NFL Playoff Bracket & The CFP Natty


By: Jeff Yoder

Welcome Back 

An incredible weekend of football isn’t over yet. Yes, Week 18 of the NFL was madness manifested. But the CFB Playoff finale is yet to come. It’s #1 Michigan vs. #2 Washington tonight (7:30 pm ET). But first, we’ll start with a wild Week 18 that illuminates the path to Super Bowl LVIII.

 Breaking News: Falcons Fire Head Coach Arthur Smith After 3 Seasons

Letter Rip!


The NFL Playoff Bracket is Set

Image via

Steelers, Texans, Bills, Buccaneers & Packers Clinch Playoffs in Final Weekend… And the Postseason Bracket is Set

After 18 weeks and 272 games spanning 125 days, the 2023-24 NFL regular season is a wrap. Fourteen teams are still alive as we shift into postseason mode after Week 18 saw six hopefuls get the boot in their final game. The Steelers, Texans, Bills, Packers, and Buccaneers (5 Teams) all clinched playoff bids in Week 18 through a variety of outcomes. On the flip side, the Vikings, Seahawks, Falcons, Saints, Colts, and Jaguars (6 Teams) were all sent home through final weekend scenarios. We now know who plays who, and when. It’s full speed ahead towards Super Bowl LVIII.

AFC Week 18 Scenarios

  • Steelers Sneak In: The Steelers beat the Ravens (17-10) to claim the #7 Seed thanks to some helpful losses by the Jaguars and Colts.
  • Texans Take the South: The Texans beat the Colts (23-19) and the Jaguars fell to the Titans (28-20), resulting in the Texans taking the AFC South and the #4 Seed. Both the Jags and Colts missed the postseason entirely due to the Steelers’ win.
  • Bills Steal the East: The Bills beat the Dolphins (21-14) to take the AFC East crown for the fourth consecutive season and slide all the way up to the #2 Seed. The loss for Miami bumped them down to the #6 Seed. 

NFC Week 18 Scenarios

  • Bucs Clinch the South: The Bucs beat the Panthers (9-0) to win the NFC South and the #4 Seed.
  • Packers Lock Wild Card Late: Both the Saints (9-8) and Seahawks (9-8) won on Sunday to give themselves a chance at the postseason, but the Packers beat the Bears (17-9) to lock down the #7 Seed.
  • Cowboys Secure the East: The Cowboys ran roughshod on the Commanders (38-10) to secure the NFC East and the #2 Seed. That resulted in Philly remaining the #5 Seed, and the Eagles lost to the Giants anyway (27-10).

Official NFL Playoff Picture


1. North: Ravens (13-4)

2. East: Bills (11-6)

3. West: Chiefs (11-6)

4. South: Texans (10-7)

5. WC: Browns (11-6)

6. WC: Dolphins (11-6)

7. WC: Steelers (10-7)


1. West: 49ers (12-5)

2. East: Cowboys (12-5)

3. North: Lions (12-5)

4. South: Buccaneers (9-8)

5. WC: Eagles (11-6)

6. WC: Rams (10-7)

7. WC: Packers (9-8)

Week 18 Scoreboard & Highlights

Steelers def. Ravens (17-10)

Texans def. Colts (23-19)

Packers def. Bears (17-9)

Buccaneers def. Panthers (9-0)

Saints def. Falcons (48-17)

Titans def. Jaguars (28-20)

Lions def. Vikings (30-20)

Bengals def. Browns (31-14)

Cowboys def. Commanders (38-10)

Rams def. 49ers (21-20)

Chiefs def. Chargers (13-12)

Seahawks def. Cardinals (21-20)

Giants def. Eagles (27-10)

Raiders def. Broncos (27-14)

Bills def. Dolphins (21-14)

Wild Card Weekend Schedule (This Weekend)

#5 Browns at #4 Texans (Sat. 4:30 pm ET)

#6 Dolphins at #3 Chiefs (Sat. 8:00 pm ET)

#7 Steelers at #2 Bills (Sun. 1:00 pm ET)

#7 Packers at #2 Cowboys (Sun. 4:30 pm ET)

#6 Rams at #3 Lions (Sun. 8:00 pm ET)

#5 Eagles at #4 Buccaneers (Mon. 8:00 pm ET)

*#1 Ravens & #1 49ers Get 1st-Round Bye

Reunions Incoming: Our NFL Playoff coverage and previews will continue throughout the week ahead, but the Wild Card round is full of reunions. Matthew Stafford returns to Detroit. Mike McCarthy faces the Packers. Tyreek Hill returns to Kansas City. And the Browns and Texans meet just two years after the blockbuster Deshaun Watson deal. Plenty to discuss.

Black Monday: Today is commonly referred to as “Black Monday” in the NFL. Expect a number of coach firings and announcements in the next 24-72 hours.

 Breaking News: Falcons Fire Head Coach Arthur Smith After 3 Seasons

Season-Ending (Likely) Goodbyes

RB Derrick Henry Bids Farewell to Titans Fans

Was It Bill Belichick’s Last Game With Patriots?

Jets Reportedly Tell QB Zach Wilson to Expect Offseason Trade

RB Saquon Barkley Admits ‘Giant for Life’ Dream is in Jeopardy

QB Russell Wilson Decision Looms Over Broncos’ Offseason

Season-Ending Rookie Records

Lions TE Sam LaPorta Sets Rookie TE Receiving Mark (86 Catches)

Rams WR Puka Nacua Breaks NFL Rookie Receiving Records for Yards (1,473) & Catches (105)

Read More

ESPN: NFL Playoff Bracket: Schedule, SBLVIII Odds, Stats & More

B/R: Week 18 Takeaways For Every Team Heading Into Playoffs or Offseason

Yahoo! Sports: For NFL’s Worst Teams, It’s Time to Look Towards the Draft

SI: 2024 NFL Playoffs Preview: Why Each Team Could Win Super Bowl LVIII



Tale of the Tape: The CFP Championship

Image: Joe Stella / Media Mobilize

The CFP National Championship: #1 Michigan vs. #2 Washington (Tonight, 7:30 pm ET, ESPN)

It’s the Big One! The college football season will come to a close tonight with a first-time CFB Playoff winner. It’s #1 Michigan vs. #2 Washington at Houston’s NRG Stadium for all the marbles (7:30 pm ET, ESPN). Michigan’s dominant defense gets a crack at the Heisman Trophy runner-up, Michael Penix Jr., and the high-flying Washington offense. The Wolverines rank #1 in the country in scoring defense, but the Huskies rank #1 in passing offense. It’s a dream matchup for the Big Ten and Pac-12. Both conferences have only produced 3 out of 18 National Championship finalists combined over the past 9 years of the CFB Playoff. Those three finalists were Ohio State (2) and Oregon. The SEC (10) and ACC (4) — Georgia, Alabama, and Clemson — have largely had a stranglehold on the CFP finale.

Here’s a breakdown (by the numbers) to get you ready for tonight’s epic CFP title game.

CFP National Championship

(Tale of the Tape)

#1 Michigan (14-0)

  • Biggest Strength: Scoring Defense (10.2 ppg, Ranks 1st)
  • Biggest Weakness: Passing Offense (218.9 ypg, Ranks 73rd)
  • Past Championships: 1997
  • Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh (Overall: 117-46)
  • QB: J.J. McCarthy (Stats: 2,851 yards, 22 TDs, 4 INTs)
  • Leading Rusher: Blake Corum (1,111 yards, 25 TDs)
  • Leading Receiver: Roman Wilson (735 yards, 12 TDs)

#2 Washington (14-0)

  • Biggest Strength: Passing Offense (350.0 ypg, Ranks 1st)
  • Biggest Weakness: Total Defense (404 ypg, Ranks 97th)
  • Past Championships (2): 1991 & 1960
  • Head Coach: Kalen DeBoer (Overall: 104-11)
  • QB: Michael Penix Jr. (Stats: 4,648 yards, 35 TDs, 9 INTs)
  • Leading Rusher: Dillon Johnson (1,162 yards, 16 TDs)
  • Leading Receiver: Rome Odunze (1,553 yards, 13 TDs)

Wolverines. Huskies. Harbaugh. Penix Jr… One bowl to rule them all.

 CFP National Championship

#1 Michigan vs. #2 Washington (7:30 pm ET, ESPN)

Read More

CBS Sports: Michigan vs. Washington: Predictions, Odds, Spread & More

SI: Michigan & Washington’s Success Defies Recruiting Logic

Sporting News: CFP Championship Picks: Experts Favor Michigan Over Washington



 NBA Highlights

Rockets Stun Bucks (112-108)

*Giannis Goes for 48 pts, Bucks Lose 3 of Last 4

Knicks Top Wizards (121-105)

*Julius Randle (39 pts) Leads NYK to 4th Straight

Lakers Upend Clippers (106-103)

*LeBron (25-8-7) Helps LAL End 4-Gm Skid

Bonus Highlight: LeBron Soars for Filthy 1-Handed Jam

 NHL Highlights

Oilers Top Senators (3-1) to Win 7th Straight

*Zach Hyman Scores All 3 for Edmonton

Panthers Blast Avs (8-4) to Win 7th Straight

*Sam Reinhart Nets Hat Trick

 PGA: Chris Kirk Surges Late to Win Sentry

The PGA Tour’s first event of 2024 needed a full 72 holes to determine a champ in a down-to-the-wire finish. Chris Kirk (-29) birdied two of his final three holes to hold off Sahith Theegala (-28), Jordan Spieth (-27) and company.

 FCS: South Dakota State Repeats

The Jackrabbits of South Dakota State won their second straight FCS football title on Sunday with a 23-3 rout against Montana. SDSU did it with a power ground game that saw 190 yards rushing and 2 TDs from RB Isaiah Davis and QB Mark Gronowski.

 NCAA Basketball

M: #2 Kansas Holds Off TCU (83-81)

M: #6 Kentucky Rallies to Beat Florida (87-85)

M: Seton Hall Upsets #7 Marquette (78-75)

M: #8 UNC Tops Clemson (65-55)

M: #1 Purdue Holds Off #9 Illinois (83-78)

M: #4 UConn Comes Back to Beat Butler (88-81)

W: #13 Va. Tech Upsets #3 NC State on Game-Winner (63-62)

W: #7 LSU Hangs on to Beat Ole Miss (84-73)

W: #4 Iowa Smashes Rutgers (103-69)

*Caitlin Clark Has 29-Point Triple Double





Today’s Must-Watch List

 CFP National Championship

#1 Michigan vs. #2 Washington (7:30 pm ET, ESPN)


Celtics at Pacers (7:00 pm ET)

Suns at Clippers (10:30 pm ET)


Penguins at Flyers (7:00 pm ET)
Bruins at Avalanche (9:00 pm ET)