To close out the regular season, our friends at FanDuel have a full set of NFL Week 18 picks and predictions for this Sunday’s biggest games.
If you haven’t already learned his story and the incredible outpouring of support for his Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive, this is the perfect time to get better acquainted with the 24-year-old’s selfless work back home in western Pennsylvania.
With hearts so heavy around the league, it’s a far tougher proposition than any fan could have fathomed to look ahead to Week 18, the final one of the regular season. With the NFL determined to push ahead, we will attempt to do the same with a full understanding that the game of football itself took a back seat this week.
As the Saturday-Sunday slate approaches, we rang our friends at FanDuel for a full expert overview based on the latest odds and projections for Chiefs-Raiders, Titans-Jaguars, Giants-Eagles, Lions-Packers, and more.
Take a look at Boardroom’s overview of the week’s most popular matchups with our curated Week 18 NFL predictions below — and consider making a donation to Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation in a continued show of support to the Pittsburgh native who has so consistently put the needs of others above his own.
2022-23 NFL Week 18 Predictions & Picks
Chiefs vs. Raiders (Jan. 7)
With no Thursday Night Football, Week 18 kicks off with the Chiefs seeking a win to strengthen their grip on the AFC’s No. 1 seed pending the NFL’s final decision regarding Bills vs. Bengals in Week 17.
As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel to kick off our Week 18 NFL predictions:
Defeating the Raiders isn’t too tough of a task for the Chiefs. After all, Kansas City has bested Las Vegas in 16 of their last 19 collisions, having not lost to its AFC West rival on the road since October 2017. What’s even more impressive is that the Chiefs have a plus-13.7 scoring margin and a 46.8% third-down conversion rate during that span.
The Chiefs also have something worth fighting for this week (No. 1 AFC seed), whereas the Raiders are set to miss the playoffs for the 18th time since the 2003 NFL season. Even though Kansas City only beat Las Vegas by one point in Week 5, the Chiefs are the clear-cut better team and shouldn’t come close to losing this week as long as they stick to their brand of football.
Look for the Chiefs to enter the postseason on a winning note.
Raiders vs. Chiefs Prediction: Chiefs 31, Raiders 23
Titans vs. Jaguars (Jan. 7)
Ah, yes! Saturday’s nightcap features two teams in an intriguing duel for the AFC South. Jacksonville may be in pole position, but a loss would mean conceding a tiebreaker to the admittedly hobbled Titans with both teams finishing 8-9.
As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:
The Titans are in horrific shape right now and even though they impressed at times this year, they’re a shell of their former selves.
Jacksonville already defeated Tennessee, 36-22, back in Week 14. Since then, the Titans have continued to spiral (mainly due to Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending injury), averaging just 13.7 points (third-worst) and 291.0 total yards (ninth-worst) over their last three games.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ offense has been hot with at least 30 points in three of their last four games. I expect the offense to keep rolling after Trevor Lawrence torched Tennessee for 368 passing yards and a trio of touchdowns just a few weeks ago.
With the Titans looking like they’ve forgotten how to play football, expect the Jaguars to be on top of the AFC South when the dust settles.
Jaguars vs. Titans Prediction: Jaguars 24, Titans 17
Vikings vs. Bears (Jan. 8)
As one of four (!) teams still alive in the race for the NFC’s first-round playoff bye, the Vikings won’t be holding anything back. If you watched their comeback thriller from 33-0 down against the Colts, you’ll place your legal wagers accordingly, won’t you?
As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:
This could be a game in which neither team wants to win. The Vikings would remain the No. 3 seed with a loss, which means they would play a team they already beat this year in the divisional round (New York Giants). A loss for the Bears would mean they would have the No. 2 overall pick at worst.
When it comes down to it, Chicago has more to lose at this point. Even if the Vikings opt to sit players like Cousins and Justin Jefferson, veteran backup QB Nick Mullens should be able to dice up a Bears defense that has allowed an average of 240.0 passing yards over its last three games (No. 24 in NFL).
The Bears have lost a disappointing six home games in a row and I don’t see that streak ending now.
Bears vs. Vikings Prediction: Vikings 30, Bears 24
Bucs vs. Falcons (Jan. 8)
Somehow, Brady and the Bucs really did it. Despite an 8-8 record, they’re headed to the postseason as champions of the NFC South.
You know what that means — do whatever you can to avoid matching up against them when it really matters, because they’ll be a well-rested No. 4 seed following an all-but-meaningless game against the rival Falcons.
As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:
Normally, backing quarterback Tom Brady in the final week of the regular season is an obvious choice. That isn’t the case here, though. Tampa Bay is locked into the NFC’s No. 4 seed and gain nothing by winning or losing this game. It is Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder that has a ton to play for.
Ridder earned the first win of his NFL career in Week 17 and completed 73.1% of his passes (19-26) for 169 yards. He will aim to give the fans something to look forward to in 2023 with another solid outing. The Buccaneers did allow Sam Darnold to throw for 341 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday.
Head coach Todd Bowles said on Monday that the plan is to play his starters, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see players like Brady pulled early on. I’ll take the Falcons to end the year on a high note.
Falcons vs. Buccaneers Prediction: Falcons 20, Bucs 17
Browns vs. Steelers (Jan. 8)
Unlike the similarly 7-9 Titans, the Browns are already eliminated. They can play spoiler for the rival Steelers, however, who need
As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:
A win over the Browns coupled with a loss/tie by both the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins means the Steelers would be in the NFL Playoffs. Pittsburgh’s motivation is clear, but keep in mind so is Cleveland’s. Keeping a division rival out of the playoffs would be a great way to end the season.
When it comes down to it, I trust head coach Mike Tomlin to have a game plan ready to go for Sunday. The Steelers play physical football and their defense has been on fire over the last three weeks. They are allowing an average of only 13.0 points (No. 5 in NFL) on 216.7 total yards (No. 1 in NFL) per game.
Pittsburgh is also 18-1 straight up in its last 19 home games against Cleveland. I’ll back the Steelers with confidence.
Steelers vs. Browns Prediction: Steelers 20, Browns 14
Giants vs. Eagles (Jan. 8)
The Eagles are playing for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Giants cannot be jostled out of the sixth spot no matter what happens. Are we in for some intrigue in Philly?
As Larry Rupp writes for TheDuel:
It’s become clear how much the Eagles miss starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. The third-year pro is still recovering from a shoulder sprain, but early reports suggest he could suit up in Week 18. That would obviously be a major boost for a Philly offense that still ranks third in points per game (28.4).
The other storyline to keep an eye on here is whether or not the Giants opt to play their starters. New York is locked into the No. 6 seed and avoiding injury to stars like Jones or Saquon Barkley is crucial. Head coach Brian Daboll will likely keep that decision to himself prior to kickoff on Sunday, though.
New York has lost eight straight games at Lincoln Financial Field and Philadelphia is desperate for a win. I’ll take the Eagles.
Eagles vs. Giants Prediction: Eagles 30, Giants 17
Lions vs. Packers (Jan. 8)
And here we are — the final Sunday Night Football presentation of the regular season. So, will one of these teams make like Cris Collinsworth and slide right into the postseason with a 9-8 finish, or will both find themselves on the outside looking in at the Seahawks?
As Larry Rupp writes for TheDuel to cap off our Week 18 NFL predictions:
There’s not many football fans that thought this game would have major playoff implications a few weeks ago. The Packers once stood at 4-8 and the Detroit Lions once stood at 4-7. Each team has racked up one dominant win after another since then and now have a playoff berth within their grasp, though.
I’ll have to give the edge to the Packers here as this game will be played in frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field. The Lions have struggled to score away from Ford Field, averaging 19.3 points per road game. Green Bay has posted an average scoring margin of +7.6 over its last four home games.
The Packers are also 5-2 straight up in their last seven games against the Lions. I’ll roll with Green Bay.
Packers vs. Lions Prediction: Packers 27, Lions 24
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