NFL News & Analysis

2022 NFL Playoff Picture: San Francisco 49ers boost playoff chances to 88% with a Week 11 win over the Arizona Cardinals

Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) speaks with head coach Kyle Shanahan on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

• A big game for the San Francisco 49ers: The Niners have an 88% chance of making the playoffs with a Week 11 win. Their chances fall to 60% with a loss.

• The game we all want to see (again): There is a 35.3% chance we see a playoff game between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

• The rebirth of the NFC East: There is an 87% chance three teams from the NFC East make the playoffs.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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 (7-2)
  2. Miami Dolphins (7-3)
  3. Tennessee Titans (6-3)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
  5. New York Jets (6-3)
  6. Buffalo Bills (6-3)
  7. New England Patriots (5-4)

Current NFC playoff standings

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

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

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.


Note: The Dolphins and Jaguars are on a bye week.


Note: The Buccaneers and Seahawks are on a bye week.


Team Chances with win Chances with loss Leverage
New York Jets 84% 51% 33%
New England Patriots 50% 17% 33%
Cincinnati Bengals 63% 33% 31%
Los Angeles Chargers 62% 32% 30%
San Francisco 49ers 88% 60% 27%
Indianapolis Colts 40% 14% 26%

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 NFC West. Here is how the odds stack up in the NFC East:

And this is how the NFC West is supposed to shake out:

Playoff scenarios

Home-field advantage

The dream of a perfect season is over for the Eagles. But 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:

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 87% of our simulations. The AFC East sends three teams into the playoffs 72% of the time.

The East divisions are also the most likely divisions to send all teams to the playoffs. This would require the Washington Commanders and the New England Patriots to step up. Our simulations see this happening 16.5% of the time for the NFC East and 9.1% of the time for the AFC East.

The disappointing AFC West

Going into the season, the AFC West was considered to be 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 55% chance the AFC West sends only its division winner to the playoffs. In almost all scenarios, this would be the Kansas City Chiefs.

The destined duel

Unless you're a fan of another AFC playoff contender, the chances are that you anticipate a Patrick MahomesJosh Allen matchup in the playoffs.

The chance that we get to see a Bills-Chiefs AFC Championship rematch is currently 17.9%. The chance of it happening in any of the three playoff weeks before the Super Bowl is 35.3%.

If those two face each other, it would be played in Arrowhead 73% of the time.


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