We’re roughly at the halfway point of the 2022 season, so it’s time to examine the NFL playoff picture. Let’s look at which teams in the AFC and NFC improved their postseason odds in Week 8.
Current NFL Playoff Picture
Almost every game in Week 8 of the 2022 NFL schedule had some level of playoff implications. Here’s how the playoff picture is shaking out in both conferences.
1. Buffalo Bills (6-1)
2. Tennessee Titans (5-2)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
4. Baltimore Ravens (5-3)
5. New York Jets (5-3)
6. Miami Dolphins (5-3)
7. Los Angeles Chargers (4-3)
In the Hunt
8. New England Patriots (4-4)
9. Cincinnati Bengals (4-4)
10. Indianapolis Colts (3-4-1)
11. Cleveland Browns (3-5)
12. Denver Broncos (3-5)
13. Las Vegas Raiders (2-5)
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)
16. Houston Texans (1-5-1)
Dolphins Move Into AFC’s No. 6 Seed
The Dolphins got into another shootout on Sunday, and the efforts of Miami’s offense allowed them to walk away with a victory over the Lions. Tyreek Hill went over 160 yards for the fourth time this year, Jaylen Waddle scored two touchdowns, and Tua Tagovailoa again looked like the MVP candidate that he did earlier this season.
Miami is among a group of AFC teams vying to be the third-best club in the conference behind the Bills and the Chiefs. They’ve put themselves in a good position, and their next three games could be relative cakewalks: Bears, Browns, and Texans.
Jets Still in Playoff Race Despite Loss to Patriots
The Jets took a divisional loss against the Patriots in Week 8, but they’re still in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC. They’re currently the fifth seed in the conference, locked in a battle with the Ravens, Dolphins, Chargers, and Bengals to earn a postseason berth.
The only problem? New York could quickly fall back to .500 over the next three weeks. The Jets will face the Bills in Week 9, take a bye, then go up against the Patriots in Week 11. It doesn’t seem like Gang Green can rely on Zach Wilson to generate any real offense, so their defense will again be on center stage.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-0)
2. Minnesota Vikings (6-1)
3. Seattle Seahawks (5-3)
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
5. Dallas Cowboys (6-2)
6. New York Giants (6-2)
7. San Francisco 49ers (4-4)
In the Hunt
8. Washington Commanders (4-4)
9. Los Angeles Rams (3-4)
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)
11. Green Bay Packers (3-5)
12. Arizona Cardinals (3-5)
13. New Orleans Saints (3-5)
14. Chicago Bears (3-5)
15. Carolina Panthers (2-6)
16. Detroit Lions (1-6)
Eagles Remain Locked Into No. 1 Seed
The Eagles kept rolling in Week 8 and remain the only undefeated team in the NFL. Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown had their best connections of the season. Brown hauled in three long touchdown grabs and nearly had a fourth before Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick caught him from behind.
Philadelphia is firing on all cylinders, and its schedule will remain relatively easy. They’ll face the Texans, Commanders, and Colts over the next three weeks, all of whom currently have losing records. There’s still an outside chance the Eagles finish the year 17-0, but late-season matchups with the Packers, Titans, Giants, and Cowboys could provide stiff tests.
Vikings Keep Hold of No. 2 Seed in NFC
Are the Vikings the quietest 6-1 team in NFL history? They somehow keep winning games, including a back-and-forth affair against the Cardinals in Week 8. Kirk Cousins was efficient, and Dalvin Cook went over the century mark on the ground.
Minnesota is virtually assured of a playoff spot, and they’ve opened up a significant NFC North lead over the Packers and Bears. Now, the Vikings are just waiting for the Eagles to falter with the hope they can scoop up the No. 1 seed. Minnesota will face one of the league’s easiest schedules to finish the year – unfortunately, so will Philadelphia.
Saints Keep Themselves on Fringes of Playoff Contention
The Saints’ once-vaunted defense had given up at least 28 points in their last four games, but they came out firing against the Raiders on Sunday. New Orleans shut out Las Vegas, held Davante Adams to just one catch, and stifled running back Josh Jacobs, who’d posted 140+ yards in each of his last three games.
Alvin Kamara scored three touchdowns in Week 8, and he’ll be critical if the Saints want to reverse their fortunes over the next several weeks. They’ll face several tough opponents before their Week 14 bye, including the Ravens, Rams, and Buccaneers.
Could the Falcons Host a Home Playoff Game?
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Falcons. But Arthur Smith has crafted an offense capable of keeping Atlanta in games, and they escaped a potential trainwreck in Week 8. The Falcons won a crazy game against the division rival Panthers to move to 4-4 and take over first place in the NFC South.
The Buccaneers were viewed as the de facto division winners heading into the season, but their struggles have created an opening for the Falcons. Atlanta will play the Chargers, Panthers (again), Bears, Commanders, and Steelers over the next five weeks. There’s no reason they can’t go 4-1 in those games.
Seahawks, 49ers Buoy Playoff Positions
The Seahawks got a win against the Giants in Week 8 and are sitting all alone at the top of the NFC West. They’d be the conference’s No. 3 seed if the season ended today, which isn’t something anybody would have believed before the year began. Seattle gets Arizona and Tampa Bay before their Week 11 bye.
San Francisco pulled out a victory over the Rams in a game in which Christian McCaffrey was responsible for three touchdowns (one passing, one rushing, one receiving). Los Angeles, meanwhile, is only 3-4, so they’re still in the NFC West and Wild Card battle.
Commanders Win Third Straight to Keep Hopes Alive
Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin helped the Commanders to a last-second victory over the Colts, thereby keeping Washington’s playoff hopes alive for one more week. The NFC East looks like the best division in football, as every team is at least .500 after eight weeks.
It will be tough for the Commanders to keep this up, as they’ll face the Vikings and Eagles (combined 13-1) over the next two weeks. Plus, they still have to face the Falcons, 49ers, and Giants (twice to close the season).