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GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws against the the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field on September 15, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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NFL playoff scenarios: Week 18 chaos ahead

The NFL playoff scenarios for Week 18 are wild in both conferences, and we walk you through all the possibilities ahead.


With Monday night’s showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals still to play, there’s a legion oof scenarios at play.

For starters, if the Bills win, they maintain the top seed over the Kansas City Chiefs. However, a Bengals win would slide Buffalo to the No. 3 seed while moving Kansas City to the conference’s top line. Additionally, Cincinnati would clinch the AFC North and a top-three seed at worst, while being positioned as the No. 2 seed headed into the final weekend.

Meanwhile, there are three teams alive for the No. 7 seed, with the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers all hopeful. New England has destiny in its own hands, needing to beat the Bills in Buffalo next Sunday. With a win, it’s in the playoffs. The Dolphins need to handle the New York Jets down in South Beach, and then also see New England lose. For Pittsburgh, it needs to win at home over the Cleveland Browns, and then get losses from the Dolphins and Patriots.

Lastly, the AFC South comes down to a Saturday night tilt in Jacksonville between the Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. The winner is the No. 4 seed and will host a game on Wild Card weekend. If the Titans lose, they’re out of the picture. If Jacksonville loses, it would need the Steelers, Patriots and Dolphins to all lose to become the seventh seed.


The NFC is a bit easier to handicap.

If the Philadelphia Eagles win against the New York Giants — who are locked into the No. 6 seed — at home on Sunday, they’re the top seed. That would also put the Dallas Cowboys into the No. 5 seed.

If Philadelphia loses, the San Francisco 49ers can become the No. 1 seed by beating the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara. The Cowboys can also earn home-field advantage with a win over the Washington Commanders, coupled by losses for the Eagles and 49ers.

Finally, the seventh seed remains up for proverbial grabs. The Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions are all in play. For the Packers, who host the Lions at Lambeau Field, it’s win-and-in. Meanwhile, Detroit needs to win and get a loss from the Seahawks, who take on the Los Angeles Rams. Lastly, Seattle needs to win and see the Lions knock off the Packers.

Got all that?

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