NFL is ending with the start of a new year, and teams are giving it all in their final matches as we head into Week 18.

Week 17 results did not change much in the playoff race though the Bills’ Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest while on duty against the Bengals overshadowed everything.

Hamlin collapsed while playing for his team in the Monday Night Football game, where he received CPR and was later taken to a hospital in Cincinnati. Buffalo Bills announced that he had shown signs of improvement on Tuesday and Wednesday night, though he remains in ICU. Our thoughts at this time are with his friends and family.

The NFL has not indicated when the suspended match will be replayed, and it’s certainly not this week, as the Bengals will play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Buffalo Bill's players after Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest

First, let’s take a look at what unfolded last week before we take a look at Week 18’s fixtures.

Week 17 roundup

The Week 17 results were as follows:

  • Dallas Cowboys 27 @ 13 Tennessee Titans
  • Arizona Cardinals 19 @ 20 Atlanta Falcons
  • Chicago Bears 10 @ 41 Detroit Lions
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 31 @ 3 Houston Texans
  • Denver Broncos 24 @ 27 Kansas City Chiefs
  • Miami Dolphins 21 @ 23 New England Patriots
  • Indianapolis Colts 10 @ 38 New York Giants
  • New Orleans Saints 20 @ 10 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Carolina Panthers 24 @ 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Cleveland Browns 24 @ 10 Washington Commanders
  • San Francisco 49ers 37 @ 34 Las Vegas Raiders
  • New York Jets 6 @ 23 Seattle Seahawks
  • Minnesota Vikings 17 @ 41 Green Bay Packers
  • Los Angeles Rams 10 @ 31 Los Angeles Chargers
  • Pittsburg Steelers 16 @ 13 Baltimore Ravens
  • Buffalo Bills 3 @ 7 Cincinnati Bengals (Postponed)

These are the league leaders going into the final week

  • Kansas City Chiefs (13 – 3)
  • Buffalo Bills (12 – 3)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (11 – 4)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (8 – 8)

The wild-card race involves:

  • Baltimore Ravens (10 – 6)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (10 – 6)
  • New England Patriots (8 – 8)
  • Miami Dolphins (8 – 8)
  • Pittsburg Steelers (8 – 8)

Week 17 saw both the Giants and Buccaneers clinch the playoff spots, while Miami Dolphins faltered against the New England Patriots failing to bag the final AFC wild-card spot. This means the race for the last wild-card spot at AFC will go down to the wire.

The Patriots have an easy post-season route as a win against the Bills in the final match is enough to earn them a playoff spot.

The Buccaneers won the NFC South division for the second consecutive season, earning them a host position for the playoff game, while the Giants defeated the Indianapolis Colts to bag their post-season ticket.

In the NFC, the Washington Commanders’ hopes of securing the final wild card were dimmed by their loss to the Cleveland Browns. And the Green Bay Packers’ hammering of the Minnesota Vikings killed any small chances of the Commanders remaining in the playoff contention. If the Packers win in the last game against Detroit in Week 18, they will move above the Lions and Seahawks in the NFC wild-card race.

The Philadelphia Eagles failed to utilise their home advantage losing to the New Orleans Saints and will rely on Week 18 results for a playoff chance.

Pittsburg remains on the wild-card hunt going into Week 18 after beating the Ravens on Sunday night. They need to beat the Browns in their final game and hope the Patriots and Dolphins lose their games to get a playoff berth.

The Jaguars after two disappointing seasons still have a slim chance of bagging a wild-card slot if all the teams below them in the contention finish at 8-9. They have a better conference record than the Pirates, Dolphins, and Patriots. The Titan’s loss to the Cowboys eliminated them from the race.

Photo from the Cowboys @ Titans game

Heading into Week 18

The Week 18 schedule

Saturday, Jan 7

  • Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders
  • Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, Jan 8

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons
  • New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
  • Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
  • Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
  • Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts
  • New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
  • Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
  • Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburg Steelers
  • New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
  • Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Commanders
  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos
  • Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
  • Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
  • Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Week 18 games to watch

Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders

The red-hot Chiefs may miss the services of kicker Harrison Butker who missed the Wednesday training due to a back injury. But there were welcome returns for L’Jarius Sneed (hip) and Skyy Moore (hand) who both returned to training after missing out on Tuesday.

The Chiefs’ win over the Broncos helped place them ahead of the Bills, whose game with the Bengals was abandoned on Monday night after their safety, Bills Damar, suffered a cardiac arrest.

Before the unfortunate incident, it was expected that this game would have impacted the AFC North standings. With the uncertainty of this matchup, it’s unclear how Week 18 will affect the conference standings. But this could be a tasty matchup, although we expect the Chiefs to win.

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The winner of this match will take the AFC South, making it a high-octane game. Jaguar’s long snapper Ross Matiscik was the only player who didn’t practice in the Wednesday session. This improved from Tuesday’s session, where six players were limited.

Titans linebacker Tarrell Basham was the only missing player during Tuesday’s practice and wide receiver Treylon Burks was added to the limited participants due to a groin injury.

The Jaguars have a slightly better record, but the Titans will be wanting to correct their mistakes against the Cowboys in Week 17, so don’t expect them to just lay down without a fight. Still, we think the Jaguars will edge this one.

Tennessee Titans face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18

For more coverage of the NFL like this Week 18 preview, check out our American Football section.