The NFL regular season is officially over. 14 teams have claimed a playoff spot, leaving 18 others with a sour taste in their mouths until next season. Which squads will have a chance to win the Lombardi trophy?
32. Chicago Bears (3-14) (Eliminated) Prev: 32
The Chicago Bears are somehow on the clock. The Bears’ loss, coupled with the Texans’ win, means the Bears finish with the worst record in the NFL this season. The Bears may have the quarterback position figured out, but everywhere else needs help. They’ll have the most spending money and the top pick in the draft to help figure it out.
Team MVP: Greg Stroman Jr (8 tackles, INT)
31. Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1) (Eliminated) Prev: 30
Jeff Saturday’s tenure as interim head coach has come to an end. He only won one game and will have the Colts picking in the top five. If the Colts are willing to craft a trade package, they could trade with the Bears to jump their division rivals, the Texans, for the quarterback of their choice.
Team MVP: Zack Moss (114 yds, TD)
30. Arizona Cardinals (4-13) (Eliminated) Prev: 28
Arizona ended their season with a loss and parted ways with Kliff Kingsbury. Arizona needs to find a head coach that works well with Kyler Murray’s abilities. In addition, Murray’s recovery from his knee injury will weigh heavily on the franchise’s future.
Team MVP: JJ Watt (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFLs, pass defense, 2 QB hits)
29. Los Angeles Rams (5-12) (Eliminated) Prev: 27
The Rams are another team with a questionable future. They’ll get their star players back next year, but their head coach may not be back. Sean McVay has not committed to returning next year, as he doesn’t want to be part of a potential rebuild. The Rams without McVay could be very different.
Team MVP: Cam Akers (104 yds, 3 rec, 24 yds)
28. Houston Texans (3-13-1) (Eliminated) Prev: 31
The Texans deserved to move down this week. Houston won their last two and, as a result, lost their right to pick first in the NFL draft. Instead, they will pick second. Now Houston is at risk of somebody leapfrogging them for the top quarterback in the draft.
Team MVP: Jordan Akins (4 rec, 70 yds, 2 TDs)
27. Denver Broncos (5-12) (Eliminated) Prev: 29
Denver ended their season with a win over the Chargers. The Broncos will be looking for a new head coach, and the team already has one candidate in mind. They’ve asked the Saints for permission to interview Sean Payton. The man who led New Orleans to a Super Bowl title in 2009 would be a great candidate to fix Russell Wilson.
Team MVP: Jerry Jeudy (5 rec, 154 yds)
26. Las Vegas Raiders (6-11) (Eliminated) Prev: 25
The Raiders ended their season with a loss to the Chiefs. Las Vegas will stick with Josh McDaniels for the time being, but Derek Carr likely does not have a future with the team. The Raiders will be looking for a starting quarterback this off-season.
Team MVP: Maxx Crosby (4 tackles, sack)
25. Cleveland Browns (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 24
The Browns leave this year with more questions than answers. Cleveland made a long-term commitment to Deshaun Watson, but when he played at the end of the year, he looked less than stellar. The stars are there with guys like Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, and Amari Cooper, but they need to fill out the rest of their lineup with solid role players.
Team MVP: Nick Chubb (77 yds, 5 rec, 45 yds, TD)
24. Atlanta Falcons (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 26
Atlanta finished their season with a win against the Bucs. The Falcons will likely continue with Desmond Ridder as their starting quarterback due to his play down the stretch. They’ll get Kyle Pitts back next year as well.
Team MVP: Desmond Ridder (19/30, 224 yds, 2 TDs)
23. New Orleans Saints (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 21
New Orleans had a poor showing against the Panthers to end their season. The Saints need a quarterback after the Jameis Winston experiment did not pan out. Sticking with Andy Dalton is not ideal. Unfortunately, they don’t have their draft pick to select one, so they’ll likely look for a stopgap veteran.
Team MVP: Alvin Kamara (107 yds)
22. Carolina Panthers (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 23
The Panthers closed out their year with a win against New Orleans. Carolina will look for a new head coach, although sticking with Steve Wilks isn’t a poor choice. He took the team from an obvious rebuild to almost NFC South champions.
Team MVP: Frankie Luvu (6 tackles, 2 TFLs, pass defense)
21. New York Jets (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 20
The Jets couldn’t keep the Dolphins out of the playoffs. New York was firmly in the mix for a Wild Card spot, but their QB play down the stretch was not good enough to sustain their success. Gang Green will be one of the many teams looking for a quarterback.
Team MVP: Quincy Williams (10 tackles, sack, 3 TFLs, pass defense, QB hit)
20. Washington Commanders (8-8-1) (Eliminated) Prev: 22
Somehow, in a 17-game season, the Commanders found a way to finish .500. Sam Howell looked good against Dallas, leading the Commanders to a win. If Ron Rivera didn’t foolishly turn back to Carson Wentz last week, we could be talking about the Commanders in the playoffs right now.
Team MVP: Kendall Fuller (tackle, 2 pass defenses, INT, TD)
19. Tennessee Titans (7-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 19
Tennessee had a lead late in the winner-take-all game against Jacksonville, but a sack-fumble by Josh Dobbs that got returned for a touchdown led to the Titans’ demise. This team will still run through Derrick Henry, but the team needs a real threat in the passing game to be a threat again.
Team MVP: Derrick Henry (109 yds)
18. New England Patriots (8-9) (Eliminated) Prev: 15
All New England had to do to make the playoffs was to win in Buffalo. Unfortunately for them, they were fighting a motivated Bills team. A playoff team last year, they took a step back in several areas, especially on offense. The sooner Matt Patricia is out of Foxboro, the better off the Patriots are.
Team MVP: DeVante Parker (6 rec, 79 yds, 2 TDs)
17. Green Bay Packers (8-9) (Eliminated) Prev: 13
Like the Patriots, all the Packers had to do was win. Unfortunately for Green Bay, they faced a Lions team fueled by spite. With Aaron Rodgers’ future in question, the Green Bay Packers could be a different team next year.
Team MVP: Christian Watson (5 rec, 104 yds, 12 rush yds)
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8) (Eliminated) Prev: 18
The Steelers did their job, beating the Browns. However, they didn’t get help from the jets, leading to their elimination. Somehow, Mike Tomlin managed to avoid his first-ever losing season. If the Steelers can get a new play-caller and some better players in the secondary, they could be back in the postseason mix again next year.
Team MVP: George Pickens (3 rec, 72 yds, TD)
15. Detroit Lions (9-8) (Eliminated) Prev: 14
The Lions didn’t get help from the Rams, which meant the result of their game against Green Bay was irrelevant to their playoff hopes. Detroit, fueled by spite, made sure the Packers wouldn’t go to the playoffs, either. Dan Campbell certainly has the Lions moving in the right direction.
Team MVP: Jamaal Williams (72 yds, 2 TDs)
14. Seattle Seahawks (9-8) Prev: 17
Thanks to some help from the Lions, the Seahawks are going to the playoffs. This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Seattle. Instead, Pete Carroll turned in one of his finest coaching jobs to date. Pro Bowler Geno Smith will lead the Seahawks into Santa Clara for a showdown with their heated rivals in the Wild Card round.
Team MVP: Kenneth Walker III (114 yds)
Next: at 49ers
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9) Prev: 12
The Bucs closed out their season with a loss to the Falcons. Tampa Bay only played their starters in the first half. They’ll get ready to host the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs.
Team MVP: Akiem Hicks (3 tackles, sack, 2 TFLs, QB hit)
Next: vs Cowboys
12. Miami Dolphins (9-8) Prev: 16
With help from Buffalo, the Dolphins are going to the playoffs. The status of Tua Tagovailoa will be a question mark. If he can’t go, the Dolphins will likely be one-and-done. Their opponents will be the same team that helped them reach the playoffs.
Team MVP: Xavien Howard (2 tackles, 3 pass defenses)
Next: at Bills
11. New York Giants (9-7-1) Prev: 11
The Giants rested their starters against the Eagles and lost. The G-Men are another surprise team, as they were supposed to finish near the bottom of the league. New York gets the Vikings in the Wild Card round as they look to make up for their prior loss earlier in the season.
Team MVP: Nick McCloud (5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, TFL, pass defense, 2 QB hits)
10. Baltimore Ravens (10-7) Prev: 10
The Ravens fell to the Bengals, officially losing out on the AFC North. Now Baltimore gets to play Cincinnati again in the same stadium. The only difference is that maybe the Ravens will have Lamar Jackson.
Team MVP: Isaiah Likely (8 rec, 103 yds)
Next: at Bengals
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) Prev: 9
The Jags are going to the postseason after defeating the Titans. Jacksonville is one of the hottest teams in the league right now and could do some damage in the postseason. They drew the Chargers for their first-round matchup.
Team MVP: Josh Allen (6 tackles, TFL, 2 QB hits, fumble return TD)
Next: vs Chargers
8. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7) Prev: 8
The Chargers weren’t playing for anything, but Los Angeles played some of their starters regardless. That came with consequences, as Mike Williams left with an injury. His status for their playoff game against the Jags is currently unknown.
Team MVP: Keenan Allen (8 rec, 102 yds, 2 TDs)
Next: at Jaguars
7. Dallas Cowboys (12-5) Prev: 7
Dallas had a poor showing against Washington. Despite missing five games, Dak Prescott led the NFL in interceptions. Dak’s decision-making could be the Cowboys’ demise. They get Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round.
Team MVP: Osa Odighizuwa (7 tackles, sack, 2 TFLs)
Next: at Buccaneers
6. Minnesota Vikings (13-4) Prev: 6
Minnesota took down the Bears while playing their starters for one half. The Vikings will be playing the Giants in the Wild Card round. They match up against New York well, as Minnesota’s main weakness is their pass defense. This game could go either way.
Team MVP: KJ Osborn (5 rec, 117 yds)
Next: vs Giants
5. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) Prev: 5
No coin toss necessary between these two. The Bengals beat the Ravens, securing home-field advantage for their playoff game. The defending AFC champs get their division rivals again next week, this time with a win-or-go-home stipulation.
Team MVP: Jessie Bates III (8 tackles, INT)
Next: vs Ravens
4. San Francisco 49ers (13-4) Prev: 4
The Niners beat down the Cardinals with ease. San Francisco secured the second seed as the Eagles beat the Giants. As a result, they’ll play the Seahawks in the Wild Card round, where they’ll be heavily favored. San Francisco could very well win it all.
Team MVP: Tashaun Gipson Sr (2 tackles, 2 INTs)
Next: vs Seahawks
3. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) Prev: 3
Kansas City’s win over the Raiders secured them the one seed in the AFC. They’ll get a first-round bye before they face the lowest remaining seed from the Wild Card round. As is the case every year, the Chiefs are a heavy favorite to win it all.
Team MVP: Chris Jones (5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFLs, 6 QB hits)
2. Buffalo Bills (13-3) Prev: 2
The Bills kept the Patriots out of the playoffs, cruising to a win. It was an unreal environment in Buffalo, especially as Nyheim Hines took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. The Bills are the second seed in the AFC, and they’ll play the team they helped into the playoffs, the Miami Dolphins.
Team MVP: Nyheim Hines (235 total kick return yds, 2 kick return TDs)
Next: vs Dolphins
1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) Prev: 1
It took longer than expected, but the Eagles officially clinched the one seed in the NFC. Philly will get a first-round bye and await the lowest remaining seed from the Wild Card round. When Jalen Hurts is healthy, they could be considered the odds-on favorites to win it all.
Team MVP: Kyzir White (12 tackles, sack, TFL, 2 pass defenses, QB hit)