals win + Titans loss + Chiefs loss + Bills win

Indianapolis Colts (9-7) [at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14), Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET]

Colts clinch playoff berth with:

1. Colts win or tie OR

2. Chargers loss + Steelers-Ravens tie OR

3. Chargers loss + Steelers loss + Dolphins win

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) [at Denver Broncos (7-9), Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET]

Chiefs clinch AFC’s No. 1 seed with:

1. Chiefs win + Titans loss or tie OR

2. Chiefs tie + Titans loss

Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) [vs. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7), Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET]

Raiders clinch playoff berth with:

1. Raiders win OR

2. Raiders tie + Colts loss OR

3. Colts loss + Steelers loss or tie

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) [at Las Vegas Raiders (9-7), Sunday, 8:20 PM ET]

Chargers clinch playoff berth with:

1. Chargers win or tie

New England Patriots (10-6) [at Miami Dolphins (8-8), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS]

Patriots clinch AFC’s No. 1 seed with:

1. Patriots win + Bills loss or tie + Chiefs loss + Titans loss

Patriots clinch AFC East division title with:

1. Patriots win + Bills loss or tie OR

2. Patriots tie + Bills loss

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) [at Baltimore Ravens (8-8), Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET]

Steelers clinch playoff berth with:

1. Steelers win + Colts loss + Chargers-Raiders game does not end in a tie

Tennessee Titans (11-5) [at Houston Texans (4-12), Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET]

Titans clinches AFC’s No. 1 seed with:

1. Titans win OR

2. Titans tie + Chiefs loss or tie OR

3. Chiefs loss + Bengals loss or tie + Patriots loss or tie OR

4. Chiefs loss + Bengals loss or tie + Bills win


Clinched: Green Bay Packers – NFC North + No. 1 seed, Dallas Cowboys – NFC East,  Tampa Bay Buccaneers – NFC South, Arizona Cardinals – playoff berth, Los Angeles Rams – playoff berth, Philadelphia Eagles -– playoff berth

Arizona Cardinals (11-5) [vs. Seattle Seahawks (6-10), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET]

Cardinals clinch NFC West division title with:

1. Cardinals win + Rams loss

Los Angeles Rams (12-4) [vs. San Francisco (9-7), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET]

Rams clinch NFC West division title with:

1. Rams win or tie OR

2. Cardinals loss or tie

New Orleans Saints (8-8) [at Atlanta Falcons (7-9), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX]

Saints clinch playoff berth with:

1. Saints win + 49ers loss

San Francisco 49ers (9-7) [at Los Angeles Rams (12-4), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET]

49ers clinch playoff berth with:

1. 49ers win or tie OR

2. Saints loss or tie


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