Effectively, it took all day Sunday, however the 2018 NFL playoff image is lastly crystal clear. Twelve groups look forward to the postseason, starting Saturday with wild-card weekend.
ESPN’s playoff primer breaks down every team’s probabilities and tells you the whole lot you want to learn about what your team should do to attain Tremendous Bowl LIII in Atlanta. ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index additionally gives Tremendous Bowl probabilities for all 12 groups.
Click on the hyperlinks beneath to go to every team:
1. NO | 2. LAR | three. CHI
four. DAL | 5. SEA | 6. PHI
1. KC | 2. NE | three. HOU
four. BAL | 5. LAC | 6. IND
Here’s what the 2018 @NFL playoff image will appear to be. Colts headed to Houston subsequent weekend because the No. 6 seed. pic.twitter.com/fhMV9rEm6o
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) December 31, 2018
First sport: House vs. lowest remaining seed in divisional spherical (Jan. 13 at four:40 p.m. ET, Fox)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 30.5 %
From the wild-card spherical by means of Tremendous Bowl LIII, ESPN.com has you coated. Take a look at the full playoff image and protection on every team.
Eagles in, Vikings out. Ravens in, Steelers out. Colts in, Titans out. Here is a working log of the wild motion in Week 17.
Motive for hope: The one different time the Saints have had dwelling-area benefit within the playoffs was 2009, once they in the end won Tremendous Bowl XLIV. The Superdome remains to be probably the most formidable obstacles for opponents. Coming into Week 17, no team had scored extra factors at dwelling than the Saints, and solely the Patriots had a better level differential at dwelling.
Motive for concern: The offense slowed significantly starting in Week 13, even in context with a leaguewide backslide. The Saints scored a median of 20.25 offensive factors per sport in Weeks 13-16, No. 17 within the NFL. (Some key starters sat in Week 17, by which they scored 14 factors towards the Carolina Panthers.) From Weeks 1-12, they led the league with 36.6 offensive factors per sport.
X issue: Playoff video games can activate surprising circumstances, and maybe no NFL participant is extra able to shock than the Saints’ Taysom Hill. This season, he has each thrown and caught passes. He has carried the ball on working performs, returned kicks, blocked a punt and been concerned in particular-groups tackles. Did the Saints save something for the postseason?
First sport: House vs. second-lowest seed remaining in divisional spherical (Jan. 12 at eight:15 p.m. ET, Fox)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 16.eight %
Motive for hope: The Rams have the type of defensive personnel — most notably within the inside of their line of defense — that may dominate a playoff sport. Behind defensive deal with Aaron Donald, the Rams have been a top-10 protection all season primarily based on Soccer Outsiders’ DVOA metric.
Motive for concern: Quarterback Jared Goff’s efficiency dipped notably because the playoffs approached, particularly because it relates to turnovers. Throughout a latest 5-sport stretch, he threw six interceptions and fumbled seven instances. A multiturnover sport may scuttle the Rams by itself.
X issue: It may appear unusual to slap this label on a participant who scored 21 touchdowns this season, however tailback Todd Gurley was slowed late this season by a knee harm, and the Rams have been a distinct team due to it. They will want a powerful working sport, particularly contemplating Goff’s latest struggles, to make a deep playoff run. A runner-up: Punter Johnny Hekker led the NFL this season in proportion of punts down contained in the 5-yard line. His contact is an enormous benefit in a area-place sport.
First sport: House vs. Philadelphia Eagles in wild-card spherical (Jan. 6 at four:40 p.m. ET, NBC)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 2.5 %
Every part you want this week:
• Scores, highlights and extra »
• Full schedule » | Full standings »
• Weekly stats leaders »
• Comply with Week 17 reside: Playoff image, extra »
• Accidents tracker: Who’s in, out »
Extra NFL protection »
Motive for hope: If protection wins championships, the Bears are nicely on their method. They completed the season with the highest-ranked protection in DVOA, and it wasn’t shut. On the very least, the Bears ought to give you the chance to maintain playoff video games low-scoring and in attain for his or her offense.
Motive for concern: Bears coach Matt Nagy has excelled in creating secure areas for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to make athletic performs. Trubisky completed the season ranked within the prime 5 of QBR. However towards an excellent protection, one which prioritizes maintaining him within the pocket, can Trubisky make the passes obligatory to win a playoff sport?
Doug Pederson says the Eagles’ playoff-clinching Week 17 win is “a variety of exhausting work that simply paid off” and doesn’t have an replace on Nick Foles.
X issue: Opposing defenses, and particular groups, will want to monitor the place Tarik Cohen is always. No participant on the Bears’ roster, apart from maybe linebacker Khalil Mack, can extra decisively change the course of a sport. He has scored a number of touchdowns this season as a runner, receiver and kick returner.
First sport: House vs. Seattle Seahawks in wild-card spherical (Saturday at eight:15 p.m. ET, Fox)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 1.2 %
Motive for hope: So simple as it sounds, the Cowboys caught hearth this season at about the identical time they recommitted their offense round tailback Ezekiel Elliott. Throughout a 6-1 run that cemented the NFC East title, Elliott led the NFL in touches (203) and yards from scrimmage (1,095). That is not a foul method for profitable playoff video games.
Motive for concern: Receiver Amari Cooper’s manufacturing slowed after a 10-catch, 217-yard efficiency in Week 14. He scored 5 touchdowns in a 3-sport stretch however none within the Cowboys’ remaining three. As nice as Elliott has been, the Cowboys want manufacturing from all of their playmakers to make a playoff run.
X issue: Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch proved to be a tackling machine within the second half of the season, teaming with fellow linebacker Jaylon Smith to present a brand new degree of velocity on this protection. Vander Esch’s versatility may assist the Cowboys match up towards the NFC’s prime playmakers.
First sport: at Dallas Cowboys in wild-card spherical (Saturday at eight:15 p.m. ET, Fox)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 1.9 %
Motive for hope: The Seahawks aren’t possible to make it simple on opponents. They entered Week 17 with an opportunity to tie the NFL file for the bottom whole of turnovers (10) over a full season in league historical past. (They dedicated one and completed the season with 11.) In the meantime, their protection is among the many league’s prime 10 in takeaways (26).
Motive for concern: The offensive line, lengthy a weak spot for this franchise, completed the season with a number of starters and backups nursing accidents, together with proper deal with Germain Ifedi (groin) and left guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle). Guard D.J. Fluker can also be coping with a hamstring harm. A banged-up offensive line, for a team that depends closely on its working sport, is a playoff warning signal.
X issue: Rookie Michael Dickson was main the NFL in internet punting when he was named to the Professional Bowl and could make a huge impact on a area-place sport. About 18 % of his punts have been downed contained in the 10-yard line, the second-highest proportion within the league.
First sport: at Chicago Bears in wild-card spherical (Jan. 6 at four:40 p.m. ET, NBC)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: zero.5 %
Motive for hope: Nick Foles’ magic seems actual. He’s four-1 because the Eagles’ beginning quarterback this season, accounting for practically half of their victories regardless of making lower than a 3rd of their begins. The arrogance he conjures up in his teammates is obvious, and his consolation degree in coach Doug Pederson’s offense is apparent. We simply first want to be certain that he is wholesome sufficient to play within the wild-card sport.
Motive for concern: The Eagles have had a tough time stopping good offenses within the second half of the season. Their DVOA since Week 11 has hovered within the backside third of the league. They allowed 48 factors to the Saints, 29 to the Cowboys (in an time beyond regulation loss) and 30 to the Texans. And the playoffs are full of fine offenses.
X issue: Working again Darren Sproles has supplied an enormous spark since his return from harm earlier this month. Pederson does an excellent job of selecting the correct spots for a participant who turned 35 final summer time. Opponents who monitor his actions pre-snap are nonetheless confronted with a much bigger problem: really tackling him.
First sport: House vs. lowest remaining seed in divisional spherical (Jan. 12 at four:35 p.m. ET, NBC)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 24.zero %
Motive for hope: The Chiefs’ offense remained extremely productive throughout a 2-three stretch from Weeks 11-16. It averaged an NFL-high 34 factors per sport, higher than the subsequent-finest team by 6 factors, and led the league with a median of 25.2 first downs per sport. Most NFL offenses slowed in December, however on a relative scale, the Chiefs nonetheless have the league’s finest.
Motive for concern: Throughout that very same stretch, the Chiefs’ protection allowed extra factors per sport (35.6) than any team within the league. Opponents averaged a league-finest 28.four first downs per sport and managed the ball for a median of 32 minutes, 10 seconds per sport, the fifth-most within the league. That is a foul mixture for making a playoff run, irrespective of how potent the offense.
X issue: Working again Damien Williams emerged as a viable emergency possibility for a team that wants versatility and explosiveness within the backfield to make its offense go. Williams appears an particularly necessary possibility in anticipating January climate at Arrowhead Stadium.
First sport: House vs. second-lowest seed in divisional spherical (Jan. 13 at 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 12.eight %
Make amends for what’s taking place heading into Week 17:
• Barnwell: Revenge of the defenses »
• Execs make 10 daring predictions for 2019
• Energy Rankings: Non-quarterback MVPs for all 32 groups »
• Projected draft order after Week 16 »
• Overreactions: Has Foles overtaken Wentz? »
• Playoff image: AFC, NFC seeds by means of Week 16 »
• Week 15 takeaways: Wins maintain race for AFC No. 6 seed alive »
• Largest accidents of Week 16 »
Extra NFL protection »
Motive for hope: Traditionally, the Patriots get it collectively for the playoffs — particularly once they play at dwelling. Their final dwelling playoff loss got here in 2013 (the 2012 season), and they’ve won their previous 9 postseason video games at Gillette Stadium. Inasmuch as institutional confidence issues, the Patriots have it.
Motive for concern: The bodily deterioration of tight finish Rob Gronkowski has supplied an emblem, actual or exaggerated, for a team that may have handed its finest days. Gronkowski has 12 landing receptions in 13 profession playoff video games and has so typically been a postseason hero. However this December, he has seemed like a participant nearing retirement.
X issue: Cordarrelle Patterson is likely one of the few Patriots ability gamers with a legit likelihood to rating any time he touches the ball. He’s their finest likelihood for getting fast scores, whether or not on offense or as a returner, and for maintaining defenses off stability. This, after all, assumes a knee harm Patterson suffered in Week 16 doesn’t hamper his explosiveness.
First sport: House vs. Indianapolis Colts in wild-card spherical (Saturday at four:35 p.m. ET, ESPN)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 2.zero %
Motive for hope: The Texans are battle-examined for the type of video games that usually happen within the postseason, enjoying in 11 one-rating video games, second-most within the NFL. They’ve had combined success, having won six and misplaced 5, however the 4-quarter depth of shut video games is a reasonably respectable common-season reproduction of what occurs typically within the postseason.
Motive for concern: Deshaun Watson is getting into the playoffs with extra put on and tear than most quarterbacks endure. He has been sacked 62 instances this season, fifth-most in NFL historical past. Watson is to blame for a few of these sacks; he has held the ball longer earlier than his common move than all certified quarterbacks besides the Payments’ Josh Allen. It is a pattern to think about as the toughest-hitting portion of the soccer season arrives.
X issue: Working again Lamar Miller (ankle) is predicted to be absolutely prepared for the playoffs, and the Texans want him at his finest. His 97-yard run in Week 12, 4 years after one other 97-yard run when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins, is the kind of play that forces opposing defenses to respect his explosive playmaking skill.
First sport: House vs. Los Angeles Chargers in wild-card spherical (Jan. 6 at 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 2.zero %
Motive for hope: The Ravens’ protection has been lights-out in the course of the team’s second-half tear, ranked No. 2 beneath solely the Bears in DVOA since Week 11. Offenses carried the common-season storyline, as they typically do within the NFL, however robust protection and particular groups are a valued — and uncommon — commodity within the playoffs.
Motive for concern: The historical past of rookie quarterbacks beginning NFL playoff video games is combined. Since 2000, there have been 21 playoff video games began by rookie quarterbacks. Their groups have been 9-12 in these video games. Historical past is not essentially on Lamar Jackson’s facet, however the Ravens’ offense is lucky to be supported by the protection and particular groups.
X issue: The Ravens have arguably the very best pair of specialists within the league: place-kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch. Tucker missed 4 of his 35 makes an attempt this season, however two have been from past 50 yards. Koch, in the meantime, noticed eight.6 % of his punts downed contained in the 5-yard line — third-highest within the NFL. Area place and squeezing each level attainable from each possession are necessary elements within the postseason.
First sport: at Baltimore Ravens in wild-card spherical (Jan. 6 at 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: four.2 %
Motive for hope: The Chargers have supplemented their traditional array of expertise with the type of toughness and clutch kicking that may gas an extended playoff run. They’ve won in Seattle, Pittsburgh and Kansas Metropolis — three of the NFL’s most tough locations to play. And new kicker Mike Badgley hasn’t missed a area purpose try inside 50 yards.
Motive for concern: The Chargers have repeatedly began slowly in the course of the second half of the season, rating within the backside third of the league in first-quarter scoring for the reason that begin of Week 9. It hasn’t essentially damage them thus far, however it’s by definition harder to claw again from an early deficit in a playoff sport.
Matt Nagy by no means thought to relaxation his gamers after he came upon the Rams have been up massive, saying he needed to win the sport.
X issue: Receiver Mike Williams is not Philip Rivers’ favourite goal (that honor belongs to Keenan Allen), however he has been the best from a scoring perspective. Williams has 9 touchdowns amongst simply 38 receptions. He has additionally scored one other on a jet sweep. If the Chargers want a landing to win a playoff sport, opposing defenses could be smart to concentrate on Williams.
First sport: at Houston Texans in wild-card spherical (Saturday at four:35 p.m. ET, ESPN)
FPI Tremendous Bowl probabilities: 1.eight %
Motive for hope: Maybe the only largest consider making a playoff run is high quality of quarterback play. Andrew Luck is again to being one of many NFL’s finest this season. Since Week 7, when the Colts started their turnaround from a 1-5 begin, Luck’s QBR is second to solely Drew Brees’ amongst all certified quarterbacks.
Motive for concern: Receiver T.Y. Hilton struggled to get previous an ankle harm in the course of the remaining month of the season. His manufacturing hasn’t decreased, however can he maintain that up whereas nursing the ankle by means of restricted observe in the course of the week?
X issue: The entire nationwide dialogue about Luck has overshadowed the unimaginable work of the Colts’ protection over the identical interval. Led by rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, the Colts have ranked within the prime 10 in each defensive QBR and rush yards per carry. It isn’t simple to transfer the ball towards this team.