As happy or sad as you might be about it, we have finally reached Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season, aka the final week of the regular season. Some postseason spots are still up for grabs, and our Week 18 NFL Power Rankings reflect those tight races, plus some changes at the top with the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs moving up a slot and the Philadelphia Eagles finally losing their grip on No. 1.
Previous NFL Power Rankings: Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched the NFC South with a win, and the New York Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. A handful of teams saw their postseason dreams officially dashed, while other outcomes just muddied up the playoff picture even further.
So, here are the Week 18 NFL Power Rankings.
1. Buffalo Bills (+1)
Billed as potentially the game of the year, the Buffalo Bills face off with the Cincinnati Bengals in a battle of top AFC teams with huge postseason implications.
As Josh Allen looks to lead the troops into battle once again, the Bills have a perfect opportunity to put a stamp on their resume and show why they deserve the lone first-round bye for the AFC.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (+1)
Week 17 saw a bunch of top teams struggle against inferior opponents, and the Kansas City Chiefs were one of those teams, but they did pull it out over the Denver Broncos.
It took 328 yards from Patrick Mahomes and two receiving TDs from Jerick McKinnon to hold off Denver, but their inside track to the No. 2 seed seems fairly sturdy.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (-2)
While Gardner Minshew had the offense humming in a tough loss to the Dallas Cowboys, things weren't pretty in Week 17 against the New Orleans Saints.
Only producing 10 points against NO is a lowly way for the Eagles to have to play their starters next week against the Giants, a game that could very well see the return of Jalen Hurts.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (no change)
Not often do the NFL schedule makers nail a late-season matchup with Super Bowl implications, but pitting the Bengals against the Bills on Monday Night Football is exactly how you keep fans engaged.
Joe Burrow has a tall task ahead of him, but they have a great shot at knocking down the AFC’s best team in what profiles as a leading candidate for Game of the Year.
5. San Francisco 49ers (no change)
It may have taken overtime to do it, but the San Francisco 49ers were able to pull off a win over the surprising Las Vegas Raiders. Christian McCaffrey was the star of the show, recording 121 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards while also scoring a touchdown on the ground. Brock Purdy also put together another stellar performance in the win, which now has them as the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
6. Dallas Cowboys (+1)
Requiring a bit more work than was expected on Thursday night, the Cowboys helped kick off Week 17 with their win over the Titans.
Dak Prescott connected with Dalton Schultz for two scores, Ezekiel Elliott benefited from a Tony Pollard injury designation to score yet again, and the defense did enough to stop the Titans.
What is concerning is the defense and how they let career backup QB Joshua Dobbs put together a solid game. Maybe this defensive unit just isn’t as stout as we once thought? Dak's interceptions also continue to be a talking point.
7. Minnesota Vikings (-1)
Nothing like a late-season drubbing at the hands of a hated rival to help slow down some postseason momentum, but the Minnesota Vikings did just that Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Kirk Cousins was in such disarray as the Green Bay defense held him to only 205 yards passing while forcing him to throw three interceptions, including one that was returned for a long score. The Vikings are looking like they have a lot left to figure out, a scary realization heading into the final week of the year.
8. Los Angeles Chargers (+1)
Not needing to do much to keep the Los Angeles Rams at bay, the Los Angeles Chargers earned their 10th win on the season thanks to the well-oiled machine that was the offense. Justin Herbert threw for two scores, Austin Ekeler ran for two scores, and Mike Williams submitted a substantial challenge to Justin Jefferson for a Catch of the Year nomination.
9. New York Giants (+2)
Congratulations to the New York Giants and their fan base: you are finally heading back to the playoffs!
A fantastic performance from Daniel Jones was all the Giants needed over the lowly Indianapolis Colts, and now they can rest their starters next week in preparation for the postseason — their standing in the top half of these NFL Power Rankings is safe.
10. Baltimore Ravens (-2)
The Baltimore Ravens fell victim to the Mike Tomlin curse of .500 teams, and their late home loss opens the door for the Bengals to clinch the AFC North on Monday night. Tyler Huntley has been good enough for this offense without Lamar Jackson, but if his injury continues to sideline him, the Ravens have little to no shot to advance in the postseason.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (+1)
An easy win over the Houston Texans did nothing for the playoff chances of the Jacksonville Jaguars, as their division matchup with the Titans next week is for all the marbles.
The defense was the star of the show Sunday, helping JAX overcome a middling performance from Trevor Lawrence (152 yards and an interception).
12. Detroit Lions (+4)
An easy divisional win was what the doctor ordered for the Detroit Lions, and they hung 30+ points on the Chicago Bears.
The Lions' playoff chances are real, and they must beat the Green Bay Packers in Week 18 and then see the Seattle Seahawks lose to the Los Angeles Rams to get in. This is still an uphill battle to climb, but Detroit deserves this spot in the Week 18 NFL Power Rankings.
13. Seattle Seahawks (no change)
Led by rookie Kenneth Walker III’s 133 rushing yards, the Seahawks kept their postseason hopes alive with an easy win over the New York Jets. Outside of Walker, the offense was pretty average, as Geno Smith didn’t have a great day.
To make the playoffs, the Seahawks will need to beat the Rams and see the Packers lose to the Lions, so there's definitely a chance.
14. Green Bay Packers (+5)
Everything has somehow gone the way of the Green Bay Packers, and all they need to happen is to beat the Lions next week to clinch a postseason berth. Their defense and special teams were the heroes this time, consistently making it tough on Justin Jefferson and the rest of the Minnesota offense.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6)
Somehow, Tom Brady continues to find a way into making the playoffs — and it came at the hands of eliminating the Carolina Panthers. Locked in as the fourth seed for the postseason in the NFC, the Buccaneers look to be hitting their stride exactly at the right time.
16. New England Patriots (+1)
Vaulting back into postseason contention with their win over the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots are one win away (over the Bills) from cashing in their postseason check. Led by their defense yet again, Bill Belichick is on the doorstep to potentially ruin another playoff team’s Super Bowl chances. But will his be ruined before he gets the chance?
17. Miami Dolphins (-7)
The losing skid has now hit five games for the Miami Dolphins, and they officially were jumped in the playoff standings by the Patriots.
The Dolphins' quarterback situation is a total mess right now. It's unclear if Tua Tagovailoa will be able to play in Week 18 against the New York Jets, while Teddy Bridgewater suffered a finger injury and had to leave in the Week 17 loss to the Patriots. That meant more Skylar Thompson, which was not pretty. These question marks are why the Dolphins fall so far in these Week 18 NFL Power Rankings.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (+2)
They managed to pull it out late in the fourth quarter yet again — the Pittsburgh Steelers are the habit that no team can kick lately. Kenny Pickett led a great drive that was capped off by a fantastic connection with Najee Harris for a score, the defense picked off Tyler Huntley to close things out, and the playoffs are still very much an option for this team that once was dead in the water.
19. Tennessee Titans (-5)
Thankfully for the Titans, whatever happened in Week 17 against the Cowboys had no impact on their playoff chances. So their disappointing loss to the Cowboys was not a big deal.
Giving Joshua Dobbs the start was actually pretty good, as he looked much better than what Malik Willis has brought to the table. Everything is up for grabs in their Week 18 matchup for the division with the Jaguars.
20. New Orleans Saints (+4)
Were they expected to win? No. But did they look like the best team out on the field? Yes.
It’s safe to say the New Orleans Saints shocked a lot of people with their win over the Eagles, but they have enough pieces on this team to build around moving forward. With their eyes set on the upcoming offseason, the Saints have a lot to figure out about what team they want to become, and hopefully it is a team that is not stuck in the bottom half of these NFL Power Rankings.
21. New York Jets (-3)
Congratulations to the New York Jets, as their putrid showing against the Seahawks helped remove themselves from postseason contention. As Robert Saleh looks to figure some things out moving into 2023, the Jets still can play spoiler in Week 18 if they beat the Dolphins, but their standing in the NFL Power Rankings is pretty well finalized.
22. Washington Commanders (-7)
Nothing quite says the Washington Commanders than blowing a late-season chance at making the playoffs, and then their head coach not knowing they could be eliminated later in the day.
Their loss to the Cleveland Browns was aided largely by Carson Wentz and his disappointing performance (143 yards and three INTs). This terrible game results in a major fall in these Week 18 NFL Power Rankings.
23. Carolina Panthers (-1)
Their fight was valiant, but the Panthers are no longer postseason-eligible after their loss to Tampa Bay. Sam Darnold looked extremely competent leading the offense, and he could have very well played himself into another shot next year, as long as the Panthers don’t take advantage of the incoming rookie QB class.
24. Las Vegas Raiders (-1)
With Derek Carr away from the team for the rest of the season after being benched, the reins were handed over to Jarrett Stidham, and in his first career start, he pushed the 49ers to the brink. Even in their overtime loss, it certainly gave the front office something to consider for what they do next at QB.
25. Cleveland Browns (no change)
While they may have been eliminated, the Cleveland Browns were able to play spoiler over the Washington Commanders, handing them a loss that eventually ended their season. The Browns have likely always had next season as their intended year of success, so their plan looks to be right on schedule, explaining why they look so comfortable in the bottom half of these NFL Power Rankings.
26. Atlanta Falcons (+1)
It was far from pretty, but the Atlanta Falcons were able to get yet another look at what they have in Desmond Ridder, and he led them to a win over the Arizona Cardinals, 20-19. The rushing attack (132 yards) was imperative in helping Ridder acclimate to another opponent, even though this marked his third consecutive start without a passing TD.
27. Los Angeles Rams (-1)
Not much to show for from their Week 17 loss, the Rams only put up 10 points in their loss to the Chargers, showing that most of their blowout mojo from Christmas has already worn off. Cam Akers (123 rushing yards) was the team’s lone bright spot.
28. Indianapolis Colts (no change)
Another sad showing from the Indianapolis Colts, in a game that saw Sam Ehlinger come in to replace the injured Nick Foles. Their season has been over for a while now, and while they have moments of being competitive, their core needs a lot of help.
29. Chicago Bears (no change)
Not a ton to write home about for the Chicago Bears, especially after their 31-point rout at the hands of the Lions. Justin Fields once again struggled to throw the ball, but his legs gave the Bears a bit of an identity in this game. Their sights are set on how to continue to build this team up in the future.
30. Arizona Cardinals (no change)
The Arizona Cardinals have once again figured out how to stay bad, and their performance with David Blough at the helm speaks to just how decimated their QB room is. Will Kliff Kingsbury still be this team’s head coach next season?
31. Denver Broncos (no change)
While they somehow managed to put a scare into the Chiefs on Sunday, the Denver Broncos and their place in the Week 18 NFL Power Rankings will remain right near the bottom, even after an inspiring performance.
32. Houston Texans (no change)
What is there really to say about the Houston Texans that has not already been said? There are few reasons to turn into any of their games on TV, and they are likely going to be rolling out a rookie QB in Week 1 of next season, so their current roster probably will see a lot of turnover before next season.