NFL Playoff Picture 2022-2023 Projections – Postseason Matchups Outlook

The 2022 NFL regular season is heading into the home stretch, and the playoff picture is coming into focus. With less than a month left, the jockeying for playoff seeding and postseason positioning is intensifying across the league.

In this comprehensive guide, we analyze the current AFC and NFC standings and project the likeliest playoff matchups. Which teams have the inside track for the #1 seeds and first-round byes? Who will grab the wild card spots up for grabs? What are the most intriguing potential Super Bowl showdowns on the horizon?

Read on for a full breakdown of the developing NFL playoff picture and an outlook on the upcoming postseason.

Current AFC Standings and Playoff Matchup Projections

AFC East Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| Buffalo Bills | 9-3 | 3-1 | 6-3 |
| Miami Dolphins | 8-4 | 3-1 | 6-3 |
| New York Jets | 7-5 | 2-2 | 4-5 |
| New England Patriots | 6-6 | 2-2 | 6-3 |

The Bills have rebounded impressively after a shaky 2-2 start and now have a stranglehold on the AFC East. Josh Allen is an MVP frontrunner guiding one of the NFL’s most potent offenses. The Dolphins are battling admirably through QB uncertainty but likely need to focus on a wild card spot. After a feel-good start, the Jets have faded fast, while the longtime division champ Patriots are on the playoff bubble.

AFC North Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| Baltimore Ravens | 8-4 | 2-2 | 5-4 |
| Cincinnati Bengals | 8-4 | 3-2 | 6-3 |
| Cleveland Browns | 5-7 | 2-1 | 4-5 |
| Pittsburgh Steelers | 5-7 | 1-2 | 4-5 |

This division is still wide open, with the Bengals and Ravens tied atop the standings. The defending AFC champion Bengals are surging behind Joe Burrow’s brilliance. Lamar Jackson’s health is the key question for Baltimore. Neither Cleveland nor Pittsburgh will repeat last year’s playoff runs.

AFC South Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| Tennessee Titans | 7-5 | 3-1 | 6-3 |
| Indianapolis Colts | 4-8-1 | 2-2-1 | 4-5-1 |
| Jacksonville Jaguars | 4-8 | 1-3 | 3-7 |
| Houston Texans | 1-10-1 | 1-2-1 | 1-7-1 |

After trading AJ Brown, the Titans have struggled offensively but still lead a weak division. Indy’s season has gone off the rails. The Jaguars show promise behind Trevor Lawrence but aren’t ready to contend. Houston is vying for the #1 overall draft pick.

AFC West Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| Kansas City Chiefs | 9-3 | 3-1 | 7-2 |
| Los Angeles Chargers | 6-6 | 2-2 | 5-4 |
| Las Vegas Raiders | 5-7 | 2-2 | 5-4 |
| Denver Broncos | 3-9 | 0-4 | 2-7 |

Patrick Mahomes has the Chiefs cruising towards another division title, though the offense lacks its usual explosiveness. Justin Herbert’s Chargers are underachieving but still alive. Vegas is similarly disappointing after last year’s playoffs. Russell Wilson’s arrival sparked Denver early before a complete collapse.

AFC Wild Card Standings

| Team | Record |
|-|-|
| Miami Dolphins | 8-4 |
| New York Jets | 7-5 |
| New England Patriots | 6-6 |
| Cincinnati Bengals | 8-4 |
| Baltimore Ravens | 8-4 |
| Los Angeles Chargers | 6-6 |

With the Bills likely claiming one wild card spot, the Dolphins currently hold the edge for the other, but the Jets and Patriots remain in the hunt. The Ravens or Bengals will take the third spot as division runner-up. The Chargers cling to the seventh seed but need a late push.

Projected AFC Playoff Matchups

Wild Card Round:

  • (7) Chargers @ (2) Bills
  • (6) Ravens @ (3) Bengals
  • (5) Jets @ (4) Chiefs

Divisional Round:

  • Lowest remaining seed @ (1) Bills/Chiefs
  • Highest remaining seed @ (1) Bills/Chiefs

AFC Championship:

  • TBD @ TBD

The Bills and Chiefs are on a collision course for the #1 seed and home field. Buffalo likely needs to hold off Miami for the East title. The Bengals hope to fend off Baltimore for the North. The wild cards appear totally up for grabs. Justin Herbert could lead a late L.A. charge. An Allen vs Mahomes title game would be epic.

Current NFC Standings and Playoff Matchup Projections

NFC East Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| Philadelphia Eagles | 11-1 | 3-1 | 8-0 |
| Dallas Cowboys | 9-3 | 4-0 | 6-2 |
| New York Giants | 7-4-1 | 3-2-1 | 6-3 |
| Washington Commanders | 7-5-1 | 2-2 | 5-4-1 |

The Eagles have been the NFL’s most dominant team behind the leap of Jalen Hurts. Dallas is staying afloat thanks to its staunch defense but lacks offensive punch. Saquon Barkley has the Giants exceeding expectations. The Commanders are clinging to the wild card mix.

NFC North Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| Minnesota Vikings | 10-2 | 3-0 | 7-2 |
| Detroit Lions | 5-7 | 2-1 | 5-4 |
| Green Bay Packers | 4-8 | 1-3 | 3-7 |
| Chicago Bears | 3-10 | 0-4 | 2-8 |

Despite Kirk Cousins’s critics, the Vikings have run away with this division behind explosive WR duo Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. The Lions are feisty behind rising coach Dan Campbell. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have utterly collapsed. Chicago is eyeing a top draft pick.

NFC South Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 6-6 | 2-1 | 4-5 |
| Atlanta Falcons | 5-8 | 1-3 | 3-7 |
| New Orleans Saints | 4-9 | 2-2 | 4-6 |
| Carolina Panthers | 4-8 | 1-3 | 4-5 |

Tom Brady’s Bucs still top the worst division in football, but their offense has sputtered. Atlanta remains gamely competitive behind breakout RB Tyler Allgeier. Injuries have crushed the Saints. Carolina is playing for next year after trading Christian McCaffrey.

NFC West Standings

| Team | Record | Division Record | Conference Record |
|-|-|-|-|
| San Francisco 49ers | 8-4 | 3-1 | 6-4 |
| Seattle Seahawks | 7-5 | 2-2 | 5-4 |
| Arizona Cardinals | 4-8 | 1-3 | 3-7 |
| Los Angeles Rams | 3-9 | 0-4 | 2-7 |

The 49ers lead the West again thanks to their lethal defense and playmaking by Christian McCaffrey. Seattle is ahead of schedule in its rebuild led by Geno Smith. Injuries have wrecked Arizona. The Super Bowl champion Rams have fallen apart.

NFC Wild Card Standings

| Team | Record |
|-|-|
| Dallas Cowboys | 9-3 |
| New York Giants | 7-4-1 |
| Washington Commanders | 7-5-1 |
| Seattle Seahawks | 7-5 |
| Detroit Lions | 5-7 |
| Green Bay Packers | 4-8 |

The Cowboys and Giants look likely to grab the two wild cards, though Washington still has a chance. Seattle leads the scrappy Lions and fading Packers in the race for the third spot.

Projected NFC Playoff Matchups

Wild Card Round:

  • (7) Lions @ (2) Vikings
  • (6) Giants @ (3) 49ers
  • (5) Cowboys @ (4) Buccaneers

Divisional Round:

  • Lowest remaining seed @ (1) Eagles
  • Highest remaining seed @ (1) Eagles

NFC Championship:

  • TBD @ TBD

The Eagles have the inside track to the #1 seed, while the Vikings should hold on in the North. The 49ers and Bucs are likely division winners. Dallas seems destined for a playoff rematch with Brady’s Buccaneers. An Eagles-49ers title game would be a collision of elite defenses.

Early Super Bowl Matchup Predictions

Based on the current AFC and NFC playoff projections, the most likely Super Bowl LVII showdowns include:

  • Bills vs. Eagles: This battle of MVP candidates Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts would pit the AFC’s and NFC’s most complete teams. Both are loaded with playmakers on both sides of the ball. It would be an epic offensive shootout.
  • Chiefs vs. Eagles: Patrick Mahomes trying to solve the Philly defense would make for riveting theater. The Chiefs likely need to recapture their offensive dominance to return to the summit.
  • Bills vs. Cowboys: This rematch of the 1990s Super Bowl rivalry would feature elite defenses leading the way. It would likely come down to whether Dallas can keep pace on the scoreboard.
  • Chiefs vs. 49ers: Andy Reid facing his former team with a Lombardi Trophy on the line seems fitting. Could the Niners defense slow Mahomes with everything at stake?

As December unfolds, the playoff picture will come into sharper focus. For now, those look like the most tantalizing potential Super Bowl matchups on the horizon. With several divisions still unsettled and key seeds up for grabs, the tournament is sure to bring more stunning twists and turns before a champion is crowned.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the 2022-2023 NFL Playoffs

Which NFL teams have already clinched playoff spots?

As of Week 14, no NFL teams have officially clinched postseason berths yet. The 11-1 Eagles have a virtual stranglehold on an NFC playoff spot and the 10-2 Vikings are in a similarly commanding position. But no clubs have mathematically booked their place yet.

What are the current NFL playoff standings?

In the AFC, the Bills lead the East, Ravens and Bengals are tied atop the North, Titans lead the South, and Chiefs lead the West. For wild cards, it’s Dolphins, Jets, Patriots in the AFC. In the NFC, the Eagles have the East clinched, Vikings lead the North, Bucs lead the South, and 49ers lead the West. Cowboys and Giants hold the NFC wild cards currently.

Which NFL divisions are still up for grabs?

The AFC North and AFC West remain hotly contested. The 8-4 Ravens and Bengals are deadlocked atop the North. In the West, the 9-3 Chiefs have a slim lead over the Chargers. Over in the NFC, the Buccaneers’ NFC South lead is vulnerable with several teams in striking distance.

What is the playoff format for the NFL postseason?

The NFL playoffs consist of 14 teams, 7 from each conference. The 4 division winners make it, and 3 wild card teams. The top seed in each conference gets a first-round bye. Wild card weekend has six games, with the lowest two seeds in each conference playing, followed by the divisional round then conference championships.

When do the NFL playoffs start in 2023?

The NFL wild card round takes place on the weekend of January 14-15, 2023. The divisional round follows on the weekend of January 21-22. The AFC and NFC conference championship games are on January 29. Super Bowl LVII is scheduled for February 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

Which teams are currently on track to get first-round byes?

In the AFC, the Bills are the likeliest #1 seed thanks to leading the East. But the Chiefs have a shot if they hold off the Chargers in the West. For the NFC, the Eagles have the inside track for the #1 seed and bye after their dominant season so far.

Who are the top candidates for Super Bowl LVII?

The Bills, Chiefs and Eagles are the clear frontrunners right now. The Bills and Chiefs have the playoff pedigree and star power, led by elite QBs Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. But the Eagles have been nearly unstoppable this year. Other contenders include the 49ers, Cowboys, Bengals, and Vikings.

As the final stretch of the NFL regular season arrives, the playoff picture will come into sharper focus. The league’s top contenders will jockey for division titles, battle for wildcard spots, and positioning themselves for the best playoff seeding possible. With several exciting potential playoff showdowns and Super Bowl matchups on the horizon, the road to Super Bowl LVII is poised to feature some spectacular postseason football.

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