NFL Playoffs: Who will clinch the final playoff spots?
Seven NFL teams are still vying for three open spots in the Playoffs in week 18. Even better, four of those teams will meet this week.
There is plenty still to be decided in this late hour of the regular season. We break down the teams still trying to punch their ticket to the Playoffs and who is going to make the cut. We researched the odds on YouWager combined with recent trends and clinching scenarios to figure out how this will all play out.
AFC Playoff hunt
There are two playoff spots up for grabs in the AFC and five teams trying to earn their spots.
Currently, the Colts and Chargers are in the sixth and seventh seeds respectively, and in need of a win to control their own destiny. That leaves the Raiders, Steelers and Ravens needing a little help to leap ahead and steal a postseason berth.
The Chargers face the Raiders head-to-head on Sunday and the winner is in. YouWager favors Los Angeles by a field goal, opening at -160 on the moneyline with Las Vegas at +140. Either team can still make the playoffs with a tie, but the Raiders will get the nod if Indianapolis loses as well. They could still get in with a loss but it would take a loss by the Colts and a loss or tie by the Steelers. Based on the AFC futures, the Chargers are expected to make it in at +4000 to win the AFC Championship. Vegas, meanwhile, is +12500.
The Colts need only to take care of business against the lowly, tanking Jaguars to assure a playoff berth. Indianapolis is a -16 point favorite and -1050 on the moneyline. A Chargers loss combined with either a Pittsburgh and Baltimore tie or a Pittsburgh loss and Miami win would also get Indy in. They are also +2000 to win the AFC. The odds favor the Colts to win and lock up the sixth seed.
The Steelers and Ravens have the longest odds of keeping their season going. Pittsburgh actually has a fairly realistic path to the playoffs. It is a +5.5 underdog at +185 on the moneyline. If Pittsburgh wins, it needs the Jaguars to pull off an unlikely upset at home. Then it comes down to the Chargers and Raiders simply not ending in a tie. It would still take a miracle but if the Jaguars somehow get a win things will get interesting. The Ravens have a significantly tougher road. They are -225 favorites though they have lost five straight. Then it will take losses by the Chargers and Colts as well as a Miami loss or tie to New England. Baltimore is +50000 to win the AFC and Pittsburgh is +30000.
Who gets in: The Colts will beat Jacksonville to secure the sixth seed. The Steelers pull off an upset to beat Baltimore, but the Colts result kills any playoff hopes. The Raiders also pull an upset to claim the final Wild Card spot.
NFC Playoff hunt
Things are quite a bit simpler in the NFC. Either San Francisco or New Orleans will make the playoffs and the other is out.
The Niners in sixth place thanks to a tiebreaker over Philadelphia based on winning their head-to-head matchup. All they need is a win or a loss or tie by the Saints. San Francisco is a +4.5 point underdog against the Rams and +180 on the moneyline. The Rams will still be playing for the NFC West Title since the Cardinals play at the same time. The Niners are +3500 to win the NFC.
On the flip side, at 8-8 the Saints need a win and a San Francisco loss. A tie between the Rams and Niners would keep San Francisco ahead on a tiebreaker based on a better record. New Orleans also plays in the late afternoon game so this will all be up in the air with both teams playing at the same time. The Saints are -4.5 point favorites against Atlanta and -220 on the moneyline.
Who gets in: The Rams avenge their previous loss to San Francisco, winning at home and clinching the division. The Saints trip up over the Falcons though, leaving the Niners in the lead for a Wild Card berth.