NFL News & Analysis

2022 NFL Playoff Picture: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinch a playoff spot with a Week 17 win over the Carolina Panthers

Glendale, Arizona, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-Arizona Republic Nfl Tampa Bay At Cardinals

Now that there are just two 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 (12-3)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-3)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-6)
  7. Miami Dolphins (8-7)

Current NFC playoff standings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (12-3)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (11-4)
  6. New York Giants (8-6-1)
  7. Washington Commanders (7-7-1)

If these standings hold up, we would welcome four new AFC teams (Ravens, Jaguars, Dolphins and Chargers) and three new NFC teams (Vikings, Giants and Commanders) to the playoffs.

The Dolphins (2016) 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
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 100% 40% 60%
Carolina Panthers 54% 0% 54%
Green Bay Packers 56% 3% 53%
Washington Commanders 57% 10% 47%
Miami Dolphins 83% 44% 39%
New England Patriots 35% 0% 35%

The NFC South, AFC South and AFC North division races

There are three open division races in the NFL right now: the NFC South, AFC South and 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:

These are the odds in the AFC South:

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 prior to the season, but as of now, there is a chance the NFC East sends four teams to the playoffs.

Three NFC East teams make the postseason in 95% of our simulations. All four teams make it 28% of the time.

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 56%, according to our simulations. The only team that can get to nine wins is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they need to win out to make this happen.

Thanks to the emergence of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the struggles of the Tennessee Titans, we could see another division winner with fewer than nine wins, as there is a 46% chance that a losing team wins the AFC South.

Most likely playoff matchups

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

  • Cowboys at Buccaneers (happens 75% of the time)
  • Giants at 49ers (51%)
  • Giants at Vikings (38%)
  • Dolphins at Chiefs (27%)
  • Chargers at Jaguars (25%)
  • Ravens – Bengals (23%)
  • Ravens at Jaguars (21%)

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

  • Cowboys at Buccaneers (76%)
  • Giants at 49ers (54%)
  • Vikings – 49ers (44%)
  • Giants at Vikings (39%)
  • Bills – Bengals (39%)
  • Cowboys – Eagles (37%)
  • Bills – Chiefs (37%)
  • Chiefs – Bengals (37%)

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

  • Chiefs – Bills (29%)
  • 49ers – Eagles (27%)
  • Vikings – Eagles (17%)
  • Bengals – Chiefs (16%)
  • Bengals – Bills (16%)
  • Cowboys – Eagles (11%)
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