With three weeks left in the NFL Regular Season, not much has been decided in the deep AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs hold the 1-seed, but the New England Patriots are just a game behind. Teams like the Indianapolis Colts have surged into playoff contention while squads like the Baltimore Ravens have stepped onto the playoff bubble. Check out AFC matchup predictions for the NFL Playoffs’ opening weekend so you can continue planning your bets against the NFL Playoffs odds.
NFL AFC Projected Opening Weekend Playoff Matchups
2022 NFL Wild Card Weekend
- When: Saturday, Jan. 15 – Monday, Jan. 17
Kansas City will lose the 1-seed to the Patriots and face the Bills
The Chiefs look like locks to win the AFC’s 1-seed. But in NFL Week 16, Patrick Mahomes may have to play without his top two targets, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
Both players have yet to clear coronavirus protocols. If the Chiefs are without Kelce and Hill, the Steelers could pull off the massive upset victory.
Doing so means the Patriots would regain the top seed with a win against the Buffalo Bills. The prediction here is that’s exactly what happens.
New England beats the Bills, Jaguars, and Dolphins and wins the NFC East with the best record in the conference. Kansas City ends up playing during the first playoff weekend.
The opponent that weekend will be the 7-seed Buffalo Bills. The Bills will beat the Falcons and Jets to end the season on a high note. But they’ll lose to the Patriots in Week 16.
The Titans have won the head-to-head against Buffalo and will also have the better conference record, which is why Buffalo falls to the 7-seed and the Titans end up the 6-seed.
Tennessee will sneak into the playoffs as the 6-seed and play against 3-seed Indianapolis
The Colts will win out, beating the Cardinals, Raiders, and Jaguars, while the Titans will lose 2-of-3 and end up making the playoffs with the 6-seed.
Right now, Indianapolis is the best team in the NFL. The Colts boast the best running back in football, Jonathan Taylor, who runs behind the best offensive line in the league.
Carson Wentz is a solid quarterback while the defense is second in takeaways heading into Week 16 with 30. Indianapolis is a Super Bowl caliber squad, which is why they’ll rally to win their division.
The Titans would still be in danger of losing the AFC South because beating the Dolphins in Week 17 isn’t a lock and Houston, the Week 18 opponent, already beat the Titans.
So even if Tennessee pulls off the upset victory over San Francisco in Week 16, they may not take the division. Expect the Titans to lose to both the Fins and the Texans, which will send them from division winners to the 6th seed.
The Bengals win the AFC North to lock up the 4-seed while the Chargers end up the top wildcard team
The Bengals control their destiny. Heading into Week 16, Cincinnati is 8-6. Joe Burrow and his mates can knock out the Ravens on Dec. 26 and end Cleveland’s playoff dreams on Jan. 9.
Even if the Chiefs beat the Bengals on Jan. 2, Cincinnati would finish at 9-7 and hold the tiebreakers against the Ravens. The Steelers can’t afford to lose, which means Pittsburgh must run the table against the Chiefs, Browns, and Ravens.
That’s unlikely. So the Bengals have a great shot of winning the AFC North. Which team will the Bengals face in their first playoff game?
The Los Angeles Chargers should have beaten the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. The Bolts had a lead but let it slip from their grasps.
LAC wins out, beating the Texans, Broncos, and Raiders, and stamps their ticket to the playoffs as the 5-seed.