NFL News & Analysis

2022 NFL Playoff Picture: New York Giants boost playoff chances to 89% with a Week 15 win over the Washington Commanders

East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs with the ball as Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (97) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) pursue during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Now that there are just four weeks remaining in the 2022 NFL season, 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 (10-3)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
  4. Tennessee Titans (7-6)
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)
  6. Miami Dolphins (8-5)
  7. New England Patriots (7-6)

Current NFC playoff standings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (9-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (10-3)
  6. Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
  7. New York Giants (7-5-1)

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

The 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.

AFC PLAYOFF CHANCES

NFC PLAYOFF CHANCES

TEAMS WITH THE MOST AT STAKE IN WEEK 15

Team Chances with win Chances with loss
New York Giants 89% 34%
Washington Commanders 91% 41%
Los Angeles Chargers 70% 27%
Seattle Seahawks 74% 31%
New England Patriots 57% 22%
New York Jets 52% 24%

The NFC South and AFC North division races

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

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

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. Still, Jalen Hurts & Co. still have a good chance of earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

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 96% of our simulations. The AFC East sends three teams into the playoffs 50% of the time.

The East divisions are also the most likely divisions to send all teams to the playoffs. Our simulations see this happening 31% of the time for the NFC East. AFC East teams have lost too many games out of the division in recent weeks to make this happen, as all four teams make the playoffs in less than 1% of our simulations now.

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 50% 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 54%, according to our simulations. In 64% of these cases, the beneficiary of the weak division would be the Tampa Bay BuccaneersIn 26% of these cases, it would be the Carolina Panthers.

Thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ Week 14 win over the Tennessee Titans, we have another potential 8-9 division winner. There is a 20% chance that a team with a losing record wins the AFC South. In these cases, this would be the Tennessee Titans (58%), Jacksonville Jaguars (39%) or Indianapolis Colts (3%). There is also an additional 2% chance that the Colts win the division with an 8-8-1 record.

Most likely playoff matchups

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

  • Cowboys at Buccaneers (happens 62% of the time)
  • Dolphins at Titans (30%)
  • Commanders at 49ers (37%)
  • Bengals – Titans (32%)
  • Commanders at Vikings (31%)
  • Giants at Vikings (27%)
  • Giants at 49ers (23%)
  • Seahawks at Vikings (22%)
  • Seahawks at 49ers (20%)

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

  • Cowboys – Buccaneers (65%)
  • Vikings – 49ers (43%)
  • Bengals – Titans (40%)
  • Commanders – 49ers (39%)
  • Cowboys – Eagles (38%)
  • Bills – Chiefs (35%)
  • Bills – Bengals (35%)
  • Commanders – Vikings (33%)
  • Chiefs – Bengals (33%)
  • Chiefs – Ravens (30%)
  • Bengals – Ravens (30%)

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

  • Chiefs – Bills (27%)
  • 49ers – Eagles (24%)
  • Vikings – Eagles (17%)
  • Cowboys – Eagles (13%)
  • Bengals – Chiefs (12%)
  • Bengals – Bills (12%)
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