The NFL regular season has ended following the Week 18 games and we now have the official playoff list. Week 18 was wild, setting the stage for the next phase of the competition. Some results had no effect on the playoff picture, while others altered it completely.
The Miami Dolphins bagged the final wild-card berth in the AFC after narrowly beating the New York Jets 11-6. The New England Patriots loss to the Buffalo Bills was just one factor outside of their own victory that aided the Dolphin’s journey to playoffs.
Due to their loss, the Patriots ended their season with disappointment as did the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots losing to the Bills and the Dolphins beating the Jets meant the Patriots finished 14th in the draft, outside the playoffs bracket. The Jet’s loss to the Dolphins also pushed the Steelers to 18th in the standing, eliminating them also.
The Bills didn’t need to win their game, but doing so meant they sit comfortably in the No. 2 seed, earning them a spot in the next round, where they will face the Dolphins.
In the AFC South, Week 18 saw the Jacksonville Jaguars grab a surprise win against Tennessee Titans 20-16 to claim the division crown. The Jaguars are seeded at No. 4 in the playoffs and will be at home against the Los Angeles Chargers in the wild-card round weekend.
On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs who are favourites to win the Super Bowl ran riot against the Las Vegas Raiders 31-13, earning them the AFC’s top seed and a first-round bye. The Chiefs head straight to the divisional playoff round and will be host during the conference championship match if they avoid meeting the Bills.
Despite being out of the playoff picture, the Detroit Lions put up a brave fight to stun the Green Bay Packers 20-16 and eliminate them, gifting the Seattle Seahawks the final playoff spot in the NFC. The Seahawks also helped themselves by beating Los Angeles Rams.
The Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North and find themselves seeded No. 3 in the playoffs. They will play the New York Giants at home in the playoffs.
Other teams in the NFC North were not as successful and were all eliminated from the playoff picture. Detroit Lions’ surprise win at Green Bay Packers wasn’t enough as they were already eliminated. This meant the Lions, Packers, and Chicago Bears bid the season goodbye.
The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up a very impressive season in Week 18 by ending on yet another high note beating the New York Giants, having already clinched the NFC East. They will enjoy home-field advantage in the playoff games and have a two-week rest before playing in the divisional round.
The Dallas Cowboys earned the No. 5 seed in the playoffs and will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round. The No. 6 seed went to New York Giants, who will travel to face the Vikings.
Washington Commanders were the unlucky team in the NFC East, crashing out of the playoff contention in Week 17. They are 16th in the draft.
The Baltimore Ravens bagged the playoff berth with their sixth-seed position and will be up against the Cincinnati Bengals in the next round this weekend.
And finally, the San Francisco 49ers seeded No. 2 in the NFC beat the Arizona Cardinals in their last game of the regular season. The 49ers clinched the NFC West and will face the Seahawks in the next round of the competition. The Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals were both eliminated from the playoff contention.
NFL Week 18 results
- Kansas City Chiefs 31 @ 13 Las Vegas Raiders
- Tennessee Titans 16 @ 20 Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 @ 30 Atlanta Falcons
- New England Patriots 23 @ 35 Buffalo Bills
- Minnesota Vikings 29 @ 13 Chicago Bears
- Baltimore Ravens 16 @ 27 Cincinnati Bengals
- Houston Texans 32 @ 31 Indianapolis Colts
- New York Jets 6 @ 11 Miami Dolphins
- Carolina Panthers 10 @ 7 New Orleans Saints
- Cleveland Browns 14 @ 28 Pittsburgh Steelers
- New York Giants 16 @ 22 Philadelphia Eagles
- Dallas Cowboys 6 @ 26 Washington Commanders
- Los Angeles Chargers 28 @ 31 Denver Broncos
- Los Angeles Rams 16 @ 19 Seattle Seahawks
- Arizona Cardinals 13 @ 38 San Francisco 49ers
- Detroit Lions 20 @ 16 Green Bay Packers
After the Week 18 games, the 2023 NFL playoff bracket looks like this:
- Kansas City Chiefs (BYE)
- Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
- Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
- Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
- Philadelphia Eagles (BYE)
- Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
- New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings
- Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks will battle it out with the San Francisco 49ers in the first playoff match on Saturday, January 14. Jacksonville Jaguars will be next on the field against Los Angeles Chargers on the same day.
Sunday games involve Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills, New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers will wrap up the playoffs on Monday against the Dallas Cowboys. This will pave the way for the divisional round that will take place the following week.
The 14 teams in the playoffs know very well that the Super Bowl is on the horizon and will therefore have to be in their top form to reach the pinnacle on Sunday, February 12.
For more NFL coverage check out our American Football section.