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Playoff permutations for Division winners, top seed & Wild Card heading into Week 18 of the 2022-23 NFL season

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The NFL playoff probabilities for 2023 are just a little messy heading into Week 18. Looking at the updated NFL postseason bracket coming out of Week 17 means next to nothing.

Outside of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the no. 4 seed and the New York Giants being the no. 6 seed in the NFC, nothing is written in stone. It’s too soon to start thinking about the best NFL postseason games and matchups yet because there is a lot left to be settled.

NFL Playoff Probabilities 2023

Naturally, we wanted to provide you with the latest NFL playoff permutations for 2022-23. Of the 16 games on the Week 18 schedule, 13 of them will have an impact on either who gets into the playoffs or playoff seeding.

In short, the NFL playoff probabilities for 2023 will shift with the results of each of those games. To help you understand what’s at stake in each game, let’s take a closer look at the playoff picture in both in both conferences.

AFC Top Seed

Sadly, the tragic circumstances during Monday’s Bills-Bengals game have further complicated the race for the top seed in the AFC. Ahead of Monday’s game, the Bills controlled destiny, although the Chiefs can take it if they win their finale against the Raiders on Saturday and Buffalo doesn’t win two more games.


At the same time, the Bengals will be the top seed if they can win two more games and the Chiefs lose to the Raiders on Saturday. Of course, how all of this plays out is meaningless compared to the health and well-being of Buffalo’s Demar Hamlin.

AFC South

Things couldn’t be more simple in the AFC South. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans will play a winner-take-all game in Week 18 that the NFL has moved to Saturday night. The winner will claim the AFC South title and be the no. 4 seed in the playoffs.

With a loss, the Titans will be eliminated after what would be their seventh straight loss. However, the Jaguars still have a chance to make the playoffs as a Wild Card if they lose.

AFC Wild Card

Both the Chargers and either the Bengals or Ravens will claim the first two Wild Card spots in the AFC. But the final spot is still up for grabs heading into Week 18, creating the most NFL playoff probabilities in 2023 of any playoff spot.

The New England Patriots find themselves in pole position heading into the final week. With a win, the Patriots will clinch the final playoff spot. However, the Patriots will be visiting the Bills, who will be playing a must-win game in the race for the top seed in the AFC. The Patriots could sneak in with a loss, but only if the Dolphins and Steelers both lose and the Jaguars win on Saturday night.


Meanwhile, the Dolphins are still alive despite losing five in a row and having Tua Tagovailoa’s status up in the air. Backup Teddy Bridgewater is also questionable after leaving last week’s game with a broken finger. After going from 8-3 to 8-8, Miami needs to beat the Jets, a team that beat them 40-17 earlier this season, and hope that the Patriots lose. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers also have a chance to get to the playoffs after winning five of their last six games. But they will need a lot of help. First, the Steelers need to beat the Browns at home. Pittsburgh also needs both the Patriots and Dolphins to lose.

Finally, the Jaguars have slim odds to sneak in as a Wild Card team if they lose to the Titans on Saturday night. For that to happen, the Patriots, Dolphins, and Steelers will all need to lose, giving the Jaguars a four-team tiebreaker with all four of those teams finishing 8-9.

NFC Top Seed

While the Philadelphia Eagles have been the preeminent team in the NFC all season, with back-to-back losses without Jalen Hurts, they still need a win to clinch the top seed and earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a win over the Giants, who are already locked into the no. 6 seed, the Eagles will clinch the top seed.

With a loss, Philadelphia will need both the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers to lose to secure the top seed. If the Eagles lose and the Cowboys also lose, Philadelphia will still win the NFC East, even if they don’t get the top seed.

With a Philadelphia loss, the 49ers have the inside track on the top seed. If the Eagles lose, a San Francisco win over the Cardinals will give them the top seed. If both the Eagles and 49ers lose, the Cowboys will earn the NFC East crown and the top seed if they beat the Commanders. But a Dallas loss will give the Eagles the NFC East and force the Cowboys into the top Wild Card spot.

NFC Wild Card

Two of the three Wild Card spots in the NFC will go to teams in the NFC East with the final spot down to three teams. Two of those teams will play each other in Week 18 to help simplify things.

The Green Bay Packers, on the heels of four straight wins, will host the Detroit Lions, who have won seven of their last nine games.

A Green Bay win will send the Packers to the playoffs no matter what.

The Lions, meanwhile, need to beat the Packers and hope the Seahawks lose to the Rams. At the same time, the Seahawks need to beat the Rams and hope the Lions beat the Packers to make the playoffs.

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