The 2021 NFL season has come to the end of its new 17-game schedule with only one game left for each team. Here’s the updated rankings review and what the playoff picture for Week 18 final looks like.
The league maintained its expanded playoff field, with 14 of its 32 teams (43.8 percent) set to qualify for the final postseason. That includes 7 each from the AFC and NFC, with only the No. 1 seeds getting breaks in addition to home-court advantage.
Who would be in, who’s still in contention, and who should be thinking about next season? Here’s a full look:
NFL POWER RATINGS:
NFL standings for week 18
AFC playoff image
The Chiefs lost to the Bengals in Week 17 to lose control of the top seed in the AFC playoffs. To get back to No. 1 after beating the Broncs in Week 18, they need a loss to the Titans in Week 1. They won’t fall any lower than this given the cushion between them and the Bengals and the Bills.
The Titans won the division with their Week 17 home win over the Dolphins, while the Colts, in second place, also lost to the Raiders. With the loss of the Chiefs, they got the bonus of returning to the top seed and the advantage of playing at home in the AFC playoffs. They have tiebreaker criteria due to a Week 7 home win over Kansas City. They need to beat the Texans in Week 18 to secure the lonely goodbye.
The Bengals clinched the division title with their thrilling Week 17 win over the Chiefs, further fueled by the Ravens’ loss at home to the Rams. They also stayed ahead of the winning Bills, with whom they have not played due to a superior record in the AFC game (8-3 vs. 6-5). A victory in Week 18 would keep them here and possibly allow them to lead the Chiefs to No. 2. A loss could open the door for the Bills to jump here and the Bengals to finish at No. 4. Regardless, the Bengals are players. key resting, including beaten QB Joe Burrow against the Browns. in CLE
The Bills stayed here for Week 18 as they rallied in the second half to beat the NFC Falcons at home in Week 17. The victory allowed them to keep pace with the winners Titans and Bengals and also win a game over the Chiefs. They also stayed ahead of the winning Patriots due to a top division record (4-1 vs. 3-2). They will secure the division and at least No. 4 with a win over the Jets in Week 18 and could be promoted to No. 2 depending on what the Chiefs and Bengals do. However, getting to No. 1 over the Titans isn’t happening, because that team beat both the Bills and the Chiefs.
The Patriots halted their two-game losing streak as expected by destroying the Jaguars in Week 17. They kept pace with the winning Bills to push the division run into the final week, needing a win over the Dolphins and a loss by the Bills to take back the East. The Week 17 victory also pushed the Patriots one game ahead of the Colts, to whom they lost in Week 15.
The Colts failed to clinch a wild-card spot behind the winning Titans as they lost to the Raiders at home in Week 17. That cost them one spot, falling from No. 5 ahead of the Patriots to behind them. The Colts still need one more Week 18 win against the Jaguars or another Ravens loss to the Steelers to earn a wild card spot. Their playoff chances remain strong despite the loss.
The Chargers returned to playoff position with their home win over the Broncos, rebounding from a surprise loss to the Texans. They get last place for now over the Raiders before facing them again in Las Vegas because they beat them at home in Week 4. The winner of the rematch will be in the playoffs at 10-7.
8. Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)
10. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
The Chargers displaced the Raiders, whom they defeated once and played again in Week 18, with their victory over the Broncos. The Steelers stayed alive by beating the Browns and will enter their Week 18 game with the Ravens having a chance, just like their opponents.
11. Miami Dolphins (8-8, eliminated)
12. Cleveland Browns (7-9, eliminated)
13. Denver Broncos (7-10, eliminated)
14. New York Jets (4-12, eliminated)
15. Houston Texans (4-12, eliminated)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14, eliminated)
The Browns, Broncos and Dolphins were eliminated by the Chargers when they beat the Broncos.
Image of the NFC playoffs
The Packers secured Lambeau’s No. 1 seed, lonely goodbye, and home advantage in the NFC playoffs with his victory over the Vikings in Week 17, equaling his record from the previous two seasons with Aaron Rodgers under Matt LaFleur. with one more. remaining game at the new schedule. Rodgers and his other key regulars will be resting against the Lions in Week 18.
The Rams clinched a playoff spot before stepping onto the field against the Ravens, but still earned the comeback victory in Week 17 in Baltimore. They couldn’t win the division after the Cardinals beat the Cowboys, but the Rams came to No. 2 ahead of the Cowboys with the West lead and may look to finish things there at home against the 49ers in Week 18. They also have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers unexpectedly beat the Jets in Week 17 to keep pace with the winning Rams and also outmaneuver the losing Cowboys. They would have a chance to rise to No. 2 with a win over the Panthers in Week 18 and if the Rams, who defeated them in Week 3, lost to the 49ers.
The Cowboys rallied to defeat the resting Eagles in Week 18 after losing to the Cardinals in a botched comeback in Week 17 to fall behind the winning Rams and Buccaneers. The division ended in Week 16, but the Cowboys squandered an opportunity to push for the No. 1 seed behind the Packers. They’ll probably stay at No. 4 now and have a wild-card rematch at home with the Cardinals for now.
The Cardinals, who have clinched at least first place as a wild card, stayed alive in the NFC West race by beating the Cowboys and keeping pace with the winning Rams. They can still win the West based on the division’s record tiebreaker (5-1 vs. 3-3) if they can beat the Seahawks at home in Week 18 while the Rams lose at home to the 49ers.
The 49ers came closest to securing a wild card with their Week 17 home win over the Texans, but they still have work to do against the Rams in Week 18. They stayed ahead of the winning Eagles because they beat that team in the road in Week 2. They need a win over the Rams or a Saints loss to the Falcons to make the playoffs.
The Eagles took care of their affairs by beating Washington in Week 17. They landed a wild-card spot behind the Cowboys in the division with the Vikings losing to the Packers. They rested players at home against the Cowboys in Week 18, with the possibility of moving just one place up to No. 6.
8. New Orleans Saints (8-8)
The Saints kept the pressure on the winning 49ers by beating the Panthers in Week 17. They can reach the playoffs with a win over the Falcons and a 49ers loss to the Rams, two highly possible outcomes.
9. Minnesota Vikings (7-9, eliminated)
10. Atlanta Falcons (7-9, eliminated)
11. Washington soccer team (6-10, eliminated)
12. Chicago Bears (6-10, eliminated)
13. Seattle Seahawks (6-10, eliminated)
14. Carolina Panthers (5-11, eliminated)
15. New York Giants (4-12, eliminated)
16. Detroit Lions (2-13-1, eliminated)
Minnesota, Atlanta and Washington were the last teams to join this club that also runs through their losses in Week 17.