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NFL Week 18 Playoff Implications: Who Can Still Make Post Season?

The NFL regular season reaches its exciting climax this weekend, so we take a look at which teams can still make the post season with plenty still to play for in week 18.

Who Has Already Qualified for The NFL Post Season?

The winners of both the NFC and AFC have already been confirmed as we go into the final weekend of the season – as the Baltimore Ravens and San Fransisco 49ers both clinched top spot in their respective conferences.

The Ravens and 49ers winning their division earned the sides home advantage in their first post season match, as well as a first-round bye following their impressive campaigns.

The Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns have all secured a playoff birth from the AFC, leaving three spots remaining for the five teams left to fight for.

In the NFC it is the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams who join the San Fransisco 49ers in the post season, with two spots still available going into the final game of the campaign.

NFL Week 18 Playoff Picture

With nine teams already confirming their places in the post season, there are just five spots left to fight for this weekend in the final games of the 2023 regular season.

There are 11 teams that can still mathematically make the playoffs this year as well as five Division titles up for grabs, so there is certainly everything still to play for.

AFC South

The AFC South is still very much up for grabs, with three of the four teams in the division still mathematically able to qualify for the post season going into the final weekend.

The Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts all currently sit on 9-7 records, with the three teams needing a win to clinch a playoff spot or the Division title. (Jacksonville win Division regardless if they win out).

Houston will face the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon in a winner takes all clash at Lucas Oil Stadium, while the Jaguars take on the already eliminated Tennessee Titans.

AFC North

There is just one side who can still qualify to the playoffs from the AFC North along with Baltimore and Cleveland, as the Steelers need to win against the Ravens on the road to earn a chance of making the post season.

What Pittsburgh needs to make the playoffs:

  • Steelers win + Bills loss OR
  • Steelers win + Jaguars loss or tie OR
  • Steelers win + Texans-Colts tie OR
  • Steelers win + Jaguars loss + Texans-Colts doesn’t end in a tie OR
  • Jaguars loss + Broncos win + Texans-Colts doesn’t end in a tie

AFC East

The AFC East is still up for grabs this year, as Buffalo take on Miami in a crucial matchup with the winner securing the Division heading into the post season.

If the Dolphins win then they will secure the AFC East division, but they have already secured playoffs regardless of the result this weekend. The Bills will still secure a spot in the playoffs if the Steelers or Jaguars lose in week 18.

NFC West

There is just one side who can still qualify for the playoffs from the NFC West, with the Seattle Seahawks needing a win against the Arizona Cardinals for a chance at extending their season.

The Seahawks would also need Green Bay to lose to Chicago to guarantee a playoff birth.

NFC North

The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers can both still qualify for the postseason this year, although a playoff spot is much more likely for the Packers who just need a win against Chicago to keep their season alive.

Minnesota on the other hand have to win against Division champions Detroit and hope that Tampa Bay lose to the Carolina Panthers to secure a playoff spot.

NFC South 

Tampa Bay just need to beat the Panthers on Sunday to secure a playoff birth, which shouldn’t be too difficult against a franchise with the worst record in the NFL this season.

The New Orleans Saints need to win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and hope that the Packers and the Seahawks both lose in order to make the playoffs.

Atlanta have even less of a chance to continue their season after Sunday, as they need to win against New Orleans and hope Tampa Bay lose against Carolina to secure the NFC south division.

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