NFL Week 18 AFC playoff picture: How the Ravens, Chargers, Raiders, Colts and Steelers can make the postseason

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Entering the final week of the regular season, five AFC teams have secured a postseason berth: the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. Two playoff spots are still up for grabs and there are five remaining teams in the AFC fighting for the final spots. In order of their current rankings, the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens will put their playoff hopes on the line in Week 18. Let’s take a closer look at the NFL Week 18 AFC playoff picture. Plus, check out final scores and standings from Week 18  here.

How can the Chargers make the playoffs?

The Chargers and Raiders have the potential to be part of one of the stranger playoff-clinching scenarios in recent memory when they face off on Sunday Night Football. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC with Football Night in America. The match-up will also be available via live stream on Peacock.

If the Chargers defeat the Raiders on Sunday night, they will advance to the postseason. The Chargers have posted a 3-3 record in their last six matchups while the Raiders have won three straight games since falling to the Chiefs, 48-9, in Week 14. The last time these two teams met in Week 4, the Chargers won, 28-14, in Los Angeles.

But there is also a scenario in which a tie would result in a playoff berth for both teams. If the Colts lose to the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon, both the Chargers and Raiders would clinch a playoff berth with a tie and the teams could hypothetically choose to kneel on every play to run out the clock.

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley dismissed this possibility on The Rich Eisen Show earlier this week: “I think we all respect the game and the NFL shield and the integrity of this game far too much to be complicit in something like that…We’re going to do everything we can to go win this game, and play the way we’re capable of playing.”

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) (at 9-7 Las Vegas Raiders)

Los Angeles Chargers clinch playoff berth with:

1. LAC win or tie

RELATED: When is Super Bowl 2022: Date, time, halftime show, location

How can the Raiders make the playoffs?

For the Raiders, there are three scenarios in which they can secure a playoff berth on Sunday. Just like the Chargers, the Raiders can advance to the postseason with a win on Sunday night or a Colts loss and tie vs. the Chargers. The Raiders can also make the playoffs even if they lose to the Chargers with help from other teams. A Colts loss to the Jaguars and a Steelers loss to the Ravens would allow the Raiders to advance to the postseason.

Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) (vs. 9-7 Los Angeles Chargers)

Las Vegas clinches playoff berth with:

  1. LV win OR
  2. LV tie + IND loss OR
  3. IND loss + PIT loss or tie

RELATED: NFL Week 18 NFC Playoff Picture: What is the path to the postseason for the 49ers and Saints?

How can the Steelers make the playoffs?

After defeating the Cleveland Browns on Monday night, the Steelers still have an outside chance to earn an AFC wild card spot in the playoffs. Pittsburgh’s chances at winning the division were extinguished when the Cincinnati Bengals upset the Kansas City Chiefs, 34-31, to win the AFC North title. Three things need to happen in order for the Steelers to advance to the postseason. First, they have to defeat the Ravens to improve to 9-7-1 on the season. Then, the Colts need to lose to the Jaguars and the Chargers-Raiders game cannot end in a tie.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) (at 8-8 Baltimore Ravens)

Pittsburgh clinches playoff berth with:

  1. PIT win + IND loss + LV-LAC game does not end in a tie

How can the Colts make the playoffs?

After losing to the Raiders last Sunday, the Colts fell to 9-7 on the season. There are three different ways in which the Colts can advance to the postseason. The simplest way is that they need to defeat the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon. The Colts are highly favored against a 2-14 Jaguars team, but they have not won a game in Jacksonville since 2014.  Jacksonville has also some recent success against Indy. In the Jaguars’ past 33 games, they are 2-2 against the Colts and 2-27 against everyone else.

If the Colts are upset by the Jaguars on Sunday, two other scenarios can give them a playoff berth: a Chargers loss and a tie between the Ravens and Steelers OR losses by both the Chargers and Steelers and a Dolphins win.

Indianapolis Colts (9-7) (at 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars)

Indianapolis clinches playoff berth with:

  1. IND win or tie OR
  2. LAC loss + BAL-PIT tie OR
  3. LAC loss + PIT loss + MIA win

How can the Ravens make the playoffs?

Meanwhile for the Ravens, who currently occupy the No. 10 seed in the AFC, their playoff chances are slim after losing their fifth straight game last week. In order to advance, the Ravens will be tasked with defeating the Steelers in what is expected to be Ben Roethlisberger‘s final game. Baltimore also needs three other scenarios to play out: a Chargers loss to the Raiders and a Colts loss to the Jaguars and a Dolphins loss or tie to the Patriots.

Baltimore Ravens (8-8) (vs. 8-7-1 Pittsburgh Steelers)

Baltimore clinches playoff berth with:

  1. BAL win + LAC loss + IND loss + MIA loss or tie

Week 18 NFL Picks and Power Rankings

Mike Florio and the team at ProFootballTalk have broken down their picks and power rankings for Week 18. They have Aaron Rodgers and the 13-3 Green Bay Packers at the top of the list. Click here to see where the rest of the league falls as we enter the final week of the regular season.

Current 2021 NFL Playoff picture

2021 AFC Standings

Tennessee Titans (11-5) – clinched division title

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) – clinched division title

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) – clinched division title

Buffalo Bills (10-6) – clinched playoff berth

New England Patriots (10-6) – clinched playoff berth

Indianapolis Colts (9-7)

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

On the bubble:

Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1)

Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

2021 NFC Standings

Green Bay Packers (13-3) – secured No. seed

Los Angeles Rams (12-4) – clinched playoff berth

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4) – clinched division title

Dallas Cowboys (11-5) – clinched division title

Arizona Cardinals (11-5) – clinched playoff berth

San Francisco 49ers (9-7)

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – clinched playoff berth

On the bubble:

New Orleans Saints (8-8)

For all the latest fantasy football news and insight, visit NBC Sports Edge.

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What to know about the 2023 Pro Bowl: Dates, how to watch/live stream info, AFC, NFC coaches, competition schedule, and more

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The 2023 NFL Pro Bowl will take place over the course of two days at Allegiant Stadium–home of the Las Vegas Raiders–in Paradise, Nevada. The excitement begins on Thursday, February 2 as NFL fan-favorites compete in a brand-new skills challenge featuring the following events: Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball, Lightning Round, Longest Drive, Precision Passion, and Best Catch.

Sunday, February 5 will feature the following: the Best Catch Finale, Gridiron Gauntlet, Kick Tack Toe, Move the Chains, and three seven-on-seven non-contact Flag football games between the league’s best players.

See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 Pro Bowl as well as answers to all of your frequently asked questions.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

Who are the coaches for the 2023 Pro Bowl?

AFC Coaches:

  • Peyton Manning – Head Coach
  • Ray Lewis – Defensive Coordinator
  • Diana Flores – Offensive Coordinator

NFC Coaches:

  • Eli Manning – Head Coach
  • Demarcus Ware – Defensive Coordinator
  • Vanita Krouch – Offensive Coordinator

How will the 2023 Pro Bowl be different from previous editions of the event?

Rather than the traditional tackle football game, this year’s Pro Bowl will debut a skills competition and a non-contact flag football game.

How will scoring work?

According to the NFL, points will be calculated in the following way:

  • The winning conference of each skill competition earns three points towards their team’s overall score, with 24 total points available across the eight skills events.
  • The winning conference from each of the first two Flag football games on Sunday will earn six points for their team, for a total of 12 available points.
  • Points from the skills competitions and first two Flag games will be added together and will be the score at the beginning of the third and final Flag game, which will determine the winning conference for The Pro Bowl Games.

How to watch the 2023 Pro Bowl:

  • Where: Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada
  • When: Thursday, February 2 (7:00 PM ET) and Sunday, February 5 (3:00 PM ET)
  • TV Channel: ESPN, ABC, and Disney XD

When is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 takes place on Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Where is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 will be contested at State Farm Stadium–home of the Arizona Cardinals– in Glendale, Arizona.

What teams are playing in Super Bowl 2023?

The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Kansas City Chiefs marking the first time since 2017 that both top seeds qualified for the Super Bowl.


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Super Bowl food 2023: Appetizer, entrée, and dessert ideas for Super Bowl LVII inspired by the Eagles and Chiefs

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As the countdown continues toward Super Bowl LVII, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are getting their game plans set. But while they go over their plays, the rest of America goes over their menus in preparation for the big day. When it comes to the Super Bowl, everything is always the best — the best teams, the best performers and, of course, the best food.

But how can you impress your party in the kitchen while showing support for your favorite team? Let’s take a look at some iconic food from each of the Super Bowl team cities to prepare for Super Bowl LVII.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl LVII: Date, location, how to watch

Philadelphia Super Bowl food

Crabfries

Why have plain old fries when you could have crabfries? That’s exactly what Pete Ciarrocchi, the CEO of the legendary Philadelphia restaurant Chickie and Pete’s, said one day when creating this intriguing concoction.

While the name may be misleading, crabfries do not contain any actual crab, but rather a blend of spices and Old Bay seasoning that allow the dish to take on a subtle seafood flavor. Topped with a creamy, cheesy dipping sauce, the crinkle-cut fries are sure to take your taste buds to the next level.

Cheesesteak sloppy joes

It simply isn’t Philly without a cheesesteak. Keep it casual in your kitchen on Super Bowl Sunday with Katie Lee Biegel’s Philly Cheesesteak sloppy joes, an easy way to rep the Birds.

Can’t get enough of the cheesesteak? Bring some more Philly specials to the table with this cheesesteak dip, the perfect way to amp up your appetizer game and leave party guests feeling like they just took a trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

RELATED: Rob Gronkowski predicts Eagles to win Super Bowl LVII

Water ice

Is the action of the game heating up? Cool down with a classic Philly treat, water ice. First originating in Bensalem, Pennsylvania in 1984, the icy dessert is now sold in over 600 stores nationwide. The original Rita’s Water Ice shop, however, still remains open for business.

You can even show a little extra passion for the Birds by whipping up this green apple variation, sure to leave you refreshed and ready for the Lombardi.

Kansas City Super Bowl food

Cheese slippers

If you’re looking for a classy, yet authentic appetizer to bring to the table, there’s no better fit than the cheese slipper. This ciabatta loaf baked with melty cheeses and topped with seasonal vegetables and herbs has Kansas City natives hooked.

While the bread is typically baked to perfection by local shops, test your own skill level with this gourmet slipper bread recipe that you can complete with the mouth-watering toppings of your choice.

RELATED: How many Super Bowls have the Chiefs been to, won?

BBQ burnt ends

It’s rare to hear the words Kansas City without barbeque following short after. If you’re looking to impress your guests with your Super Bowl food spread, get out to the grill and start showing off.

While many cities in America know how to cook up some excellent BBQ, the combination of the sweet flavors and mouth-watering sauce has made Kansas City a hub for barbeque lovers for decades.

BBQ burnt ends, while a bit time-consuming, are  well worth a little elbow grease. The dish is also one of the few in Kansas City with a distinct origin story. The meal first found its creation at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, a legendary African American restaurant in KC. Bryant originally made the burnt ends from the trimmings of pork belly, but since then, BBQ lovers have made incredible bites out of many styles of meat.

And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, try fixing up some classic Kansas City sides to pair with your entrée to perfection.

RELATED: What to know about Rihanna, the Super Bowl LVII halftime performer

Chiefs chocolate chip cookies

While there is no specific dessert that defines the Heart of America, you can still show your Kansas City pride with these ever-colorful Chiefs chocolate chip cookies.

Make sure to have your food dye handy, because the red and yellow hue of these cookies are sure to show everyone whose side you are on.

Or, if you’re feeling artistic, design an eye-catching Chiefs jersey out of the fan-favorite rice krispie treats. Whether you make Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce or Chris Jones, you’ll have the tastiest Super Bowl jerseys around.

How to watch the Super Bowl 2023 – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs:

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