NFL Week 18 Playoff Scenarios: Significant Betting Implications & Playoff Picture

With an extra week of football this season, Week 18 brings the final slate of games before heading into the postseason. It feels like there’s not quite as much up in the air as there usually is in the last week, but there’s still plenty at stake as teams jockey for positioning in each conference. Knowing which teams have something to play for is huge for betting on these games and playing fantasy football. In this article, we’ll take a look at the most significant playoff implications this week and get you prepared to head into Week 18.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Plenty of eyes will be on the Colts this week as they are fighting for one of the remaining playoff spots in the AFC. The Steelers, Ravens, and Raiders could all theoretically benefit from a Colts’ loss in this game. Indianapolis, meanwhile, can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win. The Jaguars can also clinch the #1 draft spot with a loss, so perhaps they have some incentive not to win here.

Playoff Scenarios

  • Colts clinch a playoff spot with a win/tie OR
  • Chargers loss and a Ravens-Steelers tie OR
  • Chargers loss and a Steelers loss and a Dolphins win

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers got the win in Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game to keep them alive in the hunt for a playoff spot. A win this week isn’t enough for Pittsburgh to clinch a playoff spot, but a loss would eliminate them from the postseason. The Ravens are in a similar situation as they can be eliminated with a loss but can grab a playoff spot if some things go their way.

Playoff Scenarios

  • Steelers clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Colts loss and the Raiders and Chargers game does not end in a tie
  • Ravens clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Chargers loss and a Colts loss and a Dolphins loss/tie

San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams

It’s unclear if the 49ers will have Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance starting at quarterback this week, but this is their most crucial game of the season as they need a win to make the playoffs. The Rams, meanwhile, can clinch the NFC West with a win. These two bitter divisional rivals will be fighting tooth and nail for the win, and Sean McVay will be hoping to reverse the recent trend of a five-game winning streak for the Niners.

Playoff Scenarios

  • Rams clinch the NFC West title with a win/tie OR a Cardinals loss/tie
  • 49ers clinch a playoff berth with a win/tie OR a Saints loss/tie

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

The Chargers got the better of the Raiders earlier this season, but this game will be in Las Vegas, and the Raiders refuse to die despite facing tons of off-field controversy this season. This game was destined to be Sunday Night Football with both teams in a win-and-in scenario, and we should see an exciting matchup between Justin Herbert and Derek Carr.

  • Chargers clinch a playoff spot with a win/tie
  • Raiders clinch a playoff spot with a win OR a tie and a Colts loss OR a Colts loss and a Steelers loss/tie

Other Playoff Clinching Scenarios

AFC Teams

Already Clinched

  • Bengals – AFC North title
  • Chiefs – AFC West title
  • Titans – AFC South title
  • Bills – playoff berth
  • Patriots – playoff berth

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Clinch top seed in AFC with a win and a Titans loss/tie OR
  • Tie and a Titans loss

Buffalo Bills

  • Clinch AFC East with a win OR
  • Patriots loss OR
  • Tie and a Patriots tie

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Clinch top seed in AFC with a win and a Titans loss and a Chiefs loss and a Patriots loss/tie OR
  • Win and a Titans loss and a Chiefs loss and a Bills win

New England Patriots

  • Clinch top seed in AFC with a win and a Bills loss/tie and a Chiefs loss and a Titans loss
  • Clinch AFC East division title with a win and a Bills loss/tie OR
  • Tie and a Bills loss

Tennessee Titans

  • Clinch top seed in the AFC with a win OR
  • Tie and a Chiefs loss/tie OR
  • Chiefs loss and a Bengals loss/tie and a Patriots loss/tie OR
  • Chiefs loss and a Bengals loss/tie and a Bills win

NFC Teams

Already Clinched

  • Packers – NFC North title, top seed in the NFC
  • Cowboys – NFC East title
  • Buccaneers – NFC South title
  • Cardinals – playoff berth
  • Rams – playoff berth
  • Eagles – playoff berth

Arizona Cardinals

  • Clinch NFC West title with a win and a Rams loss

New Orleans Saints

  • Clinch playoff berth with a win and a 49ers loss
I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to cover industry news, NFL and NBA odds, and more.

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