2018 NFL Playoff Projections: Ravens win AFC North, Titans steal wild-card spot

There's only one week left to play in the NFL season, which means we're officially down to our final playoff projection of the year. 

Surprisingly, there's actually a lot to project this week. For one, every single seed in the AFC is up for grabs. Although four of the six playoff spots in the conference have been clinched, we still have no idea where any of those teams will end up. For instance, the Chiefs could get the one seed or they could fall all the way to the five-seed, which would mean playing in the wild-card round. 

There's also the Titans, who could earn the two-seed or miss the playoffs entirely. So what's going to happen in Week 17? Let's get to the projection and find out. 

As always, we're projecting the 12 teams that we expect to make the playoffs using numbers provided by SportsLine.com's Stephen Oh. Basically, Oh simulated Week 17 using his SportsLine computer and we'll be using that data to project the playoff field. 

Without further adieu, let's get to this week's projections. 

Note: Remember, this is a projection based on how we think the rest of the regular season will play out. If you want to see the current playoff standings, click here to see Will Brinson's thorough breakdown of what the playoff race looks like as we head into Week 17.

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AFC Playoff Projection

Projected final record in parentheses

1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4): AFC West Champs

If we learned one thing this week, it's that the computer didn't really seem to care about the Chiefs' loss in Seattle. Despite the loss, the Chiefs are still projected to win the top seed in the AFC and they're also viewed as the AFC team that's most likely to win the Super Bowl. According to the computer, the Chiefs have a 20.64 percent chance of winning it all, compared to 10.08 percent for the Patriots and 6.27 percent for the ChargersChiefs remaining schedule: Oakland.

2. New England Patriots (11-5): AFC East Champs

The Patriots have never made it to the Super bowl after playing in the wild-card round under Bill Belichick, which means Sunday's game against the Jets is huge. With a win over the Jets, the Patriots will clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs and could clinch the top overall seed if the Chiefs and Chargers both lose. However, the computer doesn't see that happening, so the Patriots are going to have to settle for the two-seed. Patriots remaining schedule: NY Jets.

3. Houston Texans (11-5): AFC South Champs

The computer likes the Texans to win the division, but the door is definitely open for the Titans or Colts to steal it. According to SportsLine, the Texans have a 72.2 percent chance of winning the AFC South. However, the Titans (15.7 percent) and Colts (12.1 percent) are still in this and the winner of their game will take the division if the Texans lose to the Jaguars on Sunday. Texans remaining schedule: Jacksonville.

4. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): AFC North Champs

The Ravens might be in the driver's seat for the division title, but they shouldn't park their car in the AFC North's playoff spot just yet, and that's because the computer is still giving the Steelers a fighting chance to win this thing. According to SportsLine, the Ravens have a 74.4 percent chance of winning the division, while the Steelers chances are sitting at 25.6 percent.  Ravens remaining schedule: Cleveland.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4): Wild Card

The Chargers have been locked into the AFC's fifth seed since these projections started in November and the computer is not about to change things now. The only way the Chargers can improve their seeding is if they beat the Broncos and the Chiefs lose to the Raiders, and as you can see, the computer doesn't think the Chiefs are going to lose to the Raiders. The Chargers have just a 12.2 percent chance of winning the AFC West compared to 87.8 percent for the Chiefs. Chargers remaining schedule: At Denver. 

6. Tennessee Titans: (10-6) Wild Card

Sometimes the computer out-thinks itself and I'm pretty sure this is one of those times. According to SportsLine, the Titans have a 56 percent chance of getting the wild-card spot, which basically means the computer is giving them a 56 percent of beating the Colts in Sunday's winner-take-all showdown. Apparently, the computer isn't taking into account the fact that Blaine Gabbert might be starting or that Andrew Luck is 10-0 all-time against the Titans. Titans remaining schedule: Indianapolis Colts.

Just missed: Colts, Steelers

Here's a list of all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Dolphins (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Browns (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Broncos (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Bengals (0.0 percent -- Eliminated) -- Eliminated, Jaguars (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Jets (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Bills (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Raiders (0.0 percent -- Eliminated). 

NFC Playoff Projection

1. New Orleans Saints (14-2): NFC South Champs

The Saints have already clinched the top seed in the NFC, which means they have nothing to play for this week. For Week 17, their starters will be getting some much-needed rest, which might be one reason why the computer loves their chances of winning the Super Bowl. According to the computer, the Saints have a 28.12 percent chance of winning it all, which is more than double the chances of the next closest team in the NFC (Rams have a 14.02 percent chance).  Saints remaining schedule: Carolina.

2. Los Angeles Rams (12-4): NFC West Champs

Although the Rams are being projected to get the second seed in the NFC, that could change if they lose to the 49ers on Sunday. If the Rams lose and the Bears beat the Vikings, then L.A. would fall to third seed, which means they would lose their bye. The computer doesn't think they're going to lose their bye. Rams remaining schedule: San Francisco.

3. Chicago Bears: (11-5) NFC North Champs

The Bears might be the third-seed in the NFC, but the computer still doesn't think they're one of the best teams in the NFL. According to the computer, the Bears are ranked as just the ninth best team in the league, behind obvious teams like the Chiefs and Saints, but also behind other teams like the Seahawks and Steelers. Bears remaining schedule: At Minnesota.

4. Dallas Cowboys (10-6): NFC East Champs

We didn't need a computer to figure out the Cowboys' place in this week's projection. Dallas is locked into the fourth seed for the playoffs, which means their starters should get most of the day off on Sunday when the Cowboys play in New York.  Cowboys remaining schedule: At NY Giants.

5. Seattle Seahawks (10-6): Wild Card

The Seahawks officially clinched a playoff berth in Week 16 with a win over Kansas City, however, that doesn't mean they won't have anything to play for in their season finale. If Seattle can beat Arizona, that means the Seahawks will clinch the five seed and a trip to Dallas. On the other hand, if the Cardinals pull off the upset, then the Seahawks could fall to the sixth-seed and be forced to open the postseason in Chicago. The computer doesn't think the Seahawks will be opening up the postseason in Chicago. Seahawks remaining schedule: Arizona.

6. Minnesota Vikings (9-6-1): Wild Card

There's only one playoff spot up for grabs in the NFC and the computer believes that the Vikings are going to get it. According to SportsLine, the Vikings have a 76.5 percent chance of earning the final wild-card spot in the NFC. Of course, this doesn't mean the Eagles have been left for dead. According to the computer, the Eagles still have a 23.5 percent chance of getting in the playoffs and if we've learned one thing about the Eagles over the past 12 months, it's that they've become really, really good at beating the odds.  Vikings remaining schedule: Chicago.

Just missed: Eagles (9-7)

Here's a list of all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Redskins (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Panthers (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Packers (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Lions (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Buccaneers (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Giants (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Falcons (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Cardinals (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), 49ers (0.0 percent -- Eliminated). 

Wild-Card Round Projection


(6) Titans at (3) Texans

(5) Chargers at (4) Ravens

Byes: Chiefs, Patriots


(6) Vikings at (3) Bears

(5) Seahawks at (4) Cowboys

Byes: Rams, Saints

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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