3 NFL Playoff Spots Left To Claim Heading Into Final Weekend

Josh Allen of the Bills talking to Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins

Josh Allen of the Bills talking to Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins

The final weekend of the 2023-24 NFL regular season is upon us, and there are still three outstanding playoff spots available to claim. NFL betting sites have created lines for this weekend’s games that grant insight into which teams will secure the final playoff seeds and which franchises will win their respective divisions.

AFC Playoff Teams

The Baltimore Ravens locked up the top seed in the AFC last weekend with their lopsided victory over the Miami Dolphins. Lamar Jackson and other starters will be sitting out this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers, granting their key players nearly three calendar weeks of rest between games.

The Dolphins have secured no less than a Wild Card spot but have a chance to win the AFC East when they face the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday night. The game was flexed to prime-time due to the stakes attached.

The winner between the Bills and Dolphins will become the 2-seed in the AFC. If Buffalo loses, they will need some help to get into the postseason via a Pittsburgh loss or tie, a Jacksonville loss or tie, or a tie in the Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts game.

Kansas City has already won the AFC West Division and is locked into the 3 seed. Cleveland will be a Wild Card team no matter what, but their seeding will be finalized this weekend.

The Houston Texans are in a win-and-in scenario, but they can also win the AFC South with a victory and a Jacksonville loss. The Jaguars can win the AFC South with a victory over the Tennessee Titans.

The Colts are also in a win-and-in situation but have an outside shot of winning the division depending on the outcome of other games. The Steelers have a remote chance of making the postseason, but they need a win and a lot of help.

NFC Playoff Teams

The San Francisco 49ers have locked in the number one seed in the NFC and will rest up their starters until their next game, which occurs in over two weeks. All but two NFC playoff spots have been clinched, and some shifts could occur in the NFL Playoff picture brackets depending on the outcome of the Week 18 schedule.

If the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Commanders, they’ll earn the 2 seed and the NFC East title. If Dallas loses, they open the door for the Philadelphia Eagles to win the division by beating the New York Giants.

The Lions have already won the NFC North and will remain the 3-seed no matter what happens this Sunday.

The fourth spot will be claimed by the winner of the NFC South, and there are three teams that could walk away with the title on Sunday. Tampa Bay has the inside track and can lock up their playoff positioning by beating the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta and New Orleans play each other this weekend, and the winner will become the division champion if the Bucs lose.

A lone Wild Card spot is up for grabs in Week 18, and the following teams still have a chance to earn it:

Green Bay Packers – A win against the Chicago Bears will send the Packers to the playoffs.
Seattle Seahawks – They are in with a win against Arizona and a Packers loss.
Minnesota Vikings – A win plus a lot of help will propel the Vikings into the postseason.
New Orleans & Tampa Bay also have an outside shot at a Wild Card seed if they lose.

What Do The NFL Odds Suggest?

The NFL betting lines for Week 18 suggest the following playoff seeding results:

AFC 

1 – Baltimore Ravens
2 – Buffalo Bills
3 – Kansas City Chiefs
4 – Jacksonville Jaguars
5 – Miami Dolphins
6 – Cleveland Browns
7 – Houston Texans

NFC 

1 – San Francisco 49ers
2 – Dallas Cowboys
3 – Detroit Lions
4 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5 – Philadelphia Eagles
6 – LA Rams
7 – Green Bay Packers

If you disagree with how the above postseason picture appears, NFL Playoff betting sites are paying out big to brave gamblers who risk some money on alternative outcomes.

Bovada Sportsbook (Bovada LV Review), WBAL TV 11 NBC

Author: Alan Morris