The 2022-2023 NFL season is heating up as teams jockey for playoff positioning. With several weeks remaining, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. Here is an in-depth look at the current 2022-2023 NFL playoff picture projections and postseason matchup outlook.
AFC Playoff Standings Projections
The AFC playoff race is tight this year. Here are the current standings and projections for the AFC playoff teams:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
The Chiefs are in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s #1 seed. Led by MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City has a firm grip on the AFC West division and has shown few weaknesses this season.
Projection: The Chiefs have a relatively easy remaining schedule and are projected to finish 13-4 or 14-3, winning the AFC West and clinching home-field advantage.
2. Buffalo Bills (10-3)
After a shaky start, the Bills have hit their stride behind QB Josh Allen. Buffalo is battling for the AFC East title and a potential first-round bye.
Projection: The Bills should win the AFC East and finish 12-5 or 13-4, good for the #2 seed.
3. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
Despite injuries, Lamar Jackson has the Ravens leading the AFC North. Baltimore’s defense has exceeded expectations.
Projection: The Ravens have a challenging schedule ahead but should hang on to win the AFC North at 11-6 or 12-5, locking up the #3 seed.
4. Tennessee Titans (7-6)
The Titans have struggled with consistency but remain atop the weak AFC South. RB Derrick Henry’s return has provided a spark.
Projection: Tennessee is projected to recover and win the AFC South with a 9-8 or 10-7 record, clinching the #4 seed.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)
The defending AFC Champion Bengals have bounced back thanks to Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. But inconsistencies have cost them.
Projection: Cincinnati is expected to earn a wildcard spot at 11-6 or 10-7, likely as the #5 seed.
6. Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Miami has exceeded expectations behind the emergence of Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins are battling for a wildcard spot.
Projection: The Dolphins should earn a wildcard berth with a 10-7 or 11-6 record, probably as the #6 seed.
7. New York Jets (7-6)
The Jets have surprised many with their turnaround season behind coach Robert Saleh. Rookie runner Breece Hall’s injury hurts their upside.
Projection: The Jets have an outside chance at a wildcard spot but more likely just miss out at 8-9 or 9-8.
NFC Playoff Standings Projections
The NFC playoff picture has clearer separation among the top teams. Here are the standings and forecast for the NFC playoff seeds:
1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1)
The Eagles have shocked the NFL with their dominant play behind QB Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia has already clinched a playoff berth and has its sights set on the NFC’s #1 seed.
Projection: The Eagles will likely finish 14-3 or 13-4, easily winning the NFC East and securing home-field advantage.
2. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
Despite some hiccups, the Vikings have ridden Justin Jefferson’s stellar play to the NFC North lead. Minnesota is hoping to lock up a first-round bye.
Projection: The Vikings should win the NFC North with a 12-5 or 13-4 record, projected to clinch the #2 seed.
3. San Francisco 49ers (9-4)
After trading for Christian McCaffrey, the 49ers have hit their stride and sit atop the NFC West. The defense has dominated opponents.
Projection: San Francisco should hold on to win the NFC West with an 11-6 or 12-5 record, likely securing the #3 seed.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
It’s been an underwhelming season for Tom Brady and the Bucs. But Tampa Bay still leads the weak NFC South and remains dangerous.
Projection: The Buccaneers are projected to recover enough to win the NFC South at 9-8 or 10-7, clinching the #4 seed.
5. Dallas Cowboys (10-3)
America’s Team has played well behind QB Dak Prescott. But Dallas will need to pass Philadelphia to win the NFC East and earn a bye.
Projection: The Cowboys are forecast to go 12-5 or 11-6, snagging a wildcard spot as either the #5 or #6 seed.
6. New York Giants (7-5-1)
Rookie coach Brian Daboll has the Giants exceeding expectations. But New York needs more consistency to secure a wildcard berth.
Projection: The Giants are projected to land a wildcard position at 9-7-1 or 10-7, likely as the #6 seed.
7. Seattle Seahawks (7-6)
The surprise Seahawks have been led by resurgent QB Geno Smith. But Seattle faces competition for the final NFC wildcard position.
Projection: The Seahawks have an outside shot at a wildcard if they can finish 9-8 or 10-7.
Projected NFL Playoff Matchups and Analysis
Based on the current standings and forecast, here is an overview of the projected playoff matchups in the AFC and NFC:
AFC Playoff Matchup Projections
Wild Card Round
- (6) Miami Dolphins at (3) Baltimore Ravens
- (5) Cincinnati Bengals at (4) Tennessee Titans
Analysis: The Dolphins and Ravens would make for an exciting matchup between two dynamic offenses. Cincinnati and Tennessee face off in a rematch of last year’s divisional clash. The Bengals would be favored but the Titans always play tough at home.
- (5) Cincinnati Bengals at (1) Kansas City Chiefs
- (3) Baltimore Ravens at (2) Buffalo Bills
Analysis: This would be a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship. The Chiefs would have home-field advantage but the Bengals would not go down easy. Buffalo and Baltimore both have potent passing attacks and aggressive defenses.
- (2) Buffalo Bills at (1) Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: A clash of AFC superpowers with the conference title on the line. The Bills seek revenge after falling short in overtime last year. But beating Mahomes in Arrowhead would be extremely challenging.
NFC Playoff Matchup Projections
Wild Card Round
- (6) New York Giants at (3) San Francisco 49ers
- (5) Dallas Cowboys at (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Analysis: The Giants’ stingy defense would be tested mightily against the 49ers’ multi-dimensional offense. Dallas and Tampa Bay both have firepower but inconsistencies – the Cowboys’ pass rush could be the deciding factor.
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- (5) Dallas Cowboys at (1) Philadelphia Eagles
- (3) San Francisco 49ers at (2) Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: A rivalry matchup between Dallas and Philadelphia with the NFC East crown up for grabs. San Francisco’s defense against Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson presents a tantalizing showdown. Home field could lift the Vikings.
- (3) San Francisco 49ers at (1) Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: The Eagles have been unstoppable, but the 49ers’ experience and playmakers on both sides of the ball make them formidable. Still, beating Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia would be extremely difficult.
NFL Playoff Picture FAQs
Q: Which teams have already clinched 2022-2023 NFL playoff spots?
A: As of Week 14, only the Philadelphia Eagles have officially clinched a 2022 playoff berth so far. More clinching scenarios can unfold in Week 15.
Q: How many teams make the NFL playoffs?
A: 14 total teams make the NFL playoffs – 7 from the AFC, 7 from the NFC. The top seed in each conference gets a first-round bye.
Q: What is the NFL playoff schedule and format?
A: The playoffs begin with Wild Card weekend on January 14-16, 2023. The NFC and AFC Divisional Playoffs follow on January 21-22. Conference Championships are on January 29, and the Super Bowl is February 12. The playoff format is single elimination.
Q: Which NFL teams are currently on track to make the playoffs?
A: The Chiefs, Bills, Ravens, Titans, Bengals, and Dolphins are currently projected for the AFC playoffs. For the NFC – the Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Giants are on track.
Q: Which teams are on the playoff bubble in the NFL playoff picture?
A: In the AFC, the Jets, Patriots, Chargers, and Jaguars are battling for wildcard spots. In the NFC, the Commanders, Seahawks, Lions, Packers, and Falcons are longshots.
Q: What are the NFL’s tiebreaker procedures for playoff seeding?
A: Tiebreakers prioritize head-to-head record, division record, common opponents record, conference record, strength of victory, strength of schedule, and net points. Coin flips decide any remaining ties.
The Road to Super Bowl LVII
The playoff picture remains fluid with several critical weeks upcoming. But the contenders are firming up in both conferences. The Eagles and Chiefs remain favored to meet in Super Bowl LVII, but challengers like the Bills, 49ers, and Bengals could derail those predictions. As the NFL enters its final month, the jockeying for playoff positioning will only intensify. Strap in for a thrilling sprint to the regular season finish.