Week 18 has arrived in the NFL as several teams control their own playoff destiny in their final game of the regular season. Here’s what fans can expect in the most critical matchups this weekend.
Titans Face Jaguars For AFC South Title
The Tennessee Titans will travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars, with the winner also taking the AFC South Division title. Tennessee has lost six straight games after briefly holding the top seed in the conference. Each of those losses has come against playoff teams, except for the embarrassing defeat against the Houston Texans.
It’s also unlikely their banged-up defense can keep the Jags within striking distance for their offense to overtake them on the scoreboard. The Titans have averaged 14.8 points per game during the current losing streak.
Jacksonville is leading the division with an 8-8 record and is riding a four-game winning streak. Their defense has also stepped up by allowing just six points combined in the previous two games against the Jets and Texans.
QB Trevor Lawrence has made significant progress in his second season and is ninth in the league in passing yards and touchdowns. The Jags are averaging 31.5 points per game in their last four contests.
Jacksonville wins at home to take the AFC South title.
Jets Look To End Dolphins Playoff Hopes
The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins meet in Week 18, with both teams currently on five-game losing streaks. The Jets are 7-9 and have already been eliminated from the postseason. They collapsed after starting the season 7-3 and are averaging just 12 points per game on offense in the previous five matchups.
Backup QB Mike White has replaced Zach Wilson but continues to perform poorly like he did last week against the Seahawks. He had two interceptions and no touchdowns in their 23-6 defeat.
Miami needs a win to have any chance at the postseason. They’re tied for second with the New England Patriots in the AFC East with an 8-8 record and are 5-2 at home.
They can wrap up the seventh seed in the AFC with a win and a Patriots loss to the Buffalo Bills. However, Tua Tagovailoa and backup Teddy Bridgewater will both be benched with injuries as rookie Skylar Thompson makes his sixth appearance and first season start in a must-win situation.
The Jets win in a one-score game.
Browns Can Play Spoiler Versus Steelers
The Cleveland Browns travel to Pittsburgh in Week 18 to face the Steelers in an AFC North clash. Cleveland is 3-2 since Deshaun Watson took over the starting job following his suspension.
However, he can play spoiler against their biggest division rival and send the Steelers home to watch the playoffs with a win on Sunday. The Browns are 7-9 on the season after their 24-10 win over the Washington Commanders on the road last week.
The Steelers are 8-8 this season and are long shots to make the postseason. They also have a chance to give head coach Mike Tomlin his 16th straight season without a losing record if they win this matchup.
Pittsburgh is 6-2 in its previous eight games and won its third straight last week, 16-13, over the Baltimore Ravens. They’ve also given up just 16.9 points per game on defense during the previous eight contests. Pittsburgh can clinch a playoff spot with a win and a loss by both the Patriots and Dolphins.
Pittsburgh wins the season finale at home.