Week 18 NFL previews: Postseason berths and draft positioning up for grabs

Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert is in a must-win game in Week 18. Photo from USA Today.

For the first time in league history, there is a Week 18 NFL schedule in 2022. Well, technically the 2021 season. In any event, there is an extra week of the NFL season and most NFL matchups in Week 18 will be meaningful for at least one of the teams.

NFL Week 18 Previews

With this being the end of the line, we thought it made sense to off NFL Week 18 previews for every game.

After all, there are still playoff spots available, not to mention playoff seeding on the line. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each game on the Week 18 NFL schedule in 2022.

Chiefs vs Broncos

The weekend begins with a fierce AFC West rivalry game on Saturday afternoon. The Broncos are out, but they will still try to play spoiler for Kansas City.

The Chiefs need to win and hope the Titans lose on Sunday to regain the top seed in the AFC.

Cowboys vs Eagles

This is a rivalry game in primetime, although motivation could be an issue for both teams.

The Eagles know they will either be the number 6 or 7 seed in the playoffs. The Cowboys are also likely to be locked into the number 4 seed, even with a win.

Bengals vs Browns

Cleveland is out of the playoff picture and in danger of losing four in a row to finish the season. Meanwhile, the Bengals are riding high after clinching the AFC North last week.


They also had a lopsided loss to Cleveland earlier this season that they’d like to avenge. Also, if the Chiefs lose on Saturday, the Bengals could improve their seed and potentially host two playoff games instead of one.

Packers vs Lions

Green Bay will be the top seed in the NFC win or lose on Sunday. But the Packers are indicating that their starters will play, as they can rest during the bye week. Plus, they don’t want the humiliation of losing to the lowly Lions.

Bears vs Vikings

There’s nothing at stake in this game but pride between two old rivals.

The Bears have to feel good after last week’s win over the Giants and will probably want some redemption after a disappointing 17-9 home loss to the Vikings a few weeks ago.

Washington vs Giants

Records aside, the Giants look like the worst team in the NFL right now.

Just about everyone in the organization should be worried about their job.

On the other hand, Washington has lost four in a row. In other news, Washington’s new nickname is coming in less than a month, making this the final game for the Washington Football Team.

Colts vs Jaguars

It could not be more simple for Indy, win and get to the playoffs.

But are the rival Jaguars really going to lay down and make it easy for them. Jacksonville was competitive in a 23-17 loss in Indianapolis earlier this season, out-gaining the Colts in that game. That would suggest that the Jags will make the Colts work for the win.

Steelers vs Ravens

If the Colts win, both of these teams will be out of the playoff picture.

But with an Indy loss, the winner of this game has a chance. Plus, these two teams are always happy to battle it out, so we should expect an intense and competitive game.

Titans vs Texans

If the Titans win this game, they will be the top seed in the AFC.

That sounds easy enough, but the Texans won the first meeting 22-13. The Titans also lost to the Jets earlier this season, so nothing should be taken for granted in this game.

Saints vs Falcons

The fact that the Saints are still in the playoff picture is a great accomplishment for Sean Payton given everything that has gone wrong for New Orleans this year.

The Saints still need to hope that San Francisco loses. But a win in Atlanta gives them a chance.

49ers vs Rams

Speaking of the 49ers, they are technically in control of their own destiny.

But they also have to go on the road to play the Rams, who need a win to make sure they clinch the NFC West. That could make things tricky for San Francisco, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo questionable.

Jets vs Bills

A win over the lowly Jets makes the Bills AFC East champs for the second straight season.

But things haven’t exactly played out according to plan for Buffalo this year, so this may not be a straightforward win for the Bills. 

Patriots vs Dolphins

The Patriots know they’re in the postseason, but a win over Miami and a Buffalo loss would give them the AFC East crown and a home playoff game.

They are hoping the Dolphins aren’t particularly motivated after getting knocked out of the playoff picture last week. However, Miami has a chance to sweep the Patriots for the first time since 2000, which could keep the Dolphins motivated to win this game.

Read more: Why did the NFL introduce a 17-game regular season? 

Seahawks vs Cardinals

The Cardinals seemed to break out of their funk last week, so they will try to keep it going ahead of the playoffs.

Arizona can still win the NFC West but needs the Rams to lose. But if the Cardinals are playing anywhere close to their best, they are dangerous no matter where they’re playing.

Panthers vs Buccaneers

The Bucs were lucky to escape with a win against the Jets last week, so they may have taken their foot off the gas just a little.

Tampa knows that the Packers have already clinched the top seed in the NFC, so the Bucs don’t have much on the line this week except for fighting with the Rams over the no. 2 and no. 3 seeds.

Chargers vs Raiders

The NFL flexed this game into primetime because it’ll likely be a win-or-go-home situation between the two AFC West rivals.

Presumably, the Colts will beat the Jaguars, giving the winner of this game the final playoff spot in the AFC and sending the loser home. Technically, if the Colts lose, these two teams could purposefully play to a tie and claim the final two spots. But here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Follow us on social media

About Bryan Zarpentine 250 Articles
Bryan Zarpentine is a freelance writer and editor with most of his work focusing on the world of sports. He is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and still resides in upstate New York.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply