Projecting the NFL playoff picture: Updated chances to clinch, tight races to watch

by Ricardo Gutierrez - We're tracking close playoff hunts in both conferences. Who is in -- or out -- based on ESPN's current projections?

NFL playoff picture: Updated chances to clinch, projected bracket We're tracking close playoff hunts in both conferences. Who is in -- or out -- based on ESPN's Football Power Index current projections? Outside the Lines by null 01/06/23 NFL Playoff Probability Updates Loading Updated The ESPN Analytics team's live NFL playoff probabilities -- which combine live in-game win probabilities with our Football Power Index (FPI) season projections -- will provide each team's postseason chances throughout the Week 18 slate . The projected final standings will update regularly, and you can track tight races over the course of the weekend. Here's how it all works. Methodology Playoff probabilities are updated as the games progress, based on ESPN Analytics' live win probabilities and its NFL Football Power Index projections. Live in-game win probabilities measure multiple factors, including score, time remaining, field position, down-and-distance, team/opponent strength and game site. These live probabilities are used by FPI season projections, which simulate the season based on each team's strength, schedule and tiebreaking rules. The result is a live representation of a team's various playoff, division and seed chances, along with an updated projection of the final standings. CURRENT AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE 0-20% 20-40% 40-60% 60-80% 80-100% Team Make Playoffs Win Division Earn No. 1 Seed 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 Data updated as of * The AFC's No. 1 seed probabilities are based on these scenarios after Week 17's Bills-Bengals game was canceled and NFL owners approved an alternate plan . CURRENT NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE 0-20% 20-40% 40-60% 60-80% 80-100% Team Make Playoffs Win Division Earn No. 1 Seed 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 Data updated as of What to Watch Nearly a dozen teams have something to play for on Sunday, and plenty of exciting surprises and twists of fate still lie ahead on the regular season's final day. We're tracking the most intriguing races -- including battles for the final spots in each conference -- from Sunday's first kickoff until the evening's last play. WHO WILL LAND THE NO. 1 SEED IN THE NFC? PROBABILITY (%) TIME (ET) Data updated as of For most of the season, it looked like the Eagles would roll to the NFC's top seed. But a shoulder injury to MVP candidate Jalen Hurts played a part in a two-game skid, setting up a three-way race for the conference's top seed. It's still win-and-clinch for the Eagles, but the Cowboys and 49ers are right on their heels. San Francisco needs a win and Philly loss, while Dallas is looking for a win and losses from both SF and PHI. What to watch: All three teams are favored by 10 or more points in their Week 18 matchups in ESPN's FPI projections. And with the Giants already locked into the No. 6 seed, it's possible Philly won't be playing against all of New York's starters. WHO WILL TAKE THE FINAL NFC PLAYOFF SPOT? PROBABILITY (%) TIME (ET) Data updated as of Three teams are fighting for the final NFC playoff spot, and it will come down to Sunday night. The Seahawks play at 4:25 p.m. ET and can complete their improbable run to the postseason with a win against the Rams and a Packers loss. The Lions need a Seattle loss and a win of their own to take the seventh seed. And the Packers -- who had just a 3% chance to make the playoffs six weeks ago, per ESPN's FPI -- would clinch simply with a win on "Sunday Night Football." What to watch: ESPN's FPI gives Seattle a 58% chance to beat Los Angeles, which would eliminate Detroit. But it might prove moot because Green Bay is favored on Sunday night (65%), which would give the Packers the edge over the Seahawks for the No. 7 seed. WHO WILL TAKE THE FINAL AFC PLAYOFF SPOT? PROBABILITY (%) TIME Data updated as of After the JAGUARS/TITANS won the AFC South on Saturday, there's just one AFC playoff spot still up for grabs. The Patriots have the inside track at the moment with a win-and-in situation. The Dolphins have to win and get a New England loss, while the Steelers have to win and see the other two both lose Sunday. If all three of them lose, it'll be JACKSONVILLE/NEW ENGLAND taking the final spot. This race will be sealed up after the 1 p.m. ET window. What to watch: The Patriots might have the easiest clinching scenario, but they are also the only one of the trio not favored on Sunday. The Bills are nearly 10-point favorites over the Pats, per ESPN's FPI. The Dolphins have a slight advantage over the Jets, while the Steelers barely edge the Browns. Related Stories How We Got Here The chart below shows what each NFL team’s chances to make the playoffs were at the end of each week throughout the season. With much still up in the air entering Week 18, you can see the defining moments for each franchise as they climbed and fell in postseason likelihood. Check out the Packers’ wild ride! And how about the Giants’ rise? Team playoff probabilities, Week 1-17 0-20% 20-40% 40-60% 60-80% 80-100% AFC East 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Bills Dolphins Jets Patriots AFC North 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Bengals Browns Ravens Steelers AFC South 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Colts Jaguars Texans Titans AFC West 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Broncos Chargers Chiefs Raiders NFC East 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Commanders Cowboys Eagles Giants NFC North 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Bears Lions Packers Vikings NFC South 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Buccaneers Falcons Panthers Saints NFC West 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 49ers Cardinals Rams Seahawks Our Latest Week 18 Coverage Edited by Ben Arledge. Produced by ESPN Creative Studio: Dominique DeMoe, Jarret Gabel, Luke Knox, Dan Pellegrino, Garrett Siegel, Rachel Weiss. Illustrations by Elias Stein. ESPN Analytics: Hank Gargiulo, Matt Morris, Lauren Poe.