NFL Playoffs 2021-22: Bracket Predictions, Odds for AFC and NFC Before Week 17

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 29, 2021

NFL Playoffs 2021-22: Bracket Predictions, Odds for AFC and NFC Before Week 17

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    With only two weeks to go in the NFL regular season, eight of the 14 playoff berths are still up for grabs. And six of those are in the AFC, as the Kansas City Chiefs (the AFC West champions) are the only team in the conference that has secured its spot in the postseason thus far.

    There's the potential for plenty of berths to be clinched in Week 17. However, not every spot is going to be secured, as there will be battles that won't be decided until Week 18 in the longest season in NFL history.

    In addition to the Chiefs, five NFC teams have already clinched playoff berths: the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals. The first three are division champions, while the Rams and Cardinals continue to compete for the NFC West title.

    Heading into the penultimate week of the regular season, here are the latest Super Bowl odds and predictions for how things will shake out over the next two weeks.

Current Super Bowl Odds

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Kansas City Chiefs: +400 (bet $100 to win $400)

    Green Bay Packers: +450

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +750

    Los Angeles Rams: +850

    Buffalo Bills: +850

    Dallas Cowboys: +1000

    New England Patriots: +1400

    Indianapolis Colts: +1600

    Tennessee Titans: +1800

    Arizona Cardinals: +2200

    Cincinnati Bengals: +2800

    San Francisco 49ers: +3500

    Los Angeles Chargers: +5000

    Baltimore Ravens: +5000

    Philadelphia Eagles: +7000

    New Orleans Saints: +10000

    Cleveland Browns: +13000

    Miami Dolphins: +13000

    Minnesota Vikings: +15000

    Las Vegas Raiders: +15000

    Pittsburgh Steelers: +20000

    Atlanta Falcons: +50000

    Denver Broncos: +50000

    Washington Football Team: +50000

    Via DraftKings Sportsbook

AFC Playoff Picture, Predictions

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    Justin Rex/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)

    No. 2 Tennessee Titans (10-5) vs. No. 7 Miami Dolphins (8-7)

    No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) vs. No. 6 New England Patriots (9-6)

    No. 4 Buffalo Bills (9-6) vs. No. 5 Indianapolis Colts (9-6)

    In the hunt: Los Angeles Chargers (8-7), Las Vegas Raiders (8-7), Baltimore Ravens (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1), Cleveland Browns (7-8), Denver Broncos (7-8)


    1. Kansas City

    2. Tennessee

    3. Buffalo

    4. Cincinnati

    5. Indianapolis

    6. New England

    7. Los Angeles

    While the Titans, Bills and Bengals haven't yet clinched playoff berths heading into Week 17, that should soon change. And it's highly likely that each team will win its respective division, as all three are in control with only two regular-season games still to play.

    Buffalo should have no trouble clinching the AFC East this week. The Bills have a home matchup against the Falcons, and they're coming off a big win over the Patriots that moved them into first place in the division. Buffalo will take care of business in Week 17.

    As for Tennessee and Cincinnati, each may have to wait until Week 18 to win its respective divisions.

    The Titans are hosting the red-hot Dolphins this week, which should be a difficult matchup. Miami, which has won seven straight games, is playing well defensively, and it could make things tough on Tennessee. However, the Titans need only one win to capture the AFC South title, and they'll get that by beating the Texans in Week 18.

    The Bengals have a challenging Week 17 matchup, as they're hosting the Chiefs, who have won eight straight games and are looking to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Cincinnati may not win this week, but it will beat Cleveland in Week 18 to secure the AFC North title.

    The Colts and Patriots may fall short in their respective division races, but neither should have trouble securing a wild-card berth. Both teams have played well throughout the regular season and have winnable matchups the rest of the way.

    As for the No. 7 seed, the Chargers will emerge from the quartet of 8-7 teams to capture the final wild-card berth in the AFC. Los Angeles closes the regular season with divisional matchups against Denver and Las Vegas, and after a surprising Week 16 loss to Houston, it will bounce back and earn two straight wins.

    The Chargers will get key players back from the reserve/COVID-19 list over the next two weeks, which will help them finish strong and get into the postseason for the first time since the 2018 season.

NFC Playoff Picture, Predictions

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Green Bay Packers (12-3)

    No. 2 Dallas Cowboys (11-4) vs. No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles (8-7)

    No. 3 Los Angeles Rams (11-4) vs. No. 6 San Francisco 49ers (8-7)

    No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-4) vs. No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

    In the hunt: Minnesota Vikings (7-8), Atlanta Falcons (7-8), New Orleans Saints (7-8), Washington Football Team (6-9)


    1. Green Bay

    2. Tampa Bay

    3. Dallas

    4. Los Angeles

    5. Arizona

    6. San Francisco

    7. Philadelphia

    The top five teams in the NFC have already clinched playoff berths, so they're mostly just battling for seeding over the final two weeks of the regular season. And it's unlikely that any team will unseat the Packers from the top spot.

    Green Bay closes the regular season with matchups against Minnesota and Detroit, a pair of NFC North rivals with sub-.500 records. The Packers shouldn't lose again as they'll secure the No. 1 seed.

    The NFC West title race could be decided in Week 17. The Rams should go on the road and beat the Ravens, while the Cardinals have a difficult road matchup against the Cowboys. The prediction here is that Los Angeles will capture the division crown this week.

    After losing to the Titans in Week 16, the 49ers should bounce back and secure a wild-card berth by winning their final two games. They have a winnable matchup against the Texans this week, and in Week 18 they'll take on the Rams, who could be resting starters if they've already clinched the NFC West.

    The Eagles have a one-game advantage over the three teams just outside of an NFC wild-card berth, so they control their own destiny down the stretch. In Week 17, Philadelphia has a favorable road matchup against Washington, which it should have no trouble winning.

    In Week 18, the Eagles will host the Cowboys. Considering Dallas may have nothing to play for and Philadelphia will be looking to secure a wild-card berth, this is a game that will likely go in the Eagles' favor, given the circumstances.

    So don't expect any major shakeups in the NFC over the next two weeks, as San Francisco and Philadelphia should hold onto the final two playoff berths.

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