Week 18 NFL Power Rankings: Hectic Week Creates Playoff Picture

The Jaguars victory over the the Colts highlights a chaotic Week 18. (Photo by Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA Today Sports)

The first-ever Week 18 in the history of the NFL was one that fans will never forget. The playoff picture has been set, and 14 teams will be in to win the Super Bowl. But who are these 14 teams? Here are the final power rankings for the 2021-2022 NFL season.

32. New York Giants (4-13) (Eliminated) Prev: 31

There are teams with worse records, but the Giants were unquestionably the worst team in the league in the final stretch. That mostly has to do with Daniel Jones being injured, with Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm as the quarterbacks. Nonetheless, Dave Gettleman is gone, and the Giants will be picking 5th and 7th in the upcoming draft, thanks to them owning the Bears’ pick, in addition to their own.

Team MVP: Lorenzo Carter (10 tackles, sack)

31. New York Jets (4-13) (Eliminated) Prev: 29

The Jets had a chance to play spoiler but ultimately could not beat the Bills. Zach Wilson showed off glimpses of his potential late in the season, and the Zach Wilson and Robert Saleh era of the Jets will now get ready for year two with the fourth and tenth picks. December and January were not a good time for New York football.

Team MVP: CJ Mosley (13 tackles)

30. Carolina Panthers (5-12) (Eliminated) Prev: 28

Carolina had a promising start to the season but dropped their last seven games. The Panthers will be picking sixth in the upcoming draft and could use the pick to solve their quarterback problem. I wouldn’t expect Cam Newton on the roster next season, but Sam Darnold’s contract is a bit too expensive to drop.

Team MVP: DJ Moore (7 rec, 87 yds)

29. Houston Texans (4-13) (Eliminated) Prev: 27

Houston was very close to playing spoiler for the Titans but could not get it done. Houston can finally rebuild and may already have a quarterback in Davis Mills. They will have the third pick in the draft in addition to any draft capital they may get from a Deshaun Watson trade.

Team MVP: Danny Amendola (7 rec, 113 yds, 2 TDs)

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14) (Eliminated) Prev: 32

In a game that the fans were going to use as an opportunity to quite literally clown management, the Jags spoiled the Colts’ playoff chances. Trevor Lawrence finally showed that generational talent potential and played his best game yet. The Jags are also on the clock, as they will be picking first in the draft. It’s a win-win for Jacksonville.

Team MVP: Damien Wilson (5 tackles, sack, INT)

27. Detroit Lions (3-13-1) (Eliminated) Prev: 30

In a game that didn’t matter, the Lions ended their season with a win. If they had lost, they would be picking first in the draft, but you play to win the game. The Lions showed that they have a lot of fight in them and will now look to rebuild.

Team MVP: Amon-Ra St. Brown (8 rec, 109 yds, TD)

26. Chicago Bears (6-11) (Eliminated) Prev: 24

The Bears lost, but the fans don’t care because Matt Nagy is gone. Ryan Pace is gone too, so the Bears will look to go through an organizational rebuild from top to bottom. Whoever takes the job will not have a first-round pick, but they will have a young quarterback with potential in Justin Fields.

Team MVP: Darnell Mooney (12 rec, 126 yds)

25. Denver Broncos (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 23

The Broncos fell to Kansas City. Denver also fired their coach, Vic Fangio. Denver is in an odd spot, with offensive talent but no quarterback. They’ll pick ninth, so they could take a quarterback if they want one.

Team MVP: Tim Patrick (6 rec, 95 yds)

24. Atlanta Falcons (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 21

Atlanta fell to the Saints in their final game. Matt Ryan will be retained for next season, so no quarterback for the Falcons in the draft. They need a lot, so expect them to take the best player available with the eighth pick.

Team MVP: Russell Gage (9 rec, 126 yds, TD)

23. Washington Football Team (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 26

Washington won their final game of the season and will finish 7-10. This is about where Washington was last year, except the division was so bad, they won it. They will be revealing their new team name this offseason, so say goodbye to the Washington Football Team.

Team MVP: Antonio Gibson (146 yds, TD)

22. Seattle Seahawks (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 25

In a very odd season for Seattle, they ended it by beating the Cardinals. Russell Wilson is expected back, but Pete Carroll’s future is unknown. At the time this is being written, Carroll is still a Seahawk.

Team MVP: Rashaad Penny (190 yds, TD)

21. Cleveland Browns (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 22

The Browns ended their season with a win. Next season Baker Mayfield will be healthy again, and it will be do-or-die for Mayfield. The Browns need to be back in contention next season.

Team MVP: D’Ernest Johnson (123 yds, TD)

20. Minnesota Vikings (8-9) (Eliminated) Prev: 20

The Vikings capped their season with a win over the Bears. Mike Zimmer has been fired, and they will need a new coach next season. It should be a defensive mind, as the offensive talent is already there.

Team MVP: Justin Jefferson (5 rec, 107 yds, TD)

19. Baltimore Ravens (8-9) (Eliminated) Prev: 16

Baltimore has been eliminated. If they had Lamar Jackson for a bit longer than they did, there’s a very good chance they would be in, but unfortunately, that is not how this season went. Nonetheless, the Ravens will look to get back in the hunt next year.

Team MVP: Latavius Murray (150 yds, TD)

18. Miami Dolphins (9-8) (Eliminated) Prev: 19

Miami is very puzzling. After sweeping the Patriots, the Dolphins have fired head coach Brian Flores, who had two winning seasons. New England south is no more, as Miami looks for a new head coach. Possibly an offensive mind, to help Tua’s development.

Team MVP: Duke Johnson (117 yds, TD)

17. New Orleans Saints (9-8) (Eliminated) Prev: 17

The Saints got the win but not the help they needed, and they are out. At the top of New Orleans’ list will be a quarterback, as the rest of their roster is seemingly set. The Saints are a candidate to trade up for a quarterback, as they currently have pick 18.

Team MVP: Alvin Kamara (146 yds)

16. Indianapolis Colts (9-8) (Eliminated) Prev: 13

Oh no, Indy. The Colts had a collapse of historic proportions, as they fell to the Jags in a win-and-in game. There’s no excuse for a loss like this, where they had an open layup to get into the playoffs. The Colts not making the playoffs also eliminates any chance Jonathan Taylor had of winning MVP.

Team MVP: Michael Pittman Jr (6 rec, 64 yds, TD)

15. Los Angeles Chargers (9-8) (Eliminated) Prev: 14

The Chargers were a part of some of the best drama in recent sports history. It was a win and get-in-game for the Chargers and Raiders, but a tie would have gotten both teams in. The Chargers were able to tie it late and send it to overtime. The Raiders appeared to be willing to accept a tie but were able to get in field goal position late. The kick eliminated the Chargers, ending a season of dramatic highs and lows for Los Angeles.

Team MVP: Justin Herbert (34/64, 383 yds, 3 TDs, INT)

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) Prev: 18

The Steelers have somehow, someway found themselves back in the playoffs. It involved two game-winning field goals in overtime from two different teams and a whole lot of drama and anxiety for Steelers fans. Can Big Ben pull one last rabbit out of the hat and lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl?

Team MVP: Cameron Sutton (5 tackles, INT)

Next: at Chiefs

13. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) Prev: 11

The Eagles rested their starters and fell to the Cowboys. Philly will play Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round and have no expectations. The Eagles will be underdogs once again, much like they were in their Super Bowl run.

Team MVP: Kenneth Gainwell (78 yds, TD)

Next: at Buccaneers

12. Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) Prev: 15

Give the Raiders a round of applause. They’ve been through a lot of adversity throughout the season, and it’ll all end up with them in the playoffs. Vegas will play the Bengals in the first round, where both teams are relatively inexperienced in the playoffs. It could go either way.

Team MVP: Josh Jacobs (132 yds, TD)

Next: at Bengals

11. San Francisco 49ers (10-7) Prev: 12

San Fran was faced with a win-or-go-home scenario, and they came out winners. The Niners will return to the playoffs with a roster relatively similar to the team that made the Super Bowl. They’ll take on the Cowboys in round one.

Team MVP: Jauan Jennings (6 rec, 94 yds, TD)

Next: at Cowboys

10. New England Patriots (10-7) Prev: 10

Death, taxes, and the Patriots losing in Miami. Nonetheless, New England now moves to the playoffs, where they will have the rubber match with the Buffalo Bills. The playoffs with a rookie quarterback will be hard but great experience for Mac Jones. If any coach can win the Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback, it’s Bill Belichick.

Team MVP: Brandon Bolden (46 yds, TD, 2 rec, 20 yds, TD)

Next: at Bills

9. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) Prev: 9

The Bengals also rested their starters and fell to the Browns. The Bengals’ roster is very young and is the least experienced playoff team of all these squads. They’ll have to use their athleticism and explosiveness to their advantage to get far.

Team MVP: Mike Hilton (2 tackles, INT)

Next: vs Raiders

8. Arizona Cardinals (11-6) Prev: 6

With a chance to win the division up for grabs due to the Rams’ loss, all Arizona had to do was beat Seattle, which they could not do. Arizona will be a Wild Card team now and visit the Rams in a battle of NFC West squads.

Team MVP: James Conner (52 yds, TD, 6 rec, 41 yds, TD)

Next: at Rams

7. Buffalo Bills (11-6) Prev: 8

The Bills took down the Jets to clinch the AFC East. Buffalo now gets a chance to win the season series, with a third matchup with New England. However, there could be some weather shenanigans going down in Buffalo on Saturday, and we all know what happened last time.

Team MVP: Devin Singletary (88 yds, TD, 2 rec, 24 yds, TD)  

Next: vs Patriots

6. Los Angeles Rams (12-5) Prev: 2

The Rams let their playoff seeding slip and fell to the 49ers. They were saved by the Seahawks and will get at least one home game in the playoffs. They take on the Cardinals in the first round.

Team MVP: Cooper Kupp (7 rec, 118 yds, TD)

Next: vs Cardinals

5. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) Prev: 7

Kansas City was playing for the one seed and won their game. Unfortunately, they did not get help from the Texans, although they came very close. Kansas City will be the second seed in the AFC and will take on the Steelers, who they obliterated a few short weeks ago.

Team MVP: Patrick Mahomes (27/44 270 yds, 2 TDs, 54 rush yds)

Next: vs Steelers

4. Tennessee Titans (12-5) Prev: 5

The AFC goes through Nashville. The Titans have earned a bye week for the first round, which gives them another week to catch Derrick Henry up to speed. They will watch Wild Card Weekend with great interest.

Team MVP: Ryan Tannehill (23/32, 287 yds, 4 TDs)

Next: Bye

3. Dallas Cowboys (12-5) Prev: 4

Dallas beat down the Eagles’ backups to stay in rhythm before the playoffs. Dallas will take on the 49ers in the Wild Card round, a team that went to the Super Bowl a few years ago with a similar team to the one they have now. Dallas has the talent to go all the way but will need to come up big against the Niners to win.

Team MVP: Dak Prescott (21/27 295 yds, 5 TDs)

Next: vs 49ers

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) Prev: 3

The Bucs were playing for nothing more than seeding, and monetary incentives accomplished both of those things and moved up to the second seed after a win over the Panthers. Tom Brady put an exclamation point on his MVP case, a race that has come down to him and Aaron Rodgers. The Bucs will still be without Chris Godwin, who is injured, and Antonio Brown, who they released. They still have the talent to go all the way and will start their playoff run against the Eagles.

Team MVP: Tom Brady (29/37, 326 yds, 3 TDs)

Next: vs Eagles

1. Green Bay Packers (13-4) Prev: 1

The Packers had the one seed wrapped up already, so their loss to the Lions this week does no damage, especially with their starters only playing one half. Green Bay looks like the Super Bowl favorite, but they will still need to get over that NFC Championship hump. They’ll sit back and watch this week to see who their divisional round opponent will be.

Team MVP: Allen Lazard (5 rec, 75 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: Bye