5 playoff spots and a number of seeding battles stay, with 32 video games left within the 2022 NFL common season. The doable permutations of how these 32 video games might go are just about limitless. So we’re specializing in one particular state of affairs: chalk.
Utilizing ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index (FPI), we decided the most probably seed mixture in every convention. We then picked a single simulation that yielded that pure chalk playoff seeding to forecast scores for every sport and simulate the postseason. There is a 9% probability the NFC seeds are within the precise order that is written under, and there is a 12% probability of the identical occurring for the AFC. Which may not sound like rather a lot, but it surely’s a reasonably excessive chance for an actual hit; each numbers are increased than after we did this train final season.
So we’ll break down these closing two weeks primarily based on how ESPN’s FPI sees it taking part in out in simulation No. 5,899, which yields the chalk playoff discipline. Who snuck into the playoffs? Who landed the No. 1 seeds? And who fell simply in need of the postseason? Let’s have a look into the FPI’s crystal ball.
Scores: Week 17 | Week 18
Ultimate standings: AFC | NFC
Projected Week 17 scores
DAL-TEN: Cowboys 16, Titans 13
ARI-ATL: Falcons 22, Cardinals 21
PIT-BAL: Steelers 13, Ravens 10
CHI-DET: Bears 37, Lions 29
MIN-GB: Packers 23, Vikings 16
JAX-HOU: Texans 30, Jaguars 16
DEN-KC: Chiefs 45, Broncos 7
LAR-LAC: Chargers 49, Rams 27
SF-LV: Raiders 23, 49ers 16
MIA-NE: Patriots 13, Dolphins 10
IND-NYG: Giants 34, Colts 0
NO-PHI: Eagles 44, Saints 27
NYJ-SEA: Seahawks 13, Jets 6
CAR-TB: Buccaneers 24, Panthers 21
CLE-WSH: Commanders 41, Browns 10
BUF-CIN: Payments 37, Bengals 9
The story of Week 17 is a playoff image that comes barely extra into focus however nonetheless stays blurry heading into the season’s closing week.
Within the NFC wild-card battle, the Giants lock up one spot with a decisive victory over the Colts. However the final wild-card spot stays up for grabs because the Lions stumble — Justin Fields and the Bears’ floor sport drop 37 factors on Detroit’s protection — whereas the Packers, Seahawks and Commanders all choose up wins.
Within the AFC wild-card race, the Dolphins lose at New England, hurting their playoff possibilities. The Jets fall to the Seahawks, knocking New York out of the race.
The Steelers beat the Ravens, which retains Pittsburgh alive. That additionally would have harm Baltimore’s possibilities to win the AFC North … besides the Bengals additionally lose in blowout trend to the Payments, which means that division comes right down to Week 18.
Projected Week 18 scores
TB-ATL: Buccaneers 34, Falcons 17
NE-BUF: Payments 27, Patriots 17
MIN-CHI: Bears 34, Vikings 24
BAL-CIN: Bengals 31, Ravens 25
LAC-DEN: Broncos 41, Chargers 33
DET-GB: Packers 37, Lions 10
HOU-IND: Texans 16, Colts 10
TEN-JAX: Jaguars 30, Titans 6
KC-LV: Chiefs 35, Raiders 27
NYJ-MIA: Dolphins 19, Jets 17
CAR-NO: Saints 21, Panthers 20
NYG-PHI: Eagles 31, Giants 15
CLE-PIT: Browns 20, Steelers 12
ARI-SF: 49ers 31, Cardinals 22
LAR-SEA: Rams 23, Seahawks 16
DAL-WSH: Cowboys 47, Commanders 7
Probably the most notable growth of Week 18? The Packers’ inconceivable run to the postseason after a yr of largely forgettable soccer. Concurrently, the Lions — who seemed like they have been barreling towards a wild-card berth a number of weeks prior — skid to a halt with a three-game dropping streak to complete the season. Inexperienced Bay additionally wanted a Commanders loss, and it acquired it after which some from a Cowboys blowout of Washington.
The Jaguars beat the Titans to win the AFC South crown. The Bengals beat the Ravens to win the AFC North and arrange a rematch the next week — additionally in Cincinnati — within the wild-card spherical.
And the Dolphins, who reduce it means too shut, grasp on in opposition to the Jets to snap a five-game dropping streak and earn a wild-card berth.
Projecting how the AFC performs out
1. Buffalo Payments (14-3)
2. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (14-3)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (12-5)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-9)
5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7)
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
7. Miami Dolphins (9-8)
8. New England Patriots (8-9)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-9)
10. New York Jets (7-10)
11. Tennessee Titans (7-10)
12. Cleveland Browns (7-10)
13. Las Vegas Raiders (7-10)
14. Denver Broncos (5-12)
15. Houston Texans (4-12-1)
16. Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1)
Payments safe prime seed in AFC: Buffalo entered the ultimate two weeks in command of its personal future for the No. 1 seed however with two challengers sizzling in pursuit. The Payments sit at 12-3 — the identical file as Kansas Metropolis however with a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs and a sport up on the Bengals, their Week 17 opponent. For Buffalo, the duty is straightforward: Deal with enterprise and earn a bye. And that is precisely what the Payments do, turning up the offensive warmth to blow out the Bengals 37-9 in Week 17 earlier than caring for the division-rival Patriots in Week 18 by 10 factors to complete 14-3. Josh Allen & Co. can take every week off earlier than their postseason begins.
Bengals beat out Ravens for AFC North: In latest weeks, it has felt inevitable that the red-hot Bengals would win this division over the stumbling Ravens. However after each groups lose in Week 17, it comes right down to a Week 18 contest. And with a wholesome Lamar Jackson again within the fray, that is no gimme for Cincinnati. Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and the Cincinnati offense get it finished, although, dropping 31 factors on the Ravens in a one-score Week 18 contest, giving the Bengals home-field benefit for his or her postseason rematch every week later.
Jaguars come again to steal AFC South crown: It wasn’t fairly. It wasn’t even a .500 file. However the Jaguars steal a division title by sneaking previous the sinking Titans, as Jacksonville delivers the ultimate blow in a 30-6 rout in Week 18. Trevor Lawrence is great as soon as once more for the Jags, whereas the Titans’ Malik Willis-led offense might by no means get going. The win units up a spicy Justin Herbert vs. Lawrence wild-card matchup.
Dolphins cling to playoff spot: After dropping in Week 17 to New England, Miami would not management its future coming into Week 18, needing a win and a Patriots loss to get in. However the two-leg parlay hit: The Dolphins narrowly escape the Mike White-led Jets in a 19-17 win, whereas the Payments knock out New England. Miami makes for a harmful No. 7 seed and units up an thrilling offensive matchup in opposition to the Chiefs within the wild-card spherical.
Projecting how the NFC performs out
1. Philadelphia Eagles (15-2)
2. San Francisco 49ers (12-5)
3. Minnesota Vikings (12-5)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8)
5. Dallas Cowboys (13-4)
6. New York Giants (9-7-1)
7. Inexperienced Bay Packers (9-8)
8. Washington Commanders (8-8-1)
9. Seattle Seahawks (8-9)
10. New Orleans Saints (7-10)
11. Detroit Lions (7-10)
12. Los Angeles Rams (6-11)
13. Carolina Panthers (6-11)
14. Atlanta Falcons (6-11)
15. Chicago Bears (5-12)
16. Arizona Cardinals (4-13)
Eagles lock up No. 1 seed in Week 17: After the Cowboys beat the Gardner Minshew-led Eagles in Week 16, there was very temporary No. 1-seed drama. However the Eagles put that to relaxation rapidly, taking down the Saints decisively in Week 17 to stitch up the highest spot and guarantee some relaxation earlier than the playoffs.
49ers wrestle No. 2 seed from Vikings: The scorching-hot Niners journey up in Week 17, unexpectedly dropping a sport to the Jarrett Stidham-led Raiders. However the door to the No. 2 seed was left ajar by the Vikings additionally stumbling in opposition to the Packers. After which the Vikings endure an upset loss to the Bears within the closing week of the season, which permits Brock Purdy and the 49ers to swoop in for the No. 2 seed with a win over the Cardinals, guaranteeing home-field benefit within the divisional spherical.
Buccaneers grasp on to NFC South crown: Lots hinges on the Bucs’ Week 17 contest with the Panthers. Win? The Bucs are in. Lose? Issues get difficult. However on this case, Tom Brady and the Bucs get it finished, snagging a weak divisional crown regardless of a largely depressing season. The Panthers give them a run for it, however Brady leads a drive for a game-winning discipline aim to provide Tampa Bay the 24-21 determination.
Packers cost into playoffs: Following a 40-33 Week 12 loss to the Eagles, the Packers seemed finished. On the time, the FPI gave Inexperienced Bay solely a 3% probability to succeed in the postseason. However the factor a few 3% probability? It might nonetheless occur, and that is what happens right here. The Packers go on a five-game successful streak to shut out the yr with a 9-8 file — ending with a win over the Lions (whereas the Commanders lose to the Cowboys) to get into the postseason. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers aren’t out simply but.
Cardinals seize No. 1 general draft choose in late-season stunner: Arizona has only a 2% probability to earn the No. 1 general choice coming into the ultimate two weeks of play, however that is exactly what occurs on this simulation. To shut out the marketing campaign, the Texans and Bears win twice, the Broncos win as soon as and the Cardinals lose twice — which improbably ends in Arizona taking that prime choose. It presents all kinds of alternatives and questions on the way forward for the Cardinals’ management and the route of the franchise and, at a minimal, offers the crew an incredible asset to jump-start a rebuild.
What to anticipate within the playoffs
Projected wild-card matchups
(7) Dolphins at (2) Chiefs
(6) Ravens at (3) Bengals
(5) Chargers at (4) Jaguars
(7) Packers at (2) 49ers
(6) Giants at (3) Vikings
(5) Cowboys at (4) Buccaneers
Who goes all the way in which? Nicely, it is only one simulation, however we will let you know the way it performs out in World No. 5,899. The Cowboys knock out the Eagles within the divisional spherical, ending Philadelphia’s large season. That units up the Cowboys in opposition to the 49ers within the NFC Championship Sport, whereas the Payments and Chiefs sq. off in an AFC Championship Sport of two heavyweights. Dallas comes by once more, whereas Buffalo will get its vengeance over Kansas Metropolis for the previous two postseasons. Ultimately … the Payments win the Tremendous Bowl!
Word: ESPN’s Hank Gargiulo and Lauren Poe contributed to this story.