2022 NFL Playoff Predictions for the NFC

  • Strong competition in the NFC
  • Check out our 2022 NFL playoff predictions for the NFC
  • Teams heating up in late season
  • Packers continue to dominate
2022 NFL playoff predictions

The NFL regular season is slowly coming to an end and we’re about to officially enter the football postseason. The thing is, there are still 13 open spots as the Green Bay Packers are the only team with a clinched position. For the 2021-2022 playoffs, 14 teams will take part in the competition with three wildcards from each conference. We’re going to focus on the NFC first as the playoff picture is a bit clearer. Here are our 2022 NFL playoff predictions for the NFC, as of Week 16.

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The NFL passed a measure earlier this year which added a 17th regular-season game to the schedule. It was done to grow and popularize football internationally. The Super Bowl is pushed back by a week as a result. With only two weeks left of the NFL regular season, only five teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets, and Chicago Bears will be staying home this year. Technically there are 14 teams from the NFC still in the competition. Five of these teams are currently under .500 so they either come up with some miracles in the next two weeks or they will be out too. 

Current playoff system and tie-breaking procedure

We’ll quickly explain how qualification for the NFL playoffs works since 2020. The four division champions from each conference will receive the 1, 2, 3, and 4 seeds. The remaining three positions are the wildcard spots and are given to the three teams with the best record in the conference (outside of the division champions of course). So for example, if the regular season ended on December 22, the rankings for the NFC would be the following: 1. Packers 2. Cowboys 3. Bucs 4. Cardinals 5. Rams 6. 49ers 7. Vikings

In case of any ties, which is very likely, there is a set of tie-breaking rules. Tie games count as either a half win or half loss for the clubs. The procedures come into effect if two or more teams have the same record within the division.

NFC North

With less than three weeks left from the regular season, Green Bay is the only team with a clinched playoff spot, not only in the NFC but in the whole league too. The Packers are currently 11-3, followed by the 7-7 Vikings and the 4-10 Bears. The Detroit Lions are eliminated so that leaves them out of the 2022 NFL playoff predictions.

The Packers will have to defend their home turf against Cleveland on December 25th and the odds are in their favor. Bovada has them winning at -360 and the Browns at +280. Green Bay has won 11 straight home games but the Browns are also 3-0 against NFC teams since 2020. Their last two meetings will be against the Vikings and the Lions. Moneyline bets should be available soon for the Vikings game. Seeing how the Packers are performing and their remaining three games, we see them finishing on 13-4 or even 14-3.

The Vikings are currently fighting for a wildcard spot but the question is if they can hold onto it for a couple more weeks. Currently, 7th in the NFC, Minnesota has to face the Rams, Packers, and the Bears. Things are not looking bright for the Vikings. Even though they will have a home-field advantage against the Rams, experts from online sportsbooks in the US don’t see them winning. Current odds are +135 for the Vikings and -160 for LA. We expect Minnesota to finish the season with an 8-9 record. Chicago is balancing on the edge of a knife. They haven’t been performing well lately and they would need a miracle to make it into the playoffs. This week, their odds are +230 against Seattle and experts aren’t favoring them much either. They face the Giants and Vikings in the following weeks but we don’t see them finishing with a better record than 5-12.

NFC East

The Dallas Cowboys are currently leading the NFC East with a 10-4 record. They’ve also won their last three games. The Cowboys’ last three games are against Washington, Arizona, and Philadelphia. It’s a relatively hard schedule but let’s see what the number one ranked offense can do. The majority of experts have Dallas winning against Washington. The Cowboys also came away with the W in their previous encounter a few weeks ago. The Cardinals game will be a hard one as both teams kind of balance each other out. Currently, they are favored over the Eagles but that game is more than two weeks away. We’ll have to wait and see if any changes in the performance and lineups will happen. Behind Dallas are the Philadelphia Eagles (7-7), Washington Football Team (6-8), and the New York Giants (4-10). Let’s see their chances for the 2022 NFL playoffs.

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The Eagles’ first matchup is against the Giants, who pulled off an upset just a couple of weeks ago. However, the difference is that Philadelphia is 2-0 since then while New York is 0-3. Online sportsbook news in the US heavily favors the Eagles in their next matchup. Could the Giants crush Philly’s playoff hopes? Week 17 is also in the favor of the Eagles as they face Washington, whom they just beat recently. Philadelphia has a high chance of finishing the season with a 9-8 record. Washington is in trouble as they’ve lost both of their previous games against Dallas and Philly. The most possible scenario for them is a 7-9 record, which isn’t enough for a wildcard spot. The New York Giants are pretty much out of the 2022 NFL playoffs. Bovada has them at +350 against the Eagles on December 26th. Even if they win their last two games against Chicago and Washington, they would still be on a weak 6-11.

NFC South

Reigning champion Tampa Bay is leading the NFC South with a 10-4 current and is looking to secure a playoff spot this week. Out of their three remaining games, two are against the Panthers. The odds for the Week 16 matchup favor them with a -460. That’s a pretty big deficit. Even with the Bucs’ injured roster, the experts don’t think Carolina can walk off with the win.

2022 NFL playoff predictions
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Tampa is projected to finish with a 13-4 record which will no doubt put them into the playoffs. Unless Cam Newton somehow catches fire the Panthers are not winning against the Bucs. The playoff hope of New Orleans is still alive as they head into Week 16 with a 7-7 record. The Saints will face Miami at home for a pretty even matchup. Current odds favor the Saints with a -165 as they have the home-field advantage.

Both Miami and New Orleans have been pretty good in the late season. Atlanta and Carolina are 6-8 and 5-9, respectively. The Falcons will most likely win their next game against Detroit but they will have Buffalo and New Orleans left. They barely beat the Saints in November but this time they’ll have the home-field advantage. A lot of things would have to go right for the Falcons to crawl up to the 7th spot. Recent events could favor Atlanta at home, however. The Panthers’ hopes are slim. With a 5–9 record after Week 15, they have to face the Bucs two more times. In our 2022 NFL playoff predictions, there’s not much room for Carolina. Even if they win all games (which is pretty impossible) they would only end up with an 8-9 record. Although the Panthers could still upset the playoff chances of their rivals.

NFC West

The NFC West looks like a true battleground as all four teams are still in playoff contention. Furthermore, the Cardinals and Rams both have a 10-4 record. Even though Arizona’s overall season has been pretty good, they’re a bit rusty lately. Experts from online sportsbooks in the US don’t see them winning against the Colts. Indianapolis is on a roll and Jonathan Taylor seems unstoppable.

Even worse, they have to go to Dallas during Week 17. The results of the upcoming weeks could knock down the Cardinals a few spots in the 2022 NFL playoffs rankings. As for the Rams, they have the chance to finish as division champions. They’re 3-0 so far in December and analysts predict that the O-line will steamroll through the Vikings. Their next opponent, the Ravens, have lost their 3 last games. You shouldn’t count them out, but can they stop the Rams in Week 17?

The San Francisco 49ers are currently 3rd in the NFC West with an impressive 8-6 record. Their game against the Titans will be one of the most entertaining during Week 16. The return of Julio Jones to the 9-5 Titans could tip the balance of power. Right now, Bovada has the 49ers winning with -170. San Francisco might run into some trouble when they meet the Rams in January. All in all, they have the chance to hold onto their wildcard position for the playoffs. Seattle has won their last two games and is heading into Week 16 with a 5-9 record. Experts pick them over Chicago in their matchup but it might be too late for them. If they beat Detroit in Week 17, they’ll have to face the Cardinals at home. Their recent matchup didn’t end well for the Seahawks.

Our early predictions for the 2022 NFL playoffs

Recent performances, upsets, and injuries could shake up the playoff picture in the NFC. Even at Week 16, there are a lot of teams still in the competition. Some of these clubs have slim hopes of making it into the playoffs but they can still disrupt the order. We’ve put together our early predictions for the 2022 NFC playoff picture. Keep in mind that there are still a couple of weeks left of the regular season and some minor factors could still come into play. To stay updated on the upcoming games, Bovada offers odds for spread, moneyline, totals, and props betting. Make sure to check it out every now and then as these change most of the time. If you’re interested in the playoffs, you might also want to take a look at Super Bowl betting.

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So without any further ado, here’s what we think the NFC playoff picture will look like:

  1. Green Bay Packers 14-3 (1st in NFC North)
  2. Dallas Cowboys 13-4 (1st in NFC East)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-4 (1st in NFC South)
  4. Los Angeles Rams 13-4 (1st in NFC West)
  5. Arizona Cardinals 11-6 (2nd in NFC West)
  6. San Francisco 49ers 10-7 (3rd in NFC West)
  7. New Orleans Saints* 10-7 (2nd in NFC South)

*The 7th spot could be taken by the Philadelphia Eagles as well. The Eagles are most likely to finish with a 9-8 record and the Saints are not guaranteed to win all their remaining games. Both teams are dark horses this year.

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