Projecting the 2022-23 NFL Playoff Picture: A Deep Dive into the Postseason Bracket

The 2022 NFL regular season is heading into the home stretch, and the playoff picture is starting to take shape. With under a third of the season left to play, it’s time to take an in-depth look at the teams vying for a spot in the postseason.

In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the current AFC and NFC standings, analyze the remaining schedules for playoff contenders, and project the full 14-team playoff bracket. Whether your favorite team is battling for a division title or a wild card spot, you’ll find a detailed examination of their playoff positioning below.

Overview of the NFL Playoff Format

Before diving into the playoff projections, let’s review the NFL postseason format:

  • The playoffs include 14 teams – the 4 division winners and 3 wild cards from each conference.
  • The top 2 seeds in each conference (the division winners with the best records) get a first-round bye.
  • Wild card weekend consists of 3 games per conference, with the 2 seed hosting the 7 seed, 3 hosting 6, and 4 hosting 5.
  • The divisional round then pits the 1 seed against the lower wild card winner and the 2 seed against the higher wild card winner.
  • The conference championships will feature the NFC’s and AFC’s top 2 remaining teams.
  • The Super Bowl matchup is decided when the AFC winner faces the NFC winner.

With the format covered, let’s examine the playoff race in each conference.

Projected AFC Playoff Bracket

AFC East Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| Buffalo Bills | 7-3 | 2-1 | @Lions, @Patriots, Jets, Dolphins |
| Miami Dolphins | 7-3 | 3-1 | Texans, @49ers, @Chargers, @Bills |
| New England Patriots | 6-4 | 1-2 | @Vikings, Bills, @Cardinals, Dolphins |
| New York Jets | 6-4 | 1-3 | Bears, @Vikings, @Bills, @Dolphins |

The AFC East is shaping up to be a tight two-team race between the Bills and Dolphins. The Bills hold the edge currently with the head-to-head tiebreaker. Both teams have favorable remaining schedules to make the playoffs.

Projected division winner: Buffalo Bills

Projected wild cards: Miami Dolphins, New York Jets

AFC North Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| Baltimore Ravens | 7-3 | 2-0 | @Jaguars, Broncos, @Steelers, @Bengals |
| Cincinnati Bengals | 6-4 | 1-3 | @Titans, Chiefs, Browns, @Ravens |
| Cleveland Browns | 3-7 | 2-1 | Buccaneers, @Texans, @Bengals, @Steelers |
| Pittsburgh Steelers | 3-7 | 2-1 | @Colts, @Falcons, Ravens, Browns |

The Ravens have a firm grip on the AFC North, leading by 2.5 games. Their remaining schedule is very manageable. The Bengals are the only other team alive in this division.

Projected division winner: Baltimore Ravens

AFC South Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| Tennessee Titans | 7-3 | 3-0 | Bengals, @Eagles, Jaguars, @Chargers |
| Indianapolis Colts | 4-6-1 | 1-3-1 | Steelers, @Cowboys, @Vikings, Giants |
| Jacksonville Jaguars | 3-7 | 1-2 | Ravens, @Lions, @Titans, @Texans |
| Houston Texans | 1-8-1 | 1-1-1 | @Dolphins, Browns, @Cowboys, Jaguars |

The Titans are sitting comfortably atop the AFC South after taking control with a win over the Packers. Their remaining division games against the Jaguars and Texans should pad their lead.

Projected division winner: Tennessee Titans

AFC West Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| Kansas City Chiefs | 8-2 | 3-0 | Rams, @Bengals, @Broncos, @Raiders |
| Los Angeles Chargers | 5-5 | 2-2 | @Cardinals, @Raiders, Dolphins, Titans |
| Las Vegas Raiders | 3-7 | 1-2 | @Seahawks, Chargers, @Rams, Chiefs |
| Denver Broncos | 3-7 | 0-3 | Panthers, @Ravens, Chiefs, @Rams |

The Chiefs have a stronghold on the AFC West with 5 games left. Even with their tough remaining slate, Kansas City should win the division comfortably.

Projected division winner: Kansas City Chiefs

Projected wild card: Los Angeles Chargers

Projected AFC Wild Cards

Based on the above standings and analysis, here are the projected AFC wild card teams:

  1. Miami Dolphins (10-7)
  2. New York Jets (9-8)
  3. Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)

The Dolphins and Jets both face challenges but are in good position currently for the wild card spots. The Chargers likely need to win 4 of 5 to edge out the Patriots and Bengals.

Projected Full AFC Playoff Bracket

AFC Bye Teams:

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. Kansas City Chiefs

Wild Card Round:

  • Chiefs over Chargers
  • Bills over Jets
  • Ravens over Dolphins

Divisional Round:

  • Bills over Ravens
  • Chiefs over Bills

AFC Championship:

  • Chiefs over Bills

The Chiefs remain the team to beat in the AFC and edge out the Bills in a close conference title game. But nothing is certain, with several teams capable of getting hot in January.

Projected NFC Playoff Bracket

NFC East Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| Philadelphia Eagles | 9-1 | 3-0 | Packers, Titans, @Bears, @Giants |
| Dallas Cowboys | 7-3 | 3-1 | Giants, Colts, Texans, @Eagles |
| New York Giants | 7-3 | 2-2 | @Cowboys, Commanders, Eagles, @Vikings |
| Washington Commanders | 6-5 | 2-2 | Falcons, @Giants, @49ers, Browns |

The Eagles have the best record in the NFL thanks to the development of Jalen Hurts. With their weak remaining schedule, Philly should cruise to the division title. Dallas is their only threat.

Projected division winner: Philadelphia Eagles

Projected wild cards: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

NFC North Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| Minnesota Vikings | 8-2 | 3-0 | Patriots, Jets, @Lions, Giants |
| Detroit Lions | 4-6 | 1-1 | Bills, Jaguars, Vikings, @Packers |
| Green Bay Packers | 4-7 | 1-2 | @Eagles, @Bears, @Dolphins, Lions |
| Chicago Bears | 3-8 | 0-3 | @Jets, Packers, Eagles, @Lions |

Despite starting off hot, the Vikings will face tougher division tests down the stretch. They should still prevail as NFC North champs. No other team is in contention.

Projected division winner: Minnesota Vikings

NFC South Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 5-5 | 2-1 | @Browns, Saints, @49ers, Panthers |
| Atlanta Falcons | 5-6 | 1-2 | @Commanders, Steelers, @Saints, Buccaneers |
| Carolina Panthers | 3-8 | 2-1 | @Seahawks, @Steelers, Saints, @Buccaneers |
| New Orleans Saints | 4-7 | 2-1 | @49ers, @Buccaneers, Panthers, @Eagles |

This division is still entirely up for grabs. The Bucs are the favorites with Brady and the easiest schedule. The Falcons and Saints will battle them down the stretch.

Projected division winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West Standings:

| Team | Record | Division Record | Remaining Schedule |
|-|-|-|-|
| San Francisco 49ers | 6-4 | 3-1 | Saints, Dolphins, Buccaneers, @Raiders |
| Seattle Seahawks | 6-4 | 1-2 | Raiders, @Rams, Panthers, Jets |
| Los Angeles Rams | 3-7 | 0-3 | @Chiefs, Seahawks, Raiders, @Chargers |
| Arizona Cardinals | 4-7 | 0-4 | Chargers, Patriots, @Broncos, @Falcons |

The 49ers have turned their season around after trading for McCaffrey. They should be able to hold on to win the division with the Rams and Cardinals fading.

Projected division winner: San Francisco 49ers

Projected wild card: Seattle Seahawks

Projected NFC Wild Cards

Based on the above analysis, here are the projected NFC wild card teams:

  1. Dallas Cowboys (11-6)
  2. New York Giants (10-7)
  3. Seattle Seahawks (10-7)

The Cowboys and Giants are well-positioned now for the wild card spots. The Seahawks could challenge based on having an easier closing schedule.

Projected Full NFC Playoff Bracket

NFC Bye Teams:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  2. San Francisco 49ers

Wild Card Round:

  • 49ers over Seahawks
  • Eagles over Giants
  • Cowboys over Buccaneers

Divisional Round:

  • Eagles over Cowboys
  • 49ers over Vikings

NFC Championship:

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  • Eagles over 49ers

The Eagles have played like the most complete team in the NFC. Look for Philly to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.

2022-23 NFL Playoff Predictions

Super Bowl Matchup:

Chiefs vs. Eagles

While surprises could happen, the Chiefs and Eagles have separated themselves in their conferences this season. The stage is set for an exciting Super Bowl showdown between the NFL’s top two teams. In a close, high-scoring affair, the deeper Eagles roster proves too much as Philadelphia wins its second Super Bowl championship.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bills, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, 49ers, and Seahawks hold the best playoff position through week 11.
  • The AFC’s wild card spots appear up for grabs between the Dolphins, Jets, Patriots, Chargers, and Bengals.
  • The Buccaneers, Vikings and one of the Seahawks/Falcons will likely claim the NFC’s wild card berths.
  • Barring a late-season collapse, the Chiefs and Eagles are on a Super Bowl collision course.

The last 6 weeks of the NFL regular season will finalize the playoff picture. Make sure to check back each week as the postseason bracket takes shape!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the current favorites to reach the Super Bowl?

The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles are the clear favorites in their conferences right now. Both teams have looked dominant for most of the season.

What are the main playoff races to watch?

The battles for the final AFC wild card spots between the Jets/Dolphins/Chargers/Patriots will be fun to watch. In the NFC, the Buccaneers/Seahawks/Falcons are all fighting for playoff spots.

Which projected playoff teams are still vulnerable?

Despite being division leaders, the Vikings and Titans have some concern with their late-season schedules. The Chargers and Patriots also have an uphill climb.

Could a team outside the projected playoff brackets make a run?

The Bengals and Rams seem unlikely to rally at this point. But the Patriots or Chargers could still make noise as wild cards if they get hot.

What is the biggest wildcard in the playoff picture right now?

Injuries will have a significant impact on the playoff race down the stretch. Teams like the Titans, Cowboys, and 49ers are currently battling key injuries.

How much will home-field advantage matter in the playoffs?

Having home field and a bye week to rest will be huge, especially for contending teams like the Bills, Chiefs, and Eagles. Home crowds can swing playoff games.

The road to the Lombardi Trophy starts with the playoff push in these final weeks. Buckle up for an exhilarating race to Super Bowl LVII!

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