NFL Playoff Predictions: Who makes the postseason?

Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals NFL 2021

The 2022 NFL season gets under way in a few short weeks but we are always ahead of the game and we have way too early playoff predictions for you.

Most of the 32 franchises will go into regular-season play believing they have at least a shot of making it deeper into January – that’s what parity, free agency, the Draft and salary cap will do for a team. And guess what, they’re right.

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Predicting in July is never easy, but we’ve never ducked a fight at OddsCritic so here we are, ready to provide expert advice on some futures picks for teams to make postseason play.

NFL Playoff Predictions for 2022

Okay we have several predictions for you people, some to make the playoffs and some to miss out. You can bet them all with PointsBet (who also offer risk-free bets up to $2000).

  1. Arizona Cardinals to MISS the playoffs at -130: We are still bewildered as to why Kliff Kingsbury goes into 2022 with a huge new contract extension in his back pocket, when he could be on the hotseat in a few short months. Every year it seems Arizona starts well and then implodes down the stretch. Throw in some questionable personnel moves (giving up a #1 for ‘Hollywood’ Brown) and we just don’t see how the Cards progress from a stacked NFC West. They’ll be worse than they were in 2022 – not good enough
  2. Cincinnati Bengals to MAKE the playoffs at -140: We cannot believe the Bengals are double-digit odds to win the AFC and bigger than +2000 to win Super Bowl LVII. They came so close to a world championship in 2021 and all they’ve done since is massively improve their one real weakness – that leaky offensive line. Their blocking front should be a strength in 2021 while they improved the secondary in the Draft. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase should only be better in 2022, they look like a lock to us.
  3. Los Angeles Chargers to MAKE the playoffs at -160: We really like what the Chargers did in the offseason, going all in to try to win during Justin Herbert’s cheap rookie deal. The window is now and L.A. took advantage by picking up star quality on defense headed by former Bear Khalil Mack and the best free-agent corner in J.C. Jackson. The Chargers are stacked and they look a surefire bet to be in postseason play.
  4. Minnesota Vikings to MAKE the playoffs at +100: We are not enormously high on the Vikes, but they play in a miserable conference and we will be shocked if they do not finish in the top 7. The NFC South may well only send one team to postseason play, the same could be true for the NFC East. The race for Wildcard berths is likely to finish up around the .500 mark and that is Vikings territory. The hire of Kevin O’Connell as HC should finally get an underachieving offense full of stars humming at last. Take Minnesota to get in.

The only team we cannot give a view on right now is the Cleveland Browns – sportsbooks are terrified of offering a line due to a potential suspension for Deshaun Watson. Right now we’d bet that they MISS the playoffs.

While we are talking about the AFC North, we absolutely love a Dual Forecast bet for Cincinnati and Baltimore to finish as top two in the division, in any order. Nice + odds and we’d take that all day.

How many NFL teams make the playoffs?

All these NFL playoff predictions are based on who gets in, and who doesn’t.

Seven teams from each conference get in – a total of 14 overall. Almost half the teams in the league – that’s why they’re right to dream big.

The four division winners go in from each conference, and then three wild card teams (the teams with the best records who do not win a division).

Only one team now gets a first-round bye in the playoffs, the team with the #1 overall regular-season record in each conference. That was the Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans in 2021.

How do the NFL playoffs work?

Pretty simple, the best plays the worst and they eventually cut down to just two teams playing in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona in February 2023.

The format/bracket for each conference is as follows:

Wildcard Round

#1 seed – bye

#2 seed vs #7 seed

#3 seed vs #6 seed

#4 seed vs #5 seed

Divisional Round

The #1 seed plays host to the lowest seeded Wildcard winner, while the other two Wildcard winners face off with homefield advantage going to whoever is seeded highest.

Championship Games

The winners of the two divisional round games in each conference play each other in the Conference Championship games. The highest seeded remaining teams get homefield advantage.

Super Bowl LVII

The winners of the two Conference Championship games meet in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday February 12, 2023.

You can check out the full 2021 NFL playoff schedule to see exactly how it worked in reality.