Week 14 of the 2022 NFL season is here, and that means teams are making their final pushes for the playoffs as the regular season begins to wrap up.
This week's slate kicked off on Thursday night with a matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas. The Rams defeated the Raiders 17-16 at SoFi Stadium to move to 4-9 on the season.
The remainder of Week 14 brings some exciting matchups with big playoff implications, including games between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.
Before those games kick off, let's take a look at the current playoff picture.
AFC Playoff Picture
- Buffalo Bills: 9-3
- Kansas City Chiefs: 9-3
- Baltimore Ravens: 8-4
- Tennessee Titans: 7-5
- Cincinnati Bengals: 8-4
- Miami Dolphins: 8-4
- New York Jets: 7-5
- New England Patriots: 6-6
- Los Angeles Chargers: 6-6
- Cleveland Browns: 5-7
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-7
- Las Vegas Raiders: 5-8
- Indianapolis Colts: 4-8-1
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-8
- Denver Broncos: 3-9
- Houston Texans: 1-10-1
NFC Playoff Picture
- Philadelphia Eagles: 11-1
- Minnesota Vikings: 10-2
- San Francisco 49ers: 8-4
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-6
- Dallas Cowboys: 9-3
- New York Giants: 7-4-1
- Seattle Seahawks: 7-5
- Washington Commanders: 7-5-1
- Detroit Lions: 5-7
- Atlanta Falcons: 5-8
- Green Bay Packers: 5-8
- Arizona Cardinals: 4-8
- Carolina Panthers: 4-8
- New Orleans Saints: 4-9
- Los Angeles Rams: 4-9
- Chicago Bears: 3-10
Week 14 Elimination Scenarios
A number of teams could be eliminated from their respective division title races this week. However, let's focus solely on the playoff elimination scenarios.
Had the Rams lost to the Raiders, they would have been eliminated from playoff contention. They remain alive in the race with Thursday's win, though a Seattle Seahawks victory and a New York Giants win/tie this weekend would see L.A. eliminated.
A couple of other teams could also see their playoff hopes die this weekend.
The Arizona Cardinals will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the New England Patriots, a Seahawks win and a Giants win/tie.
Additionally, the Denver Broncos will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, or with:
- A tie plus a New York Jets win/tie.
- A Jets win, plus a Baltimore Ravens win/tie, plus a Cincinnati Bengals win/tie.
- A Jets win, plus a Ravens win/tie, plus a Patriots win.
The Raiders didn't play their best game of the season on Thursday night, and they entered the fourth quarter up 13-3 on the Rams, but a disastrous collapse by the Las Vegas defense on L.A.'s final drive saw it drop to 5-8 on the season.
A defensive pass interference penalty by Raiders cornerback Amik Robertson followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by defensive tackle Jerry Tillery set Baker Mayfield and the Rams up for a game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
Mayfield hit Van Jefferson on a 23-yard touchdown to seal L.A.'s victory and drop the Raiders further out of playoff contention in the AFC.
At this point, both the Raiders and Rams have a slim chance to make the postseason, but both teams enter the weekend slate still alive.
One of the biggest matchups of Week 14 will be contested between the Bills and Jets, two teams vying for the top spot in a tight AFC East that also includes the 8-4 Miami Dolphins and 6-6 New England Patriots.
The Bills and Jets met for the first time this season on Nov. 6, and New York came out with a 20-17 win over Buffalo. If the Jets were to beat the Bills again, they would own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
However, if Buffalo wins, it would create a much larger separation between itself and the remainder of the AFC East at 10 wins. Further, the Bills close out the season with games against the Dolphins, Patriots, Chicago Bears and Cincinnati Bengals, and they should win at least three of those matchups.
With a loss, the Jets would open the door for bubble teams such as the Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers to gain ground in the AFC playoff race. New England holds the tiebreak over New York with two wins against its AFC East rival this year, so the Jets should be desperate for a win.
A significant NFC matchup comes between the 6-6 Buccaneers and 8-4 49ers. Both teams are first in their respective divisions, and they're in danger of losing their spots to the 5-8 Atlanta Falcons and 7-5 Seattle Seahawks, respectively.
Perhaps a more significant angle is that Tom Brady and the Bucs have struggled all season and must turn things around before the playoffs if they want to make a deep run and get past some of the NFC's best.
Brady hasn't missed the playoffs since the 2008 campaign. If he and the Bucs don't make it this season, it would certainly be weird not seeing him take the field for the first time in more than a decade.
Brady has the talent to bring the Bucs to glory, like we saw with last week's 17-16 win over the New Orleans Saints, but if the remainder of the team doesn't at least show signs of improvement, it could be a brutal end to the year.
The Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) remain one game ahead of the Minnesota Vikings (10-2). The Eagles have a tough matchup against the New York Giants (7-4-1), while the Vikings will play the resurgent Detroit Lions (5-7), who have won four out of five.
At this point, the Eagles are going to make the playoffs—it's just a matter of positioning. They'll clinch a playoff berth this week with a win/tie or a Seahawks loss and a 49ers loss. The Vikings, meanwhile, will clinch the NFC North with a win or tie.