2023 NFL playoff picture: Seahawks and Dolphins lurk, Packers out after wild Week 18 loss

The final week of the NFL regular season always brings us plenty of drama, and this year is no different.

The Packers had a chance to clinch the NFL’s final playoff spot with a win over the Lions on Sunday night, but Detroit managed to pull off a shocking 20-16 upset, meaning Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will now be sitting at home this postseason.

With the win, the Lions ended up going to the seventh-ranked Seahawks in the NFC, who kept their playoff hopes alive with one of the worst wins of the day. With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks trailed 16-13 and were on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs, but they managed to force overtime, where Jason Myers hit the game-winning field goal from 32 yards out to give Seattle the lead. 19-16 win.

In the opening games, the Dolphins were the big winners after sneaking into the playoffs by stealing the seventh seed in the AFC from the Patriots.

To get into the postseason, the Dolphins needed a win at the Jets and a loss at New England, which plays the Bills. The Dolphins had their hands full with the Jets, but they were able to pull out an 11-6 win after Jason Sanders hit a 50-yard field goal with 18 seconds left to play (Miami also got a defense on the final play, which pushed them to 11 points). The win over the Jets marked the first time since 2003 that Miami went a game without scoring a touchdown.

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The Dolphins officially punched their season ticket after the Bills beat the Patriots 35-23, thanks in large part to Nyheim Hines’ two kickoff return touchdowns. A win by Buffalo means the neutral site AFC Championship is still in play, and will happen if the Bills and Chiefs meet in the AFC title game.

A coin flip to determine where the Bengals and Ravens will play in the wild card round is something that doesn’t happen. Although those two teams will play next week, the game will officially be in Cincinnati thanks to the Bengals’ 27-16 win over Baltimore.

With that in mind, take a look at the playoff standings.

AFC Playoff Standings

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Steelers (9-8): The Steelers won in Week 18, but they needed the Dolphins to lose to the Jets to make the playoffs, which didn’t happen. The only upside for Mike Tomlin here is that his streak of consecutive seasons finishing above .500 will extend to 16.
Patriots (8-9): All the Patriots needed to do to get into the playoffs was beat Buffalo on Sunday, but they couldn’t do that, meaning they’ll be sitting at home for the postseason.
Titans (7-10): The Titans may have cruised into the playoffs with a win over Jacksonville, but they were officially eliminated after Saturday night’s loss to the Jaguars.

NFC playoff standings

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Lions (9-8): The Lions needed the Rams to beat the Seahawks to stay in playoff contention, but that didn’t happen, meaning the Lions had no path to the postseason. Still, the Lions earned a small consolation prize by eliminating the Packers from the playoffs with a win Sunday night. The win meant the Lions would finish with a winning record for the first time since 2017.

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Packers (8-9): All the Packers needed to do to get into the playoffs was beat the Lions on Sunday night, but they didn’t get the job done. The Lions stunned the Packers 20-16, and now Green Bay will spend the postseason at home.

Wild Card Round Tournaments

AFC

  • (7) Dolphins at (2) Bills, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
  • (6) Ravens at (3) Bengals, Sunday, 8:15 pm ET, NBC
  • (5) Chargers (4) Jaguars, Saturday, 8:15 pm ET, NBC

Coming: (1) Leaders

NFC

  • (7) Seahawks at (2) 49ers, Saturday, 4:30 pm ET, Fox
  • (6) Giants at (3) Vikings, Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox
  • (5) Cowboys at (4) Buccaneers, Monday, 8:15 pm ET, ESPN

I’m coming: (1) Vultures

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