It’s finally Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season, and we’re keeping you updated on all the action and biggest storylines throughout the day. This week’s slate has some fantastic matchups and storylines, and we’re here to help you watch it unfold. Check back often to find out everything you need to know.
Week 18 schedule
Bengals 27, Ravens 16 (Takeaways)
Bills 35, Patriots 23 (Takeaways)
Commanders 26, Cowboys 6 (Takeaways)
Steelers 28, Browns 14 (Takeaways)
Eagles 22, Giants 16 (Takeaways)
Dolphins 11, Jets 6 (Recap)
Panthers 10, Saints 7 (Recap)
Vikings 29, Bears 13 (Recap)
Texans 32, Colts 31 (Recap)
Falcons 30, Buccaneers 17 (Recap)
49ers 38, Cardinals 13 (Recap)
Broncos 31, Chargers 28 (Recap)
Seahawks 19, Rams 16 (OT) (Recap)
Lions 20, Packers 16 (Takeaways)
With the 2022 regular season in the books,:
Super Wild Card Weekend schedule:
Seahawks at 49ers, 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday (Fox)
Chargers at Jaguars, 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday (NBC)
Dolphins at Bills, 1 p.m. ET Sunday (CBS)
Giants at Vikings, 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday (Fox)
Ravens at Bengals, 8:15 p.m. ET Sunday (NBC)
Cowboys at Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m. ET Monday (ESPN)
Goodbye, Aaron Rodgers! The Lions, despite having already being eliminated from the playoffs, put forth a valiant effort that they capped with a fourth-and-1 pass from Jared Goff to D.J. Chark that clinched the upset. With the results, the Packers go home while the Seahawks move on to play the 49ers on Super Wild Card Weekend.
Give Ben Johnson a ton of credit. Facing a second-and-17 after a penalty, the Lions offensive coordinator could have opted for two runs to set up a field goal, which would have put Detroit up seven. Instead, he called a screen to Amon-Ra St. Brown, who then immediately pitched it to D’Andre Swift on what I’m dubbing the screen-and-ladder. Swift picked up 13 to set up a third-and-short.
Is there anything Amon-Ra St. Brown can’t do? Apparently not, as he used his legs to catch this crucial first-down conversion late against the Packers.
Rookie picks off Rodgers again!
Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time — unless he’s playing against Kerby Joseph. The Lions third-round rookie has now intercepted Rodgers three times after picking him off late in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s matchup. He actually had another interception earlier in the game that did not count because of a penalty.
Make that 17(!) touchdowns for Jamaal Williams, whose second 1-yard score of the night gives the Lions the lead with just under six minutes to play.
Christian Watson has been so important to the Packers during their four-game winning streak, and the second-round rookie delivered again Sunday. Seriously, are you kidding me with this 45-yard grab?
A relatively boring night at Lambeau Field was no more as Jared Goff rolled out left on a play-action pass, turned right and uncorked a bomb — Zach Wilson Pro Day style — to Kalif Raymond for a 43-yard pickup. On the next play, touchdown machine Jamaal Williams added to his total with a one-yard score that put the Lions ahead of Williams’ former team.
Jason Meyers couldn’t win the game in regulation, but the Seahawks kicker delivered in overtime with the game-winning, 32-yard field goal to keep his team alive in the playoff hunt. If the Lions beat the Packers, then Pete Carroll and Geno Smith are going to the postseason.
Kelly Golladay sighting
The Giants rested their starters, which means former Pro Bowler Kelly Golladay got a lot of playing time. That would have been crazy to say when New York signed him in 2021, but that’s how bad things have gotten between the two sides. That said, Golladay channeled his former playmaking ability with this acrobatic one-handed grab against the Eagles.
So close! The Seahawks could have kept their playoff hopes alive with a game-winning field goal, but Jason Myers’ 46-yarder clanked off the upright as the clock hit zero. To overtime they go.
If the Seahawks miss the playoffs, Jalen Ramsey will be a big reason why. The five-time Pro Bowler has picked off Geno Smith twice as the Rams are holding onto a 16-13 lead late in the third quarter.
Down seven points with the season on the line, Geno Smith cocked his arm back and delivered a DIME to Tyler Lockett for the game-tying 36-yard score. If Seattle can beat the Rams and the Lions beat the Packers, Pete Carroll’s team will be in the postseason.
Purdy for prez
Two rookie quarterbacks have thrown for multiple TDs in at least six straight games: Chargers Pro Bowler Justin Herbert in 2020 … and 49ers seventh-rounder Brock Purdy this season. It’s been an unbelievable run for this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, who added two more scores Sunday against the Cardinals. He’s about to enter the playoffs having led San Francisco to five straight wins — assuming Arizona can’t mount a 15-point comeback.
Cowboys have life
Dallas isn’t playing for anything assuming the Eagles hold on to their big halftime lead, but its drive before the half was huge for its confidence. Up until that point, the Cowboys had done basically nothing against the Commanders defense. A lot of that blame fell on Dak Prescott, who was off target time and time again and eventually threw a pick-six. Prescott still missed on some throws on the team’s 14-play, 77-yard drive, but he made plays when it counted, including a 15-yard scoring strike to CeeDee Lamb to pull within 13-6 before the break.
Baker Mayfield and the Rams are looking to eliminate the Seahawks from playing contention, and they’ve gotten off to a good start. Los Angeles finally broke the touchdown drought with 39 seconds to play in the first half, as Mayfield found Tutu Atwell for the catch-and-run score from 11 yards out.
Elijah Mitchell is a big part of the 49ers offense; he’s just struggled to stay on the field. Out since Week 12 with a knee injury, the second-year back returned Sunday and found the end zone for the first time in 2022.
The Cowboys look nowhere near a playoff team so far in their regular season finale. Dallas, which will be locked into the No. 5 seed in the NFC with an Eagles win (up 13-0 as of this writing), has given up 13 unanswered points to start the game. The defense has actually been respectable, as it has limited Washington to just seven points on three red-zone trips. A lot of the blame can be placed on Dak Prescott, whose errant pass landed in the hands of Kendall Fuller for an easy pick-six.
First career pass = first career TD
Sam Howell literally could not have asked for a better start to his NFL career. Making his professional debut in the regular season finale, the fifth-round rookie’s first pass found Terry McLaurin, who did the rest to ensure his QB’s first career pass also resulted in his first career passing score.
A.J. Green turns back the clock
By far the worst season of A.J. Green’s tremendous career will at least include a strong final game. On the second play from scrimmage, the Cardinals ran a trick play, but the 49ers weren’t fooled. Still, David Blough said YOLO and tossed the ball into double coverage anyway, hoping his receiver would make a play. Not only did Green haul in the pass, but he stepped over a defender, pushed another to the ground and then stiff-armed the same guy he stepped over right before crossing the goal line for the 77-yard touchdown.
A future Hall of Fame career is coming to an end Sunday, with J.J. Watt announcing a few weeks ago that this will be his final NFL season. So, it’s fitting that Watt recorded a sack in his final game, giving him 113.5 for his illustrious 12-year run.
Texans win, give up No. 1 draft pick
Unbelievable. The Texans, trailing by seven with fewer than four minutes left, converted a fourth-and-12 AND a fourth-and-20 en route to scoring a touchdown with 18 seconds to play to pull within one. (Miraculously, Davis Mills’ TD pass on that fourth-and-forever went right through the hands of a Colts defender before dropping into the hands of Jordan Akins for the score.)
And to make matters worse for Houston, it went for two! And got it! The Colts had a few plays to get into field goal range but were unsuccessful, giving the Texans their third and most consequential win of the season. Now, the Bears will have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Dolphins punch playoff ticket
Down to third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson, the 247th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Dolphins gutted out an UGLY 11-6 win over the Jets on the final day of the regular season. Thanks to Jason Sanders‘ 50-yard field goal with 18 seconds left — along with the Bills’ win over the Patriots — Miami clinched the No. 7 seed in the AFC and will travel to Buffalo next weekend.
By way of Derek Watt’s one-yard touchdown, the Steelers went ahead two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. It served as the finishing touches of a 28-14 win, which clinched a 9-8 record and Mike Tomlin’s 16TH STRAIGHT WINNING SEASON. It’s an incredible feat for Tomlin, who’s done it this year with a rookie quarterback who became the starter in-season. And while Pittsburgh will miss the playoffs after the Dolphins beat the Jets, it is set up to have success for years to come.
Allen –> Diggs
This is just an incredible throw from Josh Allen on his 49-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs. Enjoy it for yourself:
The Texans are behind! After jumping out to a 24-14 advantage, Houston has since thrown a pick-six and allowed the Colts to drive 58 yards in seven plays to get the go-ahead score. Remember: If the Texans lose, they have the No. 1 overall draft pick and the QB of their choice. This is a big development for Houston fans.
The Bills have offensive weapons galore. Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Dawson Knox, Devin Singletary, Nyheim Hines … And yet in their regular-season finale, it’s John Brown who has made one of the biggest plays of the game. Brown, who played in Buffalo from 2019-20, rejoined the team via the practice squad right after Thanksgiving and is now making his presence felt in a huge divisional matchup. Check out this diving catch that put Buffalo up double digits:
Craziness in Houston!
The Texans and Colts? Entertaining?! With significant implications??? That’s correct. Davis Mills’ responded to the Colts touchdown with a 19-yard pass to Jordan Akins, and then Rodney McLeod responded to that picking off Mills and taking it into the end zone. It’s been a wild game in Indianapolis.
‘IS THIS FOR REAL?’
That was Jim Nantz on the CBS broadcast, unable to believe that Nyheim Hines was streaking toward his SECOND KICK RETURN TD OF THE GAME! The Bills need to win to lock up the No. 2 seed, and Hines has saved them on a day in which the offense has struggled. He’s now got returns of 96 and 101 yards — becoming the 11th player in NFL history with two kickoff return TDs in one game, according to the CBS Sports research team.
Turnovers in Buffalo
It seemed like no one wanted to break the 14-14 tie in Buffalo. First, Josh Allen threw a red-zone interception before halftime. Then, Mac Jones threw a red-zone pick to start the third quarter. But just two plays after that, the Patriots were back in business after a Devin Singletary fumble. They capitalized in the form of a field goal to go on top.
Michael Jordan TD!
Michael Jordan touchdown! No, not that Michael Jordan. We’re talking about the Panthers’ offensive guard, who recovered Sam Darnold’s goal line fumble to pull the Panthers even with the Saints.
McCourty alone in first
Veteran defensive backs Devin McCourty (Patriots) and Harrison Smith (Vikings) entered Sunday tied for the most career interceptions among active players with 34. McCourty broke that tie late in the first half Sunday, as his red-zone interception off Josh Allen ensured the Patriots would go into halftime tied with the Bills.
Pickett to Pickens
Get used to that, NFL fans, because you’ll likely be hearing that a lot over the next decade (assuming Kenny Pickett continues to develop.) The Steelers duo connected for a 31-yard touchdown down the middle of the field to tie the game at seven. Remember, Pittsburgh needs to win and have the Patriots and Dolphins lose to make the playoffs.
The Ravens don’t need to win this game, which works out considering Anthony Brown has had a brutal first half. The third-string quarterback, thrust into action due to Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley injuries, has thrown two interceptions and lost a fumble that resulted in a Bengals touchdown — all in the first half. The Bengals look to be on their way to locking up at least the No. 3 seed in the AFC.
Bills, Pats battling
Every time the Bills have thrown a punch, the Patriots have punched back. Case and point: After Dawson Knox’s touchdown put Buffalo back on top, Davante Parker scored on the ensuing possession to tie things up at 14.
Bears (mostly) doing their job
The Bears understood the assignment: lose to the Vikings and lock up no worse than the No. 2 seed in the 2023 NFL Draft. Not only is Justin Fields not playing, but Chicago benched Nathan Peterman for Tim Boyle after three failed drives. And on his second pass, Boyle threw the ball right to the Vikings’ Patrick Peterson, whose interception set up a field goal that put Minnesota ahead 16-0.
I added “mostly” to the subhead because as I was writing this blurb, Bears rookie Velus Jones Jr. took the reverse pitch and somehow stayed in bounds as he hugged the right sideline all the way for the 42-yard touchdown. Fortunately for Chicago, its two-point conversion failed.
I’m sorry Texans fans, but your team is playing some good football. Sam Ehlinger clumsily decided to throw the ball as he was being sacked, and defensive end Jonathan Greenard took full advantage by tipping the ball to himself and rumbling 39 yards for the score.
Bengals all over Ravens
With the Bengals and Ravens likely playing each other in the wild-card round next week, Baltimore is resting most of its starters and starting Anthony Brown at quarterback. It’s showed, as Brown has thrown two interceptions and the defense has allowed 17 points in just over a quarter of action.
The Patriots are in the playoffs with a win over the Bills, which didn’t get off to a great start with Buffalo’s kickoff return TD to open the game. But New England immediately responded, as Mac Jones and Co. drove 74 yards in nine plays and tied the game on a two-yard pass from Jones to Jakobi Meyers.
Rookie WR goes over 1,000 yards
Chris Olave, the No. 11 pick in April’s draft, joined former Ohio State teammate Garrett Wilson as the only rookie wideouts to go over 1,000 yards in the 2022 season. The accomplishment came in dramatic fashion as Olave caught the short pass, stopped on a dime — leaving his defender in the dust — and then sprinted the rest of the way for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Saints ahead.
Bad start for the Texans
The Texans jumped out to an immediate 10-0 lead, which usually would be great … except in this scenario. Currently holding the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Houston will clinch the top spot with a loss. But if it ends up beating the Colts and the Vikings defeat the Bears, then Chicago will pick first, potentially robbing Houston of the chance to take its No. 1 QB prospect.
You just can’t make this stuff up. On the Bills’ first play since Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse, and with Hamlin watching from the hospital, Nyheim Hines took the ! It was the perfect way for Buffalo to start based on how its last game ended, and Hamlin being able to watch just made it even more incredible.
QB revolution has arrived in AFC; NFC veterans hanging on
Consider the ages of the starting quarterbacks of the AFC’s six playoff teams entering Week 18 (from youngest to oldest): Trevor Lawrence (23), Justin Herbert (24), Lamar Jackson (26), Joe Burrow (26), Josh Allen (26) and Patrick Mahomes (27).
Average age: 25.3 years old
Average age: 30.0 years old
Yes, Brady heavily skews the NFC much older, but regardless, the age gap is only going to grow after Sunday’s games. There are three teams each fighting for the No. 7 seeds in their respective conferences. In the AFC, it’s the Steelers with Kenny Pickett, the Patriots with Mac Jones and the Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa (we know he’s out for Sunday, but he’s the unquestioned starter). All three quarterbacks are just 24 years old.
The closest the gap could be between the conferences is 4.6 years; the farthest is more than six years!
So, as the road to the Super Bowl begins next week, cherish both conference’s playoff races for different reasons. In the AFC, there are quarterbacks either before or in their prime, which should provide some epic showdowns in each round. In the NFC, there are veterans looking to either add to or cement their legacy before the younger signal-callers end up taking their spotlight, too. Either way, expect theatrics on the way to Super Bowl LVII.