2022 NFL Playoff Picture: Washington Commanders boost playoff chances to 87% with win over New York Giants

Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) celebrates as Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) looks on after connecting on a third down convewriosn against the Green Bay Packers /during the final minutes of the fourth quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL season is now past the halfway point, so it’s time to start looking forward to the playoffs.

Each week, PFF will present current and projected playoff pictures, focusing on the teams that look set and the way forward for the teams on the outside.

Current AFC playoff standings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
  2. Miami Dolphins (8-3)
  3. Tennessee Titans (7-4)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
  5. Buffalo Bills (8-3)
  6. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
  7. New York Jets (7-4)

Current NFC playoff standings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
  6. New York Giants (7-4)
  7. Washington Commanders (7-5)

If these standings hold, we would welcome three different AFC teams (Ravens, Dolphins and Jets) and three different NFC teams (Vikings, Commanders and Giants) into the postseason this year.

The Jets (2010), Dolphins (2017) and Giants (2016) would end long playoff droughts.

Playoff Projections

Naturally, it’s unlikely the playoff picture will remain constant over the remainder of the season. And that’s why it makes sense to look at the projected playoff picture — the estimated chances PFF gives each team to make the playoffs.

The following charts show the projected playoff chances for each team alongside the playoff leverage, i.e., how the playoff chances would change with a win or loss.

The logos show the current playoff chances. The points to the right of the logos indicate the chances after a win, and the points to the left indicate the chances after a loss.




Team Chances with win Chances with loss Leverage
New York Giants 78% 36% 42%
Washington Commanders 87% 46% 41%
Seattle Seahawks 76% 40% 36%
Los Angeles Chargers 57% 23% 34%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 89% 55% 34%
New England Patriots 60% 27% 33%

The AFC East and NFC West division races

The two closest division races in the NFL right now are happening in the AFC East and the AFC North. Here is how the odds stack up in the NFC East:

  • Buffalo Bills — 60%
  • Miami Dolphins — 30%
  • New England Patriots — 3%
  • New York Jets — 7%

And this is how the AFC North is supposed to shake out:

  • Baltimore Ravens — 66%
  • Cincinnati Bengals — 31%
  • Cleveland Browns — 2%
  • Pittsburgh Steelers — 1%

Playoff scenarios

Home-field advantage

The dream of a perfect season is over for the Eagles. Still, home-field advantage is practically the highest achievable goal in the regular season anyway.

Jalen Hurts & Co. still have a good chance of earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC because they already own the tiebreaker against the Minnesota Vikings. The following teams are most likely to finish with the best record in their respective conference:

  • Philadelphia Eagles — 69%
  • Kansas City Chiefs — 59%
  • Buffalo Bills — 26%
  • Dallas Cowboys — 14%
  • Minnesota Vikings — 13%
  • Miami Dolphins — 8%
Beasts from the East

Few people would have seen this coming, but as of now, both the NFC East and the AFC East would feature three or even four playoff teams.

The NFC East sends three playoff teams in 97% of our simulations. The AFC East sends three teams into the playoffs 71% of the time.

The East divisions are also the most likely divisions to send all teams to the playoffs. Our simulations see this happening 26% of the time for the NFC East and 10% of the time for the AFC East.

The disappointing AFC West

Going into the season, the AFC West was considered the only division strong enough to send all the teams to the playoffs. Right now, it looks more like the opposite could be the case, as there is a 56% chance the AFC West sends only the Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs.

Riding a losing record into the playoffs?

Every team in the NFC South is currently below .500. The chance that it stays this way — i.e. the NFC South winner ends up being 8-9 or worse — is currently 37%, according to our simulations. In 60% of these cases, the beneficiary of the weak division would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Most likely playoff matchups

The following matchups are most likely to happen in the wild-card round:

  • Cowboys at Buccaneers (happens 41% of the time)
  • Commanders at 49ers (24%)
  • Dolphins at Titans (23%)
  • Giants at Vikings (21%)
  • Seahawks at Vikings (21%)
  • Commanders at Vikings (21%)
  • Bengals – Ravens (19%)

The following matchups are most likely to happen at any point in the playoffs:

  • Cowboys – Buccaneers (48%)
  • Bills – Titans (35%)
  • Vikings – 49ers (34%)
  • Bills – Chiefs (33%)
  • Cowboys – Eagles (33%)

The following matchups are most likely to happen in the conference title games:

  • Bills – Chiefs (22%)
  • Vikings – Eagles (15%)
  • 49ers – Eagles (14%)
  • Cowboys – Eagles (10%)
  • Titans – Chiefs (10%)
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