Last weekend saw the final loose ends of the NFL Regular Season tied up neatly as we finalised the 7 teams from each conference to make it through to the NFL Wildcard Weekend, or if you are top seed, the Divisional Games the weekend thereafter.

Punters need not be worried though as in addition to providing extensive coverage of the NFL throughout the regular season, bet365 Sport will also be covering all the playoff games extensively with the usual wide range of pre-game and In Play betting markets.

So who was it that clinched their place in the playoffs last weekend and how do things look set for this coming weekend in the NFL?

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Week 18 Playoff Positions Confirmed

The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs locked up those top seed spots in the NFC and AFC respectively, the latter after the NFL decided the game between the Bengals and Bills would not be replayed after being postponed.

That means that despite also losing three games, and having a better win percentage and having beaten the Chiefs in the season already, the Buffalo Bills will be the AFC second seed and play this coming weekend.

Other teams confirming their place in the playoffs were the Jacksonville Jaguars, who defeated the Tennessee Titans to claim the top spot in the AFC South, while the Miami Dolphins secured the seventh seed spot in the AFC with a narrow win over the New York Jets while New England were losing to the Bills.

In the NFC, the Eagles victory over the Giants meant that they finished top of the NFC East, but they’d have done so anyway after Dallas’ loss to the Commanders saw the Cowboys end up as the fifth seed in that Conference.

Lastly, the Seattle Seahawks landed the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoffs after their overtime win over the Rams and also thanks to Detroit Lions superb win over the Green Bay Packers.

Here’s how the teams finished in the NFL and how the Playoff seedings panned out for each conference.

NFL Standings After Matchday 18

NFC North NFC West NFC East NFC South 
Vikings13-449ers13-4Eagles14-3Buccaneers8-9
Lions9-8Seahawks9-8Cowboys12-5Panthers7-10
Packers8-9Rams5-12Giants9-7-1Saints7-10
Bears3-14Cardinals4-13Commanders8-8-1Falcons7-10
AFC North AFC West AFC East AFC South 
Bengals*12-4Chiefs14-3Bills*13-3Jaguars9-8
Ravens10-7Chargers10-7Dolphins9-8Titans7-10
Steelers9-8Raiders6-11Patriots8-9Colts4-12-1
Browns7-10Broncos5-12Jets7-10Texans3-13-1
  • Teams qualified for the playoffs are shown in Italics.
  • Teams confirmed as Divisional Winners are shown in Bold.
  • *Bengals and Bills played just 16 games after their Week 17 game was postponed.

NFL Playoffs – Seedings

NFC Seedings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – 14-3 – Bye for Week 1 of the Playoffs
  2. San Francisco 49ers – 13-4
  3. Minnesota Vikings – 13-4
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8-9
  5. Dallas Cowboys – 12-5
  6. New York Giants – 9-7-1
  7. Seattle Seahawks – 9-8

AFC Seedings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs* – 14-3 – Bye for Week 1 of the Playoffs
  2. Buffalo Bills* – 13-3
  3. Cincinnati Bengals* – 12-4
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars – 9-8
  5. Los Angeles Chargers – 10-7
  6. Baltimore Ravens – 10-7
  7. Miami Dolphins – 9-8

*The Bills and Bengals played only 16 games compared to 17 for the other 30 NFL teams after their Week 17 clash was postponed and not played. The Bills are therefore the second seed in the AFC behind the Chiefs, but if the Chiefs and Bills reach the AFC Conference game then it will be contested on a neutral venue, rather than at Arrowhead Stadium, home ground of the Chiefs.

NFL Playoffs – Super Wildcard Weekend

Saturday 14th January

Seattle Seahawks (9-8) @ San Francisco 49ers (13-4)  (9.35pm)

Key Stats & Data

  • Venue – Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
  • Most Recent Game – 49ers 21-13 Seahawks (15th Dec 2022)
  • Series Record – 49ers – 19 Wins, Seahawks – 30 Wins, Ties – 0
  • Seahawks Key Player – Geno Smith (QB)

Geno Smith was handed the keys to the Seahawks franchise when Russell Wilson left for Denver and Smith has performed superbly well, leading the Seahawks to an unexpected Playoff spot in what was expected to be a year for rebuilding. Can he evade the 49ers defensive pressure that is likely to come his way?

  • 49ers Key Player – Brock Purdy (QB)

Mr Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft has now become very relevant for the 49ers future in the playoffs. Purdy’s coped superbly with everything thrown at him so far but this is another level once again and how he reacts and plays in the game will likely determine the 49ers fate against a team they have one of their worst records against.

Game Analysis And Prediction

The 49ers won both games against the Seahawks in the regular season, but before that they had won just one of the last six games between the two and just two of the last 17. Little wonder the 49ers were probably hoping to face a different opponent in this Wildcard Weekend matchup. However, they are the form team in the NFL at the moment and even with a rookie QB I am backing them to win here although the handicap being set at -9/5 for the 49ers on the spread means that I’d take the Seahawks in that bet at +9.5 (10/11)

Prediction – Seahawks 10-17 49ers

Los Angeles Chargers (10-7) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) (1.15am)

Key Stats & Data

  • Venue – TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville
  • Most Recent Game – Jaguars 38-10 Chargers (25th Sept 2022)
  • Series Record – Jaguars – 4 Wins, Chargers – 9 Wins, Ties – 0
  • Chargers Key Player – Austin Ekeler (RB)

The Chargers effectively gave up on the run game against the Jaguars in their 38-10 defeat on Week 3 and Austin Ekeler rushed for just 5 yards on four attempts that day. He will need to do a lot more to give Justin Herbert a bit more time in the pocket to find his receivers.

  • Jaguars Key Player – Trevor Lawrence (QB)

Lawrence has started to mature into a fine NFL quality quarterback this season and this will be his first taste of playoff football. He was immaculate last time against the Chargers with 28/39 passes for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. A similar performance will be required here.

Game Analysis And Prediction

The Jaguars were easy winners when these two teams met in Week Three, but I think this game will be much closer. The Chargers will have learned from that but they have lost games that they should have won this season. Against an in-form Jags, I think that they could come up short here. Take the Jags to land the win on the spread with a handicap of +2 (10/11)

Prediction – Los Angeles Chargers 24-28 Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday 15th January

Miami Dolphins (9-8) @ Buffalo Bills (13-3) (6.05pm)

. Key Stats & Data

  • Venue – Highmark Stadium, New York
  • Most Recent Game – Dolphins 29-32 Bills (17th Dec 2022)
  • Series Record – Dolphins – 62 Wins, Bills – 55 Wins, Ties – 1
  • Dolphins Key Player – Tua Tagovailoa (QB)

The key thing for Dolphins fans is whether their star QB Tua Tagovailoa will play in this game after missing the last few through concussion. The likelihood he will start and the Dolphins will need a customary big game from him here against a team they did beat earlier in the season.

  • Bills Key Player – Josh Allen (QB)

The Bills have played two close contests with Miami this season, winning one and losing the other and Josh Allen will need to learn the lessons of those games. A true dual-threat QB, Allen’s feet, as well as his arm strength and accuracy will be key if the Bills are to move on here.

Game Analysis And Prediction

These two teams have played out two very close games in the AFC East this season, with one win apiece, but the Bills for me are the strong favourites here because of the injuries that Miami have on offense to QB Tagavailoa and their key wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The Bills don’t seem to have as many injury issues and as such, I think they will run out comfortable winners here. Take the Bills even at -13 on the spread market to land the win (10/11)

Prediction – Miami Dolphins 21-41 Buffalo Bills

New York Giants (9-7-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (13-4) (9.40pm)

Key Stats & Data

  • Venue – U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
  • Most Recent Game – Giants 24-27 Vikings (24th Dec 2022)
  • Series Record – Giants – 12 Wins, Vikings – 18 Wins, Ties – 0
  • Giants Key Player – Saquon Barkley (RB)

It’s been a good while since Saquon Barkley and the Giants have been in the playoffs and the hugely talented back will need to harvest yards on the floor to keep this Giants offense ticking and, more to the point, keep the Vikings offense on the sidelines for as long as possible.

  • Vikings Key Player – Justin Jefferson (WR)

Justin Jefferson has been simply unplayable at times this season and has multiple 200+ yard games receiving. He’s racked up more receiving yards than any player in the NFL and is a legitimate NFL MVP contender (and should, in my view, win it). He is key to the Vikings hopes of progress.

Game Analysis And Prediction

A lot of people have the Giants pushing the Vikings hard here and that could happen if they can keep the Vikings offense on the sidelines for long chunks of the game. However, I am not sure that they will be able to do that and when the Vikings are on offense, I can see Jefferson playing a huge role in taking the Vikes to victory. The Vikings are -3.0 on the spread and I think that is a good bet (10/11).

Prediction – New York Giants – 17-28 Minnesota Vikings

Baltimore Ravens (10-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) (1.15am)

Key Stats & Data

  • Venue – Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati
  • Most Recent Game – Ravens 16-27 Bengals (8th Jan 2023)
  • Series Record – Ravens – 28 Wins, Bengals – 26 Wins, Ties – 0
  • Ravens Key Player – Isaiah Likely (TE)

Likely posted 103 yards from 8 receptions last week in the Ravens loss to the Bengals, and he will likely continue to be a key part of this threadbare Ravens offense, which is sorely missing the absence of Lamar Jackson at quarterback.

  • Bengals Key Player – Joe Mixon (RB)

Even though they won last week, the Bengals rushing game was effectively shut down by the Ravens with Mixon rushing for just 27 yards. He is going to have to be more of a factor in this game to open up the passing game for Burrow and Chase to work their magic once again.

Game Analysis And Prediction

As good as the Ravens defense is, I just don’t think that they can stop the Bengals enough to give themselves a realistic chance of winning this game without Lamar Jackson at quarterback. The former NFL MVP is a difference maker on this Ravens offense and without him the Ravens look considerably less potent. I foresee a similar game to last week, but with a similar outcome in favour of the Bengals although with the handicap set at +8.5 for the Ravens, I would opt for them in the Spread market.

Prediction – Baltimore Ravens 17-24 Cincinnati Bengals

Monday 16th January

Dallas Cowboys (12-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9) (1.15am)

Key Stats & Data

  • Venue – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
  • Most Recent Game – Buccaneers 19-3 Dallas Cowboys (11th Sept 2022)
  • Series Record – Dallas – 15 Wins, Tampa – 6 Wins, Ties – 0
  • Cowboys Key Player – Dak Prescott (QB)

The Dallas defense will show up but the Cowboys need to see the best version of Dak Prescott here against the Bucs, not a repeat of the Prescott who had a poor showing in last week’s loss to the Commanders as well as the Week 1 encounter between the two which the Bucs won easily.

  • Buccaneers Key Player – Tampa Bay Offensive Line

The Bucs may have the GOAT in Tom Brady, but they will not win the game if that Dallas defense can pressure him continually. So it is up to the Bucs offensive line to give Brady the time he will need to pick apart the Cowboys secondary.

Game Analysis & Prediction

The Cowboys start this game as the favourites, but they have not beaten the Bucs since 2018, losing their last two games and their last win in Tampa was way back in 2011. Tom Brady always lifts his game for the playoffs, so the Dallas defense will need to get at Brady as much as possible while the Cowboys need Dak Prescott to find his rhythm to take the win here, which I believe they will do. Take the Cowboys to win with a -2.5 handicap at 10/11.

Prediction – Dallas Cowboys 27-20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

All times shown above are UK Kick off times.