NFL Scores Week 18: Final Results, Playoff Standings and Picture for AFC, NFC
Indianapolis' surprising loss opened things up for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens and Steelers needed a lot of help coming into Week 18, one key factor being a Jaguars upset. With that happening, plenty hinged on the Steelers-Ravens rivalry game, which went into overtime.
Pittsburgh won on a Chris Boswell field goal late in the extra period. The Steelers victory eliminated the Colts and leaves the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers with a must-win (or tie) scenario on Sunday night. The Raiders and Chargers now need a win or a tie to advance.
A tie Sunday night would allow both AFC West rivals to move on while eliminating Pittsburgh. If the regular-season finale does not end in a tie, the Steelers will be in the postseason.
The Cincinnati Bengals rested several starters—including quarterback Joe Burrow—against the Cleveland Browns. By doing so, they severely hurt their chances of taking the AFC's No. 2 seed. Cincinnati's loss leaves the Bengals with only only one guaranteed home playoff game—but they should be relatively healthy next week.
Titans running back Derrick Henry didn't make his return from foot surgery Sunday. However, he was designated for return from injured reserve and could be back for the playoffs.
"We have some time to make that decision and we will evaluate where we are at," Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters Friday. "But I think that he looked good. We continue to track his speed and his mileage and volume and see how he responds. I feel good about where he is at."
With the win over the Houston Texans, the Titans will hold the AFC's lone first-round bye. This means that Henry will have two more weeks to prepare for his return. Understandably, that could have a massive impact on the conference playoff race.
Similarly, the Green Bay Packers decided not to activate cornerback Jaire Alexander for the finale against the Detroit Lions. Alexander, though, should return following Green Bay's opening-round bye.
Alexander, who has been out since Week 4 with a shoulder injury and was on the reserve/COVID-19 list, allowed an opposing passer rating of only 67.4 last season; that number was 83.7 this season. Green Bay locked up the NFC's No. 1 seed before Week 18, so there really was no need to rush Alexander back into action against Detroit.
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari did return against the Lions, playing for the first time since tearing his ACL near the end of the 2020 regular season.
The Titans and Packers will both be off next weekend and carrying reinforcements into the divisional round.