NFL News & Analysis

2022 NFL Playoff Picture: It's crunch time for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks on prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

• It's go time for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers: According to PFF's model, Tampa Bay has a 70% chance of making the playoffs if they beat the Los Angeles Rams in Week 9. Those chances fall to 45% with a loss.

• The game we all want to see (again): There is a 39% chance we see a playoff game between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

• The rebirth of the NFC East: There is a 80% chance that three teams from the NFC East make the playoffs.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


The 2022 NFL season is nearing 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. Buffalo Bills (6-1)
  2. Tennessee Titans (5-2)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (5-3)
  5. New York Jets (5-3)
  6. Miami Dolphins (5-3)
  7. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)

Current NFC playoff standings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-0)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (6-1)
  3. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (6-3)
  6. New York Giants (6-2)
  7. San Francisco 49ers (4-4)

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

The Jets (2010), Dolphins (2017), Falcons (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.

AFC PLAYOFF CHANCES

Note: The Browns, Broncos and Steelers are on a bye week.

NFC PLAYOFF CHANCES

Note: The Cowboys, Giants and 49ers are on a bye week.

TEAMS WITH THE MOST AT STAKE IN WEEK 9

Team Chances with win Chances with loss Leverage
Seattle Seahawks 58% 28% 30%
New York Jets 64% 46% 28%
Los Angeles Rams 54% 28% 26%
Cincinnati Bengals 63% 37% 26%
Indianapolis Colts 44% 18% 26%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 70% 45% 25%

The AFC Wild Card picture

While two NFC divisions are still wide open, we currently have large favorites in each of the four AFC divisions, as the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens are in a good position to earn a home playoff game.

To make sense of the wild-card picture, we can look at simulations in which these four teams end up winning their divisions and look at the rates with which the other teams earn a wild-card spot:

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are essentially out of the playoff picture and can start thinking about offseason moves.

Playoff scenarios

Perfect Eagles

The estimated odds that the Philadelphia Eagles continue their undefeated regular season are 3.4%. There is a 0.7% chance they go 20-0 to win the Super Bowl.

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 playoff teams. This happens 37% of the time in our simulations. The odds that three NFC East teams make it to January are already at 80%.

The NFC East is also the most likely division to send all its teams to the playoffs. With the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys already firmly in the picture, this would require the Washington Commanders to step up. Our simulations see this happening 9.5% of the time.

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 36% 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 29%. The chance of it happening in any of the three playoff weeks before the Super Bowl is 39%.

If those two face each other, it would be played in Buffalo 75% of the time.

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