The 2023 NFL common season attracts to an in depth this weekend, with lots to play for, playoff locations on the road, and seedings nonetheless to be decided. Right here, we check out exactly what’s at stake in Week 18…
Dolphins or Payments: Who wins the AFC East?
Arguably, the spotlight of the weekend wraps up the season, with the AFC East title on the road because the Miami Dolphins (11-5) host the Buffalo Payments (10-6) on Sunday Evening Soccer – dwell on Sky Sports activities NFL from 1.20am, Monday.
Although a defeat would see them lose their grip on the division, the Dolphins are no less than assured of a playoff spot whatever the outcome.
The identical cannot be stated of the Payments, nonetheless. They want one of many Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) or Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7) to fail to win their respective video games, or for the Houston Texans (9-7) at Indianapolis Colts (9-7) conflict to finish in a tie.
The Payments will no less than know their destiny heading into the division-decider in Miami, with all of these different video games being performed previous to the season-ending matchup. Will they too be assured of a postseason berth, even with a loss? Or will or not it’s ‘division title or bust’ to up the stakes of their dust-up with the Dolphins?
Who takes wild card spots in AFC?
With it seemingly that the loser of Payments at Dolphins claims one of many two remaining AFC wild card berths – and with the Cleveland Browns (11-5) already locked in at No 5 – it appears set to be a four-way battle of types for the ultimate playoff place within the convention.
These 4 groups are the Jaguars (9-7), present AFC South leaders, fellow division rivals the Texans (9-7) and the Colts (9-7), who conflict in Indy on Saturday night time – dwell on Sky Sports activities NFL, 1.15am, Sunday – and the Steelers (9-7).
A win for the Jaguars on the Tennessee Titans (5-11) on Sunday – dwell on Sky Sports activities NFL, 6pm – will see them clinch the AFC South and a house playoff tie in opposition to the Browns throughout Wild Card Weekend, with the winner of the Texans and Colts then poised to assert the ultimate seventh AFC seeding.
Nevertheless, defeat for Jacksonville would open the door for Colts or Texans to pinch the division crown themselves. And, in that situation, the Jaguars are instantly in peril of lacking the playoffs altogether.
The Steelers would leapfrog them into one of many wild card positions with a victory at AFC No 1 seeds Baltimore Ravens (13-3) on Saturday – dwell on Sky Sports activities NFL, 9.30pm. Pittsburgh might even declare that spot with defeat, supplied the already-eliminated Denver Broncos (8-8) win their match on the Las Vegas Raiders (7-9).
In the meantime, the one situation through which the Colts and Texans BOTH qualify for the playoffs is that if their sport ends in a tie and the Jaguars AND Steelers each lose. In that occasion, Indianapolis would end as AFC South winners on the premise of their superior head-to-head file in opposition to Houston, who would qualify together with Buffalo and/or Miami as a wild card.
Bucs, Saints or Falcons: Who wins NFC South?
The outlook is an entire lot simpler within the NFC, with two playoff spots nonetheless to be determined, one among which is the small matter of who finishes as NFC South champions?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8) are the present clubhouse leaders, and a win on the lowly Carolina Panthers (2-14) on Sunday would verify a third-straight division title.
Subsequent in line are the New Orleans Saints (8-8), who should higher the Buccaneers’ outcome after they host the Atlanta Falcons to be able to oust them in prime spot. Ought to each groups win, there’s the prospect that they each make the playoffs, the Saints as a wild card… however we’ll get to that in a second.
The Falcons (7-9), in the meantime, have zero likelihood of incomes a wild card berth. Their equation is easy: they need to win in New Orleans AND the Bucs should lose to ensure that them to pinch the division crown and a house playoff sport on Wild Card Weekend.
Who claims remaining NFC wild card berth?
Contending for the ultimate wild card berth within the convention are the Inexperienced Bay Packers (8-8), the Seattle Seahawks (8-8), the Saints (8-8) and the Minnesota Vikings (7-9).
The Packers are within the driving seat, understanding that victory at house in opposition to the Chicago Bears (7-9) on Sunday – dwell on Sky Sports activities NFL, 9.25pm – would assure they dwell on to play one other week.
Ought to they fail to take action, it is the Seahawks who would bounce up into that seventh spot with a street win on the Arizona Cardinals (4-12). If each groups are unsuccessful, then a New Orleans win sees them take that coveted No 7 seed (supplied they do not beat Tampa Bay to the AFC South division).
The Vikings, in the meantime, have the toughest path to the postseason forward of them. They should not solely win on the street on the Detroit Lions (11-5), however Seattle AND Inexperienced Bay would each need to lose, in addition to one of many Buccaneers or Saints.
There may be additionally the smallest of possibilities that the Bucs can nab the ultimate spot in the event that they have been to fail to clinch the South, however provided that they tie with the Panthers AND the Seahawks and Packers each lose. Have you ever received all of that?!
What else is there to play for in Week 18?
Nonetheless a good bit. Particularly, loads of jockeying for seeding.
In each conferences the No 1 seeds are no less than sewn up, with the Ravens (13-3) prime canine of the AFC and the San Francisco 49ers (12-4) main the way in which within the NFC, however that is about all that’s confirmed – aside from Cleveland being locked in at No 5 within the AFC, as beforehand talked about, and the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (10-6) at No 3.
So let’s begin over in that convention lets? The Browns are assured to go to the winners of the AFC South on Wild Card Weekend, whereas Kansas Metropolis will certainly host the Dolphins, in the event that they’re crushed by the Payments.
Whereas there’s the chance that Buffalo as an alternative come to Kansas Metropolis ought to the Dolphins win that matchup, in that situation the Chiefs might additionally find yourself internet hosting any one of many Colts, Texans or Steelers, with the Payments probably incomes back-to-back journeys to Miami or possibly dropping out of the playoffs altogether.
Within the NFC, no workforce – aside from the 49ers – is locked in place, though it is wanting very possible that the Lions (11-5) and quarterback Jared Goff host his former workforce, the Los Angeles Rams (9-7) – with their QB Matthew Stafford too heading house to Detroit – over Wild Card Weekend.
That is as a result of there are only a few eventualities obtainable through which the Lions and Rams do not respectively find yourself because the No 3 and No 6 seeds, establishing a postseason assembly.
The one method they keep away from that is if one of many Dallas Cowboys (11-5) and Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) quit the No 2 seed, by each struggling remaining day defeats on the Washington Commanders (4-12) and New York Giants (5-11), respectively, opening the door for Detroit in the event that they beat Minnesota. Additionally, Los Angeles would relinquish the No 6 seed to the Packers (8-8) with a final-day defeat to San Francisco and a Inexperienced Bay win over Chicago.
Extra seemingly although is that the Packers, Seahawks, Saints or whoever claims that remaining NFC wild card berth after which will journey to the winners of the NFC East, which appears set to be the Cowboys barring any late divisional drama, seeing the runners-up – likely Philadelphia – visiting the NFC South champions.
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