NFL Playoff Bracket 2023: AFC, NFC Picture and Super Bowl Predictions

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2023

NFL Playoff Bracket 2023: AFC, NFC Picture and Super Bowl Predictions

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    Patrick Mahomes
    Patrick MahomesChris Unger/Getty Images

    On the final weekend of the 2022 NFL regular season, the last three playoff berths found a home.

    Saturday night, the Jacksonville Jaguars escaped the Tennessee Titans. And on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins—starting a third-string quarterback—snagged the AFC's final spot before the Seattle Seahawks landed the NFC's remaining wild-card bid.

    Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers had a win-and-in scenario, but the Detroit Lions spoiled the evening.

    Ahead is a summary of the AFC and NFC brackets, along with predictions for Super Bowl LVII.

AFC Bracket

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    Jason Sanders
    Jason SandersAP Photo/Lynne Sladky

    The weekend began with a key victory for the Kansas City Chiefs, which routed the Las Vegas Raiders 31-13 to secure home-field advantage—with an AFC Championship asterisk—in the playoffs.

    Miami, however, provided some fireworks on Sunday.

    First, the Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots to give the Dolphins a chance. Then, despite missing both Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater, they clipped the Joe Flacco-led New York Jets. Miami kicker Jason Sanders drilled a last-minute 50-yard field goal in the 11-6 triumph, which ended with a safety as time expired.

    Elsewhere, the Cincinnati Bengals' 27-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens locked in a rematch in Cincy next weekend.


    AFC Bracket

    No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (bye)

    No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars; Saturday, Jan. 14, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)

    No. 7 Miami Dolphins at No. 2 Buffalo Bills; Sunday, Jan. 15; 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

    No. 6 Baltimore Ravens at No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals; Sunday, Jan. 15, 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC)

NFC Bracket

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    Geno Smith
    Geno SmithJane Gershovich/Getty Images

    Another specialist seized the hero role in the NFC, although he almost wound up on the wrong side of that label.

    Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers missed a 46-yarder as time expired opposite the Los Angeles Rams. But in overtime, he landed a shot at redemption after Quandre Diggs' interception. Myers buried a 32-yard attempt to give the Seahawks a 19-16 victory.

    Green Bay still could've made the playoffs, but Detroit scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to upset the Packers 20-16.

    Other notable results were as expected. As the Philadelphia Eagles locked up NFC home-field advantage with a 22-16 victory over the New York Giants, the San Francisco 49ers rolled the Arizona Cardinals 38-13 to land the No. 2 seed.


    NFC Bracket

    No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles (bye)

    No. 7 Seattle Seahawks at No. 2 San Francisco 49ers; Saturday, Jan. 14, 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox)

    No. 6 New York Giants at No. 3 Minnesota Vikings; Sunday, Jan. 15, 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox)

    No. 5 Dallas Cowboys at No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Monday, Jan. 16, 8:15 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN)

Super Bowl Predictions

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    Jalen Hurts
    Jalen HurtsJohn Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Neither side of the NFL appears to have a runaway favorite. Both top seeds—the Chiefs and Eagles—have showed flaws during late-season contests in spite of their 14-3 records.

    And this projection only has one in the Super Bowl.

    Throughout the season, the Chiefs managed to overcome a string of inconsistent games. Second-half cold streaks plagued the AFC West power, and both the Bills and Bengals defeated Kansas City in 2022. Buffalo is instead the choice to emerge from the conference, especially since the AFC Championship would be at a neutral site.

    Philadelphia is starting to deal with injuries at the worst time. However, quarterback Jalen Hurts (shoulder) returned in Week 18 and starting tackle Lane Johnson (adductor) is expected to play in the postseason.

    Without question, the San Francisco 49ers are a serious threat. But this prediction still leans toward the Eagles at home.

    Should that happen, the Super Bowl would feature two explosive offenses. Buffalo's more consistent defense will prove to be the difference, giving the Bills a long-awaited first-ever NFL title.

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