NFL Playoff Picture 2022: AFC, NFC Brackets, Scenarios and Championship Odds

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2022

NFL Playoff Picture 2022: AFC, NFC Brackets, Scenarios and Championship Odds

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The first wins—and losses—of the 2022 NFL playoffs are coming Saturday.

    It's the first of a now three-day Wild Card Weekend, featuring two clashes Saturday, three more Sunday and a final one Monday.

    As soon as that opening contest kicks, though, it will feel like a mad dash to Super Bowl LVI.

    Before the sprint starts, then, let's break down the playoff field by laying out the bracket and latest Super Bowl odds, then previewing all six wild card contests.

Playoff Bracket

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    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    AFC

    No. 1 Tennessee Titans: Bye

    No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs

    No. 6 New England Patriots at No. 3 Buffalo Bills

    No. 5 Las Vegas Raiders at No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals

                      

    NFC

    No. 1 Green Bay Packers: Bye

    No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 Dallas Cowboys

    No. 5 Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams

Super Bowl Odds

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    Lon Horwedel/Associated Press

    Green Bay Packers: +380 (Bet $100 to win $380)

    Kansas City Chiefs: +450

    Buffalo Bills: +800

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +800

    Tennessee Titans: +850

    Los Angeles Rams: +1000

    Dallas Cowboys: +1200

    Cincinnati Bengals: +1800

    San Francisco 49ers: +2000

    New England Patriots: +2200

    Arizona Cardinals: +2500

    Las Vegas Raiders: +6000

    Philadelphia Eagles: +6000

    Pittsburgh Steelers: +9000

Wild Card Preview

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    This is the league responsible for the "any given Sunday" cliche, so you never want to say things can't happen, but the two No. 7 seeds will have a tough time staying in their games. The Steelers just don't have the weaponry to keep pace with the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs, and it's the same story for the Eagles against Tom Brady and the Bucs, who also have the rough defense to neutralize Philly's greatest strengths.

    The two 3-6 matchups could be good, though.

    If 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and their front seven can dictate the terms of engagement, they can poke holes in the Cowboys' rushing game (on offense and defense) and limit the possessions that Dak Prescott and this fiery passing attack gets. But if Dallas starts pulling ahead and puts Jimmy Garoppolo in obvious passing situations, NFL interception leader Trevon Diggs and this opportunistic defense could have a field day.

    In the AFC, this is round three for division rivals Buffalo and New England. The Patriots drew first blood in a game so windy, they only asked rookie quarterback Mac Jones to throw three times—and still escaped with a 14-10 triumph. The Bills scored a 33-21 win three weeks later, as Josh Allen delivered 314 passing yards and three scores. The elements could loom large in this contest again, though, as it's forecast to be single digits by Sunday night in Buffalo—and feel even colder.

    Wrapping with the 4-5 games, Arizona's second-half swoon (1-4 in its last five) and DeAndre Hopkins' absence (knee) cloud over the Cardinals. Of course, Matthew Stafford hasn't been razor-sharp down the stretch either, and the last thing the Rams want to do is give Kyler Murray extra chances.

    The Raiders (Derek Carr) and Bengals (Joe Burrow) both follow the leads of first-time playoff quarterbacks, so they won't know the impact of the bright lights until they illuminate. Las Vegas' pass-rusher Maxx Crosby could make things interesting, but if Burrow has time to throw, he is surrounded by more playmakers than Carr has.

                 

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.


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