The final week of the NFL season kicked off with a doubleheader on Saturday.
The first game of the day took place in Las Vegas, where Kansas City destroyed the Raiders 31-13. It was a huge win for the Chiefs, who have now clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC and the first-round bye that comes with it.
When the week started, the Chiefs weren't in a position to clinch the No. 1 overall seed with a win in Week 18, but that changed on Thursday after the NFL officially decided to cancel the Bills-Bengals game. That cancellation put the Chiefs' in the driver's seat for the top seed and they took advantage of that by beating the Raiders.
Although the Chiefs hold the top seed, there's still a chance they won't host the AFC Championship game. If the Bills beat the Patriots on Sunday and end up facing Kansas City in the AFC title game, then the game will be played at a neutral site. If the Chiefs play any team besides the Bills, the game will be played in Kansas City.
The nightcap on Saturday took place in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars clinched the AFC South title by beating the Titans, 20-16. The victory wasn't clinched until Josh Allen returned a fumble for a touchdown with under three minutes left to play. The win by the Jaguars means that they've now clinched the fourth-overall seed in the AFC and that they'll be hosting a game next week in the wild card round.
With that in mind, here's a look at the current playoff standings following the wins by Kansas City and Tennessee.
AFC playoff standings
|1. AFC West Champion (14-3)|
|Thanks to their win over the Raiders, the Chiefs have officially clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. Although that gives them a first-round bye, there is one catch: If they make it to the AFC title game, that game will be played at a neutral site if they play the Bills (assuming the Bills beat the Patriots on Sunday). On the other hand, if the Chiefs were to host any other team in the AFC Championship, the game would be played in Kansas City. |
|2. AFC East Champion (12-3)|
|Due to the Chiefs win over the Raiders, the Bills can't earn a first-round bye anymore (or the No. 1 seed), but they can still throw a wrench into the AFC playoffs. If the Bills beat the Patriots, that means the AFC title game will be played at a neutral site if Buffalo and Kansas City end up playing each other. A win by the Bills would also eliminate the Patriots. On the other hand, the Bills could drop to the three-seed with a loss to New England and a Bengals win over the Ravens. |
|3. AFC North Champion (11-4)|
|The Bengals are locked into the No. 3 seed as the AFC North champion, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be hosting a wild-card game. If the Bengals lose to the Ravens and end up playing Baltimore in the wild-card round, then the NFL will hold a coin toss to determine which team will host that game. However, if the Bengals beat the Ravens, then they'll get to host a wild-card game. |
|4. AFC South Champion (9-8)|
|The Jaguars are officially in the playoffs! The Jags win over the Titans on Saturday means that they're now headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and just the third time since 2008. The Jags will now host a wild-card game against either the Chargers or Ravens, which could get interesting, considering Jacksonville beat both of those teams during the regular season. |
|5. Wild Card 1 (10-6)|
|The Chargers-Broncos game kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, which is actually a good thing for Los Angeles, because it means there's a chance they might be able to rest their starters. If the Ravens lose to the Bengals at 1 p.m. ET, then the Chargers will clinch the fifth-seed before they take the field and in that case, they could bench their starters. However, if the Ravens win, the Chargers will need to beat the Broncos to clinch the fifth-seed. |
|6. Wild Card 2 (10-6)|
|The Ravens can't win the AFC North, but they can still host a playoff game. If Baltimore beats the Bengals on Sunday and then plays Cincinnati again in the wild-card round, then the NFL will hold a coin toss to determine where the game is played. If the Ravens beat the Bengals, they'll also have a shot to move up to the fifth-overall seed, but only if the Chargers lose to the Broncos.|
|7. Wild Card 3 (8-8)|
|The Patriots currently hold the seventh-spot in the AFC and they can officially clinch it by beating the Bills on Sunday. However, a loss by the Patriots would open the door for the Dolphins or Steelers to get the seventh-seed. The Patriots can get in with a loss on Sunday, but they'd also need the Steelers and Dolphins to also lose.. |
Dolphins (8-8): If the Dolphins beat the Jets on Sunday, they'll get the AFC's final wild-card spot IF the Patriots also lose to the Bills.
Steelers (8-8): For the Steelers to make the playoffs three things have to happen: They have to beat the Browns, the Patriots have to lose to the Bills and the Dolphins have to lose to the Jets.
Titans (7-10): The Titans could have gotten into the playoffs with a win over Jacksonville, but they were officially eliminated on Saturday night after losing to the Jaguars.
NFC playoff standings
|1. NFC East Champion (13-3)|
|Things are pretty simple for the Eagles: If they beat or tie the Giants on Sunday, they'll clinch the No. 1 overall seed and the NFC East. However, if they lose, they could drop all the way down to the fifth-seed. That would happen if the Eagles lose and the Cowboys beat the Commanders. |
|2. NFC West Champion (12-4)|
|If the 49ers beat the Cardinals on Sunday, they'll guarantee themselves at least the second-seed in the NFC and they could move to the top seed if that win is combined with an Eagles loss to the Giants. On the other hand, the 49ers could drop to the third-seed if they lose and the Vikings win.|
|3. NFC North Champion (12-4)|
|The Vikings can't get the top seed, but they can still move up to the two-spot. If Minnesota beats the Bears and the 49ers lose to the Cardinals, then the Vikings will finish as the two-seed in the NFC. Otherwise, they'll be stuck in the three-spot. |
|4. NFC South Champion (8-8)|
|The NFC South champion Buccaneers have clinched the fourth-seed, which means they have nothing to play for on Sunday, so don't be surprised if they bench some of their starters against the Falcons.|
|5. Wild Card 1 (12-4)|
|The Cowboys could still win the NFC East, but for that to happen, they'd need to beat the Commanders AND have the Eagles lose to the Giants on Sunday. If both those things happen, they could also get the No. 1 seed if the 49ers also lose to the Cardinals. On the other hand, If Philadelphia wins, then the Cowboys will be locked into the fifth-seed no matter what else happens in Week 18.|
|6. Wild Card 2 (9-6-1)|
|The Giants have already clinched the sixth-seed, which is a big reason why they're expected to bench most of their starters for Sunday's game against the Eagles.|
|7. Wild Card 3 (8-8)|
|The Seahawks are currently in the seventh-spot, but they're going to need some help to actually make the playoffs. If Seattle wants to get to the postseason, the Seahawks need to beat the Rams AND have the Packers lose to the Lions on Sunday night.|
Lions (8-8): To get to the playoffs, the Lions will need two things to happen: They have to beat the Packers and they'll also need the Seahawks to lose to the Rams.
Packers (8-8): Although the Packers are currently below the Lions and Seahawks in the standings, they're actually the only one of the those three teams that controls their fate this week. If the Packers beat the Lions on Sunday night, they'll be headed to the playoffs.
Wild card round matchups (Based on current standings)
- (7) Patriots at (2) Bills
- (6) Ravens vs. (3) Bengals (Coin flip would determine the location of this game if Baltimore beats Cincinnati on Sunday)
- (5) Chargers at (4) Jaguars
- (7) Seahawks at (2) 49ers
- (6) Giants at (3) Vikings
- (5) Cowboys at (4) Buccaneers