The NFL opened Week 14 on Thursday with an appetizer, but Sunday brings a huge day for the playoff picture. Three different teams can clinch a playoff berth, and several more can firm up their current position.
The Eagles, Vikings, and Chiefs are all in position to secure a berth in the 2023 NFL Playoffs before the end of Sunday. Philadelphia and Minnesota can clinch a berth with just a win, while Kansas City needs a win and some help. The Eagles can clinch a playoff berth, while the Vikings can clinch the NFC North. The Chiefs can clinch the AFC West with a win and a Chargers loss on Sunday Night Football.
We get a busy day of matchups beyond those three teams. In the early window, Jets-Bills could tighten up or widen the AFC East race. Browns-Bengals and Ravens-Steelers are a lot more interesting than many would have expected a couple weeks ago with Cleveland Pittsburgh showing life. And Eagles-Giants could clean up the NFC East a bit.
In the late window, 49ers QB Brock Purdy makes his starting debut against the Bucs following Jimmy Garoppolo’s foot injury. With the Seahawks hosting the Panthers at the same time, the NFC West could get some clarity or get muddier heading into 49ers-Seahawks in Week 15.
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The Ravens gutted out another win in spite of a QB injury. Tyler Huntley was knocked out, which brought out UDFA Anthony Brown. Somehow the Ravens held off the Steelers in spite of that to improve to 9-4 and remain atop the AFC North in spite of the Bengals also winning.
In the NFC, the Eagles crushed the Giants to clinch the first playoff berth for the 2023 NFL Playoffs. The Giants drop into eight place as they trail the Commanders in the wild card tiebreaker. The Cowboys maintained pace in the division just barely, struggling all day before coming back in the closing seconds to beat the woeful Texans.
One of the big wins of the day belongs to the Lions. They were betting favorites over the Vikings, but it was still impressive to see them win for the fifth time in six games. The Vikings remain likely to win the NFC North title, but the Lions are not going in the playoff race.
The biggest AFC upset of the early window saw the Jaguars come back after a slow first quarter to thump the Titans 36-22. Tennessee remains in first place in the division, but the Jaguars inched closer in the wild card race.
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The Chiefs held off the Broncos after almost blowing a 27-0 lead. If the Chargers lose on Sunday Night Football, Kansas City will clinch the AFC West title. The Panthers stunned the Seahawks, going into Seattle and pulling out a 30-17 win. That coupled with the 49ers crushing the Bucs means San Francisco can clinch the NFC West title on Thursday when they travel to Seattle. The Seahawks for now drop into eighth place and the Giants move into the final wild card berth.
The Chargers beat the Dolphins to close out Sunday. With the win and the Jets loss, LA moves into seventh place and the Jets drop to eighth. If the Patriots win on Monday, they’ll move into seventh, LA would drop to eighth, and New York would drop the ninth.
The Arizona Cardinals lost their QB Kyler Murray on the first drive of the game and it was slowly downhill from there. Colt McCoy held down the job, but couldn’t get enough offense together to beat the Patriots. It wasn’t pretty on either side, but the Patriots were the more well-rounded team overall and put them in the Wild Card spot for now.
Here’s a look at what the playoff picture looks like on Sunday. We’ll update through each window as the league works its way through Week 14.
AFC playoff picture
8. Los Angeles Chargers, 7-6
9. New York Jets, 7-6
10. Jacksonville Jaguars, 5-8
11. Las Vegas Raiders, 5-8
12. Cleveland Browns, 5-8
13. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-8
14. Indianapolis Colts, 4-8-1
15. Denver Broncos, 3-10 — eliminated
16. Houston Texans, 1-11-1 — eliminated
NFC playoff picture
8. Seattle Seahawks, 7-6
9. Detroit Lions, 6-7
10. Green Bay Packers, 5-8
11. Carolina Panthers, 5-8
12. Atlanta Falcons 5-8
13. Arizona Cardinals, 4-9
14. New Orleans Saints, 4-9
15. Los Angeles Rams, 4-9
16. Chicago Bears, 3-10 — eliminated