The 2021 NFL season is nearing the end of its new 17-game plan, leaving each team with only one game left. Here’s a check on the updated standings and what the play-off picture looks like for the last week of 18.
The league retained its expanded playoffs, with 14 of its 32 teams (43.8 percent) qualifying for the final post-season. This includes 7 from each of the AFC and the NFC, with only one seed gaining the advantage of the home court.
Who would be in, who is still in dispute and who should think about next season? Here is a comprehensive view:
NFL POWER ORDER:
Chiefs, cowboys, Colts slip; Titans, Bengals, raiders rise for the 18th week
NFL rankings for week 18
Picture of the AFC playoffs
Who would be there?
1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5), Champions, AFC West. The Chiefs lost to the Bengals in week 17, losing control of the best player in the AFC playoffs. To get back to number 1 after defeating the Broncs in week 18, they need the loss of the Titans in week 1. They will not fall any lower than this, given the pillow between them and the Bengals and Bills.
2. Tennessee Titans (11-5), Masters, AFC South. The Titans won the division with the home game Dolphins in Week 17, while the other Colts also lost to the Raiders. They gained a bonus in the form of a jump back to the highest position and the advantage of the home field in the AFC playoffs with the loss of the Chiefs. They have a tiebreaker due to a home win in Week 7 over Kansas City. They need to beat the Texans in week 18 to secure a lone bye.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6), Champions, AFC North. The Bengals secured the division title with their exciting 17th win over the Chiefs, which was further supported by the Ravens’ defeat at home with the Rams. They also stayed ahead of the winning Billy, with whom they did not play, due to a better record in the AFC game (8-3 vs. 6-5). A win in week 18 would keep them here and maybe allow them to jump Chiefs at No. 2. Losing could open the door for Billy to jump here and the Bengals end up at No. 4. Regardless, the Bengals are resting key players, including bumped by QB Joe Burrow against the Browns. Remaining schedule: and CLE
4. Buffalo Bills (10-6), first place, AFC East. The Bills stayed here for week 18 by gathering in the second half to beat the NFC Falcons at home in week 17. The win allowed them to keep up with the victorious Titans and Bengals and also to win the Chiefs. They also stayed ahead of the winning Patriots thanks to a better division record (4-1 vs. 3-2). In week 18, they will secure a division and a minimum of No. 4 win over the Jets and may move up to No. 2 depending on what the Chiefs and Bengals do. However, it doesn’t happen to get to number 1 over the Titans, because this team defeated both the Bills and the Chiefs.
5. New England Patriots (10-6), second place, AFC East. The Patriots halted their series of two defeats, as expected, by destroying the Jaguars in week 17. They kept up with the victorious Billy to move the division race to the last week, they needed to win over the Dolphins and get the defeat of the Bills back. East. The victory in week 17 also moved the Patriots one match ahead of the Colts, with whom they lost in week 15.
6. Indianapolis Colts (9-7), second place, AFC South. The Colts failed to win a place with a wild card behind the victorious Titans when they lost at home to the Raiders in week 17. It cost them a place and they fell from 5th place in front of the Patriots up behind them. The Colts still need one more victory in week 18 at the Jaguars or another Loss vs. Ravens vs. Steelers to get a place with a wild card. Despite the defeat, their chances for the playoffs remain high.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7), second place, AFC West. The Chargers got back into the playoff position with a home win over the Broncos and bounced back from an unfortunate loss to the Texans. They will get the last place over the Raiders before they play with them again in Las Vegas, because they beat them at home in the 4th week. The winner of the revenge will be in the playoffs at 10-7.
Who can get there?
8. Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)
10. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
With their victory over the Broncos, the Chargers pushed out the Raiders, who they defeated once and played again in week 18. The Steelers have survived by defeating the Browns, and will go into the game in week 18, where the Ravens will have a chance, as will their rivals.
Who will be out?
11. Miami Dolphins (8-8, eliminated)
12. Cleveland Browns (7-9, excluded)
13. Denver Broncos (7-10, eliminated)
14. New York Jets (4-12, discarded)
15. Houston Texans (4-12, eliminated)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14, eliminated)
The Browns, Broncos and Dolphins were all eliminated by the Chargers defeating the Broncos.
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Picture of the NFC playoffs
Who would be there?
1. Green Bay Packers (13-3), Champions, NFC North. With a victory over the Vikings in Week 17, the Packers secured a seed-first, a lone bye and an advantage at Lambeau’s home field in the NFC playoffs, beating their record from the previous two seasons with Aaron Rodgers under Matt LaFleur. the game remains in the new schedule. In week 18, Rodgers and their other key fixtures against the Lions will rest.
2. Los Angeles Rams (12-4), first place, NFC West. The Rams secured a place in the playoffs before they took to the field against the Ravens, but still saw a comeback victory in Week 17 in Baltimore. They failed to win the division after the Cardinals defeated the Cowboys, but the Rams finished 2nd ahead of the Cowboys ahead of the West and can see how they wrap it up at home against the 49ers in the 18th straight tiebreak over the Buccaneers.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4), Champions, NFC South. In week 17, the Buccaneers defeated the Jets in an unexpected return to keep up with the victorious Rams and also beat the defeated Cowboys. They would have a chance to move to 2nd place by winning the Panthers in week 18, and if the Rams, who beat them in week 3, lost the 49ers.
4. Dallas Cowboys (12-5), Champions, NFC East. The Cowboys bounced back and defeated the resting Eagles in week 18 after losing to the Cardinals in a failed comeback in week 17 and falling behind the winning Rams and Buccaneers. The division closed in week 16, but the Cowboys missed a chance to advance to No. 1 behind the Packers. Now they probably stay at No. 4 and for now they would have a home rematch on a wild card with the Cardinals.
5. Arizona Cardinals (11-5), second place, NFC West. The Cardinals, who secured at least first place with a wild card, survived the NFC West race by defeating the Cowboys and keeping up with the winning Rams. They can still win the West based on the division’s record tiebreak (5-1 vs. 3-3) if they beat the Seahawks at home in week 18, while the Rams lose at home with the 49ers.
6. San Francisco 49ers (9-7), third place, NFC West. The 49ers approached to lock the wild card with a home win in week 17 over the Texans, but still have work to do against the Rams in week 18. They stayed ahead of the victorious Eagles because they defeated the team on the road. Week 2. They need to win over the Rams or lose the Saints to the Falcons to get to the playoffs.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8), second place, NFC East. The Eagles took care of their business by defeating Washington in Week 17. They secured a place in the division with a wild card for the Cowboys, while the Vikings lost to the Packers. In the 18th week, the players rested at home vs. Cowboys with a chance to advance only one place to 6th place.
Who can get there?
8. New Orleans Saints (8-8)
The Saints kept the pressure on the winning 49ers by defeating the Panthers in week 17. They can get to the playoffs by winning the Falcons and losing the 49ers to the Rams, which are two very possible outcomes.
Who will be out?
9. Minnesota Vikings (7-9, discarded)
10. Atlanta Falcons (7-9, eliminated)
11. Washington Football Team (6-10, eliminated)
12. Chicago Bears (6-10, eliminated)
13. Seattle Seahawks (6-10, excluded)
14. Carolina Panthers (5-11, eliminated)
15. New York Giants (4-12, eliminated)
16. Detroit Lions (2-13-1, eliminated)
Minnesota, Atlanta and Washington were the newest teams to join this well-functioning club with their losses in week 17.