Bills-Dolphins, Texans-Colts among Week 18 games with playoff impact

Quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla. File Photo by Jon Robichaud/UPI

MIAMI, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Four of the NFL's 32 teams were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 17. Week 18's slate features more games with major postseason impact, including a game between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.

That Sunday Night Football meeting will determine the winner of the AFC East and the No. 2 seed in the conference. The Dolphins (11-5) will host the Bills (11-5) at 8:20 p.m. EST at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The NFL released its full Week 18 schedule Sunday night. Two games will be held Saturday, while the other 14 will be held Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first game of the week. That AFC North meeting will kick off at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN/ABC. The Indianapolis Colts will host the Houston Texans in the next game at 8:15 p.m. on the same channels.

The Ravens (13-3) already clinched a division title and the No. 1 seed and first-round bye in the AFC. They could opt to rest many of their star players to avoid potential injuries since they can't gain or lose anything from the Week 18 matchup.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb is assisted after a season-ending injury he sustained against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Photo by David Tulis/UPI

The Steelers (9-7) currently hold the No. 9 seed and can still clinch a wild card spot with a win and the help of several other teams.

The Colts (9-7) currently hold the No. 7 seed, the final playoff spot. The Texans (9-7) hold the No. 8 spot. The winner of the AFC South meeting will clinch a playoff berth.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) celebrates a fumble recovery against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Six games will kick off at 1 p.m. Sunday. Another seven will kick off in the 4:25 p.m. time slot.

Quarterback Gardner Minshew and the Indianapolis Colts will host the Houston Texans on Saturday in Indianapolis. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI

The Cincinnati Bengals (8-8), who are eliminated from playoff contention, will host the No. 5 Cleveland Browns (11-5) in one of the 1 p.m. meetings. The Browns already clinched a wild-card playoff berth and are locked in as the No. 5 seed.

The No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7) will face the Tennessee Titans (5-11) in another 1 p.m. game. The Titans are eliminated from playoff contention. The Jaguars can clinch the AFC South title and a playoff berth with a victory. If they lose, they would need several other scenarios to play out to make the playoffs.

The Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) will play the Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) at 4:25 p.m. in Inglewood, Calif. The No. 3 Chiefs already clinched a playoff berth. The Chargers are eliminated.

The Dolphins-Bills matchup will be the final game of the NFL's regular season. The Dolphins already clinched a playoff spot, while the Bills can win or tie to make the postseason. The Bills also could get in with a Steelers or Jaguars loss or tie, or if the Texans-Colts game ends in a tie.

In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers (12-4) clinched the top seed and a first-round bye. They will host the Los Angeles Rams (9-7) at 4:25 p.m. in Santa Clara, Calif. Running back Christian McCaffrey is among several 49ers players who will not play.

The Rams also already clinched a wild-card playoff berth.

The New Orleans Saints will host the Atlanta Falcons in one of the NFC's 1 p.m. meetings. The Saints (8-8) hold the No. 9 seed, while the Falcons are a playoff long-shot, with the No. 12 seed.

The winner of that game can claim the NFC South title if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose their Week 18 game. The Saints also can clinch a playoff spot with a win or tie and if several other scenarios play out.

The No. 3 Detroit Lions (11-5), who already won the NFC North and clinched Top 3 playoff seed, will host the No. 10 Minnesota Vikings (7-9) at 1 p.m. in Detroit. The Vikings need a win and several other scenarios to occur to make the playoffs.

The No. 4 Buccaneers will face the Carolina Panthers in the other 1 p.m. NFC matchup. The Panthers (2-14) are eliminated from the playoffs. The Buccaneers (8-8) can win the NFC South with a victory -- or a tie and a Saints loss or tie.

They also could clinch a playoff berth with a tie, in addition to a Seahawks loss and a Green Bay Packers loss or tie.

The Packers (8-8) will host the Chicago Bears (7-9) at 4:25 p.m. in Green Bay, Wis. They currently hold the No. 7 seed and can clinch a wild-card slot with a win. They could also earn a berth is several, more complicated scenarios play out.

The Bears are eliminated and already clinched the No. 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft, but could improve the stock of another first-round pick with another loss.

The Washington Commanders (4-12), who are eliminated from the playoffs, will host the Dallas Cowboys (11-5) at 4:25 p.m. in Landover, Md. The Cowboys already clinched a berth and currently hold the No. 2 seed. They can win the NFC East title with a victory or Philadelphia Eagles loss.

The No. 5 Eagles (11-5) also clinched a playoff spot, but can win their division and secure a Top-3 seed with a victory.

The No. 8 Seattle Seahawks (8-8) are the only other NFC team capable of making the postseason. They will meet the eliminated Arizona Cardinals (4-12) at 4:25 p.m. in Glendale, Ariz. The simplest scenario for the Seahawks to clinch would be a victory and a Packers loss.

The Commanders, Cardinals and New England Patriots are among the teams still vying to secure the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Losses would improve their chances of clinching the valuable draft slot.

The New York Giants, Chargers and Titans are among the other teams that already secured Top 8 picks.

Week 18 schedule

All times EST


Steelers at Ravens at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN/ABC

Texans at Colts at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN/ABC


Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. on CBS

Browns at Bengals at 1 p.m. on CBS

Jaguars at Titans at 1 p.m. on CBS

Vikings at Lions at 1 p.m. on Fox

Jets at Patriots at 1 p.m. on Fox

Buccaneers at Panthers at 1 p.m. on Fox

Bears at Packers at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Cowboys at Commanders at 4:25 p.m. on Fox

Broncos at Raiders at 4:25 p.m. on Fox

Chiefs at Chargers at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Rams at 49ers at 4:25 p.m. on Fox

Eagles at Giants at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Seahawks at Cardinals at 4:25 p.m. on Fox

Bills at Dolphins at 8:20 p.m. on NBC