NFL Playoff Picture 2022-2023 Projections – Postseason Outlook

The 2022-2023 NFL season is heading into the home stretch, and the playoff picture is starting to take shape. With only a few weeks left in the regular season, the jockeying for playoff seeding and postseason positioning is intensifying across the league. Which teams have the inside track for the playoffs and Super Bowl? Let’s break down the NFL playoff picture and project the full postseason outlook.

AFC Playoff Projections

In the AFC, the cream is rising to the top. Here are the current leaders and projected playoff teams:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)

The Chiefs remain atop the AFC thanks to the brilliance of Patrick Mahomes. Despite some midseason struggles, Kansas City still boasts an elite offense and has time to iron out defensive issues before the playoffs.

Projected Finish: 13-4, clinching AFC West and #1 seed

2. Buffalo Bills (9-3)

After reaching the AFC Championship last season, the Bills look poised to contend again behind QB Josh Allen. Buffalo’s well-rounded roster is battle-tested and ready to challenge for the Super Bowl.

Projected Finish: 13-4, clinching AFC East

3. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)

Despite injuries to key players like Lamar Jackson, the Ravens keep finding ways to win with their punishing run game and stingy defense. The postseason experience of veterans like Calais Campbell could prove invaluable.

Projected Finish: 12-5, clinching AFC North

4. Tennessee Titans (7-5)

Powered by the bruising running of Derrick Henry, the Titans remain firmly in the playoff hunt. Tennessee has grinded out close wins all season long, a formula that could work in the playoffs too.

Projected Finish: 10-7, clinching AFC South

5. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)

Led by rising superstar QB Joe Burrow, the Bengals broke their long playoff drought last year and appear headed back again. Another postseason run could be in the cards if the defense continues improving.

Projected Finish: 11-6, Wild Card #5 seed

6. Miami Dolphins (8-4)

The surprising Dolphins have announced their arrival this season behind the arm of Tua Tagovailoa and the speedy receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. First-year coach Mike McDaniel has Miami believing.

Projected Finish: 11-6, Wild Card #6 seed

7. New York Jets (7-5)

One of the NFL’s most surprising teams, the youthful Jets have legitimate playoff aspirations in the AFC. If Robert Saleh keeps this scrappy defense overachieving, New York could be a tough out.

Projected Finish: 10-7, Wild Card #7 seed

On the Bubble: New England Patriots (6-6), Los Angeles Chargers (6-6), Las Vegas Raiders (5-7), Cleveland Browns (5-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7), Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1)

NFC Playoff Projections

The NFC playoff picture has more uncertainty, with several teams still fighting for spots. Here are the leaders so far:

1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-1)

The Eagles have shocked the NFL with their meteoric rise this season behind MVP candidate Jalen Hurts. With an elite rushing attack and turnover-forcing defense, Philly looks like true Super Bowl contenders.

Projected Finish: 14-3, clinching NFC East and #1 seed

2. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

Veteran QB Kirk Cousins is having an underrated season guiding Minnesota’s efficient, balanced offense. The Vikings have faltered in big games before, but could this be their breakthrough year?

Projected Finish: 13-4, clinching NFC North

3. San Francisco 49ers (8-4)

The 49ers have survived QB injuries and inconsistencies to contend on the strength of their #1 defense and playmaking skill players like Christian McCaffrey. The Kyle Shanahan/DeMeco Ryans coaching combo makes them dangerous.

Projected Finish: 12-5, clinching NFC West

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)

Despite internal drama, the Bucs still have Tom Brady, the NFL’s greatest playoff performer ever. If Brady gets hot late in the season, Tampa Bay could defend its title.

Projected Finish: 11-6, clinching NFC South

5. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)

America’s Team looks stellar some weeks but shaky in others. Dak Prescott must get healthy and in sync for the talented Cowboys to make a deep playoff run. The defense features elite players but can be inconsistent.

Projected Finish: 12-5, Wild Card #5 seed

6. New York Giants (7-4-1)

Rookie coach Brian Daboll has transformed Big Blue with a physical running game and feisty defense. Daniel Jones is limiting mistakes and playing like a franchise QB. The Giants are believing again.

Projected Finish: 10-6-1, Wild Card #6 seed

7. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

Pete Carroll is proving he can coach after all, leading the rebuild faster than expected. The Seahawks play tough defense and Geno Smith has had a career revival at QB. Seattle won’t be an easy out if they stay hot.

Projected Finish: 10-7, Wild Card #7 seed

On the Bubble: Washington Commanders (7-5-1), Atlanta Falcons (5-8), Green Bay Packers (5-8), Detroit Lions (5-7), Carolina Panthers (4-8), Arizona Cardinals (4-8), New Orleans Saints (4-9)

AFC Playoff Matchups & Super Bowl Prediction

Based on the current AFC playoff projections, here is how the postseason would shake out:

Wild Card Round

  • (7) NY Jets @ (2) Buffalo Bills
  • (6) Miami Dolphins @ (3) Baltimore Ravens
  • (5) Cincinnati Bengals @ (4) Tennessee Titans

Buffalo’s stout defense ends the Jets’ Cinderella story. Miami makes it close but can’t keep up with Baltimore’s grinding run game. Burrow outduels Tannehill in a shootout.

Divisional Round

  • (5) Cincinnati Bengals @ (1) Kansas City Chiefs
  • (3) Baltimore Ravens @ (2) Buffalo Bills

Mahomes magic finally solves Ja’Marr Chase and the Bengals. Buffalo’s offense proves too much for Baltimore’s defense in bad weather.

AFC Championship

  • (2) Buffalo Bills @ (1) Kansas City Chiefs

An instant classic between the AFC’s two best teams. But Mahomes makes a few more clutch plays at home to lift the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl LVII Prediction: Chiefs defeat Eagles 34-30 for Andy Reid’s 2nd ring.

NFC Playoff Matchups & Super Bowl Prediction

In the NFC, here are the projected playoff results:

Wild Card Round

  • (7) Seattle Seahawks @ (2) Minnesota Vikings
  • (6) NY Giants @ (3) San Francisco 49ers
  • (5) Dallas Cowboys @ (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Vikings take down feisty Seattle at home. San Francisco’s defense stifles Daniel Jones. Brady bests Dallas again in a playoff classic.

Divisional Round

  • (5) Dallas Cowboys @ (1) Philadelphia Eagles
  • (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ (2) Minnesota Vikings

Philly dominates the Cowboys behind Jalen Hurts’ 4 total TDs. Brady outduels Cousins to reach another NFC title game.

NFC Championship

  • (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ (1) Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles finally get past playoff nemesis Brady to advance to the Super Bowl behind home-field advantage.

Super Bowl LVII Prediction: Chiefs defeat Eagles 34-30 for Andy Reid’s 2nd ring.

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Key Storylines for NFL Postseason

As the NFL playoff picture comes into focus, here are the biggest storylines to watch heading into the postseason:

  • Can the Chiefs get back to the Super Bowl for a third time with Mahomes?
  • Are the Eagles ready for the big stage under rising star QB Jalen Hurts?
  • Will this finally be the year Aaron Rodgers returns to the Super Bowl with the Packers?
  • Can Tom Brady continue to defy age and win his 8th ring with the Bucs?
  • Which wild card team could go on a surprise January run like the Bengals did last year?
  • Can a defense like San Francisco’s or Buffalo’s carry a team to a title?
  • How will Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow and other rising young QBs fare in their first/second playoffs?
  • Will coaching legends like Bill Belichick, Andy Reid and Pete Carroll add to their playoff resumes?
  • Which underrated player could become a breakout playoff hero?

Get your popcorn ready — the NFL postseason is going to be a thriller!

Frequently Asked Questions About the NFL Playoffs

Who has clinched a playoff berth so far?

As of now, no team has officially clinched a playoff spot, but the Eagles, Vikings, Bills and Chiefs are on the verge of booking their spots with their strong performances so far. More berths will be clinched in the coming weeks.

How many teams make the playoffs from each conference?

There are seven playoff teams from each conference – the four division winners and three wild card teams. This gives the NFL a total of 14 playoff teams.

What are the NFL tiebreakers for playoff seeding?

The primary tiebreakers are head-to-head record, division record, and record against common opponents. After those, tiebreakers include things like strength of victory and strength of schedule.

Which teams are in the best position for #1 conference seeds?

The Eagles have the inside track on the #1 seed in the NFC, while the Chiefs currently hold the edge for the AFC’s top spot. The Bills or Vikings could make a run at the top spots with strong finishes.

Can teams clinch playoff spots before Week 17?

Yes, teams can technically clinch playoff berths and even division titles before Week 17 if the standings shake out the right way. But most teams clinch in the final two weeks once head-to-head games are decided.

Which potential playoff teams are the most dangerous?

The Chiefs and Bills look like the scariest teams in the AFC. In the NFC, the Eagles, 49ers and Bucs feel like potential juggernauts. Sleeper threats include the Bengals, Cowboys and Dolphins.

What happens if two playoff teams tie – who gets the higher seed?

If two playoff teams have identical records, the tiebreakers work the same way as above – head-to-head, division record, etc. The team winning the tiebreaker gets the higher seed.

The final few weeks of the NFL regular season will determine the playoff field. Check back soon to see how the NFL playoff picture further takes shape on the road to Super Bowl LVII!

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