NFL Playoff Scenarios 2022: Latest AFC, NFC Wild-Card Picture and Vegas Odds

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 4, 2022

NFL Playoff Scenarios 2022: Latest AFC, NFC Wild-Card Picture and Vegas Odds

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    It might have been Ben Roethlisberger's farewell to Heinz Field on Monday night, but the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 18 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens may not be the end of the 2021 season for the quarterback and his teammates.

    With a 26-14 win over the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh remained alive in the AFC wild-card race heading into the final week of the regular season. The Steelers will be a long shot to reach the playoffs, but there's still a path for them to do so.

    The Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers currently hold the final two AFC wild-card berths, but neither has clinched yet. That leaves the window open for the Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore Ravens or the Steelers to still make it to the playoffs.

    There's also still one spot up for grabs in the NFC wild-card race. It will go to either the San Francisco 49ers or New Orleans Saints, depending on what happens in Week 18.

    Heading into the final week of the regular season, here's a look at the latest Super Bowl odds, followed by the playoff pictures and scenarios for both the AFC and NFC.

Latest Super Bowl Odds

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Green Bay Packers: +400 (bet $100 to win $400)

    Kansas City Chiefs: +500

    Buffalo Bills: +750

    Los Angeles Rams: +850

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +900

    Dallas Cowboys: +1100

    Tennessee Titans: +1300

    New England Patriots: +1600

    Indianapolis Colts: +1800

    Arizona Cardinals: +1800

    Cincinnati Bengals: +1800

    San Francisco 49ers: +3500

    Los Angeles Chargers: +3500

    Philadelphia Eagles: +5500

    Las Vegas Raiders: +10000

    New Orleans Saints: +15000

    Pittsburgh Steelers: +25000

    Baltimore Ravens: +25000

    Via NFL" target="_blank">DraftKings Sportsbook

AFC Playoff Picture, Scenarios

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    Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Tennessee Titans (11-5)

    No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

    No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) vs. No. 6 Indianapolis Colts (9-7)

    No. 4 Buffalo Bills (10-6) vs. No. 5 New England Patriots (10-6)

    In the hunt: Las Vegas Raiders (9-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1), Baltimore Ravens (8-8)


    The top five teams in the AFC have clinched playoff berths, with the Titans, Chiefs and Bengals having each securing their respective division titles. The Bills and Patriots are in the postseason, but either could still end up as the AFC East champion.

    Buffalo is in control, as it will win the division with a victory over the Jets on Sunday. The Bills will also clinch if the Patriots lose to the Dolphins on Sunday. New England's only path to the crown is with a win and a Buffalo loss, which would drop the Bills to a wild-card spot.

    Four teams could end up as the No. 1 seed in the AFC: Tennessee, Kansas City, Cincinnati and New England. The Titans are in control, though, as they can seal the top spot with a win over the Texans on Sunday.

    If the Chiefs beat the Broncos on Saturday and the Titans lose, then Kansas City will be the No. 1 seed.

    The Bengals could be the No. 1 seed if they end up in a three-way tie at 11-6 with the Titans and Chiefs. But if the Patriots also end up 11-6 (and the Bills fall to 10-7), then they would own that four-way tiebreaker for the top spot.

    As for the wild-card race, the Colts just need a win over the Jaguars on Sunday to clinch a spot. And if that happens, then the Steelers and Ravens will be eliminated from postseason contention.

    The winner of Sunday night's Chargers-Raiders game will get into the playoffs as a wild card. There's a chance Las Vegas could still get in with a loss, but only if Indianapolis and Pittsburgh both lose. Los Angeles will be eliminated with a loss.

    The Steelers need to beat the Ravens and have the Colts lose to the Jags in order to reach the postseason. Baltimore needs to beat Pittsburgh and have Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Miami all lose to get into the playoffs.

NFC Playoff Picture, Scenarios

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    John Hefti/Associated Press

    Bye: No. 1 Green Bay Packers (13-3)

    No. 2 Los Angeles Rams (12-4) vs. No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

    No. 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4) vs. No. 6 San Francisco 49ers (9-7)

    No. 4 Dallas Cowboys (11-5) vs. No. 5 Arizona Cardinals (11-5)

    In the hunt: New Orleans Saints (8-8)


    The NFC has less up for grabs than the AFC in Week 18, and that starts at the top. The Packers have already clinched the No. 1 seed, so the NFC North champions will have a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

    Because of that, the Buccaneers (NFC South champions) and Cowboys (NFC East champions) can only move up to the No. 2 seed. And it's a guarantee they can't fall below the No. 4 seed, so those two teams will be hosting games in the Wild Card Round.

    The Rams and Cardinals are still battling for the NFC West title. Los Angeles will clinch the division crown with a win over San Francisco or an Arizona loss to Seattle, with both games taking place on Sunday. The Cardinals will only win the division with a victory and a Rams loss.

    The Eagles may currently be the No. 7 seed, but they've already clinched a playoff berth. They could move up to No. 6, but that's as far as they can go.

    The final NFC playoff berth will go to either the 49ers or the Saints. San Francisco is in control, as it can clinch that spot with a win over Los Angeles or if New Orleans loses to Carolina.

    The only way the Saints can get into the playoffs is with a win and a 49ers loss. And there are no teams below New Orleans in the standings that are still in the running.


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