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NFL Playoff chances: What each team with options needs in week 18 | Patriots, Packers, Dolphins...

The final week of the NFL’s regular season is going to be as dramatic as ever with teams in both conferences resting their hopes on one last push for a post season spot.

NFL Playoff chances: What each team with options needs in week 18 | Patriots, Packers, Dolphins...
Tork MasonUSA TODAY Sports

Though it might be a new year, the tension in the NFL’s playoff picture hasn’t changed. As we head into the 18th and final week of the season, we’re taking a look at where the teams in contention stand. In the AFC, we’re destined for drama with the Patriots’ hopes resting on a must-win situation. Over in the NFC, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are in a similar situation as they head into a clash with the Lions. Let’s get into it!

The AFC Picture

As mentioned above, the Patriots are still in with a shot at a playoff spot after their huge win over the Dolphins in their final home game. With the victory, New England moved passed Miami to take the No. 7 seed in the AFC with an 8-8 record. They now face a simple, but difficult scenario which is to say, beat the Bills on the road and you’re in the playoffs. It’s worth noting, that they’ve lost each of their last three games in Buffalo including a 24-10 defeat in Week 13. Interestingly, the Bills can still sneak into the playoffs even if they lose, assuming a few other results go their way. Basically, they’d need the Dolphins to lose to the Jets, the Titans to lose to the Jaguars and the Steelers to lose to the Browns. In other words, it would be ideal if they could beat the Bills. None the less here’s a view at the full picture in the conference:

In a Playoff Spot

Kansas City Chiefs, 13-3 (AFC West winner)

Buffalo Bills, 12-3 (AFC East winner)

Cincinnati Bengals, 11-4 (AFC North leader)

Jacksonville Jaguars, 8-8 (AFC South leader)

Baltimore Ravens, 10-5 (First wild card)

Los Angeles Chargers, 10-6 (Second wild card)

New England Patriots, 8-8 (Third wild card)

Still in with a shot

8. Miami Dolphins, 8-8

9. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-8

10. Tennessee Titans, 7-9

The NFC Picture

It was definitely a turbulent time in the NFC this past weekend. The 49ers were just able to overcome the Raiders 37-34 and with that win, put themselves into the No.2 seed behind the Vikings who have a 12-4 record. It’s worth mentioning that San Francisco also has a 12-4 record, but own the tiebreaker over Minnesota due to their better record against NFC opponents - they’re 9-2 compared to the Vikings’ 7-4. This is all to say that the 49ers can actually take the No. 1 seed, but they will need to beat the Cardinals in their final game, while hoping for the Giants to beat the Eagles who are on 13-3. Speaking of Philly, the Eagles have lost their last two games due in no small part, to the fact that QB Jalen Hurts has been out injured. The Eagles can of course secure the NFC East title as well as the conference’s top seed if they beat the Giants, while seeing both Dallas and San Francisco losing.

At the bottom, there are still three teams fighting for the wild-card spot: The Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers - all sitting on 8-8 - can sneak in. The Packers control their own destiny, as they simply need to beat the Lions at home and their in. Detroit on the other hand, needs a victory as well as a Seattle loss to clinch a playoff spot, while the Seahawks need to beat the Los Angeles Rams, while hoping for the Lions to take down the Packers At any rate, here’s how things break down:

In a Playoff Spot

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 playoff berth)

7. Seattle Seahawks: 8-8

Still in with a shot

8. Detroit Lions: 8-8

9. Green Bay Packers: 8-8


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