The 2022-2023 NFL season is heading into the final stretch, and the playoff picture is starting to take shape. With several divisions and wild card spots still up for grabs, the postseason bracket remains unclear. This comprehensive guide takes an in-depth look at the current standings and remaining schedules to project the most likely playoff matchups.
AFC Playoff Picture
The Buffalo Bills have firmly established themselves as the class of the AFC East with a 9-3 record. Led by MVP candidate Josh Allen, the Bills look poised to capture their third straight division title.
The Miami Dolphins (8-4) have exceeded expectations in Mike McDaniel’s first year as head coach. Thanks to the emergence of Tua Tagovailoa and the addition of Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins are surging towards an AFC wild card spot.
After a promising start, the New York Jets (7-5) have faded down the stretch. Still, they remain in contention for a wild card berth. Second-year quarterback Zach Wilson’s development remains a question mark.
At the bottom of the division, the New England Patriots (6-6) have struggled to find consistency. The offense lacks playmakers, putting pressure on the defense to keep games close. Bill Belichick will need to right the ship to challenge for a playoff spot.
Projected AFC East Winner: Buffalo Bills
In the Hunt: Miami Dolphins, New York Jets
This division has emerged as the most competitive in the AFC. The Baltimore Ravens (8-4) hold a slim lead over the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4). The Ravens boast one of the NFL’s best defenses and a dynamic QB in Lamar Jackson. The Bengals are led by Joe Burrow and Chase, one of the top QB-WR duos.
After an impressive start, the Cleveland Browns (5-7) have faded from contention with Deshaun Watson suspended for 11 games. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7) remain competitive but lack the firepower to challenge the division leaders.
Projected AFC North Winner: Baltimore Ravens
In the Hunt: Cincinnati Bengals
The Tennessee Titans (7-5) hold a two-game lead over the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1). Derrick Henry paces the offense, but injuries have depleted the receiving corps. The Colts’ season has been derailed by shaky quarterback play.
After finishing last in 2021, the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) have shown progress under new coach Doug Pederson. Former #1 pick Trevor Lawrence has improved in year two. The Houston Texans (1-10-1) own the conference’s worst record.
Projected AFC South Winner: Tennessee Titans
This powerhouse division contains three of the AFC’s top Super Bowl contenders. The Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) sit atop the standings, powered by Patrick Mahomes’ MVP-caliber season. The Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) remain dangerous, led by Justin Herbert and a lethal passing attack.
After acquiring Davante Adams, the Las Vegas Raiders (5-7) were expected to contend. Disappointing play from Derek Carr has derailed those hopes. Bringing up the rear, the Denver Broncos (3-9) have cratered in Russell Wilson’s first season.
Projected AFC West Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
In the Hunt: Los Angeles Chargers
AFC Wild Card Race
The Dolphins, Jets, Bengals and Chargers appear best-positioned for the three AFC wild card spots. The Patriots, Raiders, Browns and Colts still have an outside shot. The Ravens, Bills and Chiefs have all but secured playoff berths barring epic collapses.
Projected AFC Wild Cards: Dolphins, Bengals, Jets
On the Bubble: Chargers, Patriots, Raiders, Browns, Colts
NFC Playoff Picture
The Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) have dominated the division, emerging as Super Bowl favorites behind Jalen Hurts’ MVP-level campaign. The Dallas Cowboys (8-3) remain in the mix but have yet to beat a playoff contender.
Projected NFC East Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
In the Hunt: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants
The Minnesota Vikings (10-2) have used fourth-quarter heroics to build a comfortable division lead. New head coach Kevin O’Connell has the offense clicking behind Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson.
After trading for Chase Claypool, the 8-4 Green Bay Packers are heating up at the right time. The Detroit Lions (5-7) have shown promise behind hard-nosed coach Dan Campbell, while the Chicago Bears (3-10) are rebuilding.
Projected NFC North Winner: Minnesota Vikings
In the Hunt: Green Bay Packers
That leaves the door open for the plucky New Orleans Saints (4-9) to go on a run behind the versatile Taysom Hill and an aggressive defense.
Projected NFC South Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the Hunt: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints
The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams (3-9) have been decimated by injuries and look poised for an early playoff exit. The Seattle Seahawks (7-5) have benefitted from Geno Smith’s career revival.
Projected NFC West Winner: San Francisco 49ers
In the Hunt: Seattle Seahawks
NFC Wild Card Race
The Cowboys, Giants and Packers appear well-positioned for the three NFC wild cards, but the Commanders, Seahawks, Buccaneers and Lions still have hope. The Eagles, Vikings and 49ers have all but punched their tickets to the postseason.
Projected NFC Wild Cards: Cowboys, Giants, Packers
On the Bubble: Commanders, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Lions
Projected 2022-2023 NFL Playoff Bracket
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Buffalo Bills
- Baltimore Ravens
- Tennessee Titans
- Miami Dolphins
- Cincinnati Bengals
- New York Jets
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Minnesota Vikings
- San Francisco 49ers
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Dallas Cowboys
- New York Giants
- Green Bay Packers
What are the current AFC playoff standings?
- Bills (9-3)
- Ravens (8-4)
- Titans (7-5)
- Chiefs (9-3)
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- Dolphins (8-4)
- Bengals (8-4)
- Jets (7-5)
What are the current NFC playoff standings?
- Eagles (11-1)
- Vikings (10-2)
- Buccaneers (6-6)
- 49ers (8-4)
- Cowboys (8-3)
- Giants (6-6)
- Commanders (7-5)
Which teams are currently on the playoff bubble?
AFC: Chargers, Patriots, Raiders, Browns, Colts
NFC: Commanders, Seahawks, Lions, Falcons, Saints
Which division winners are essentially locked in?
The Bills, Ravens, Chiefs and Eagles have substantial leads and have all but clinched their respective divisions barring epic collapses. The Vikings and 49ers also appear to be in good position.
Which teams need a late-season hot streak to make the playoffs?
In the AFC, the Patriots, Raiders, Browns and Colts likely need to get hot down the stretch to contend for a wild card. In the NFC, the Commanders, Seahawks, Lions, Falcons and Saints face uphill climbs.
The Buccaneers also need to find consistency to hold off the Falcons and Saints in the mediocre NFC South.
What are the most likely Super Bowl matchups based on the current projections?
The Chiefs and Bills look poised for a playoff rematch in the AFC. In the NFC, potential championship matchups include Eagles vs. 49ers and Eagles vs. Vikings.
With five weeks remaining, there is still much to be decided in the NFL playoff chase. Division titles and wild card spots remain up for grabs. Injuries, weather, and other variables make late-season projections even more difficult.
But the picture is beginning to sharpen. The Eagles, Chiefs, Bills, Vikings and 49ers appear best positioned for deep postseason runs. Dark horse contenders like the Bengals, Jets, Commanders and Seahawks will look to ride momentum into January.
No matter how the final bracket shakes out, football fans are in for an exciting race to Super Bowl LVII. Every remaining regular season game carries high stakes with playoff seeding and home-field advantage on the line. Fasten your seatbelts for a thrilling finish.