The National Football League has finally released the full schedule for Week 18 of the 2022 NFL regular season, and the Minnesota Vikings have the best possible time slot for their season finale.
The Vikings will take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field at noon Central time on Sunday afternoon. Earlier today, Vikings’ head coach Kevin O’Connell said that he thought the Vikings might play in the same window as the San Francisco 49ers with seeding still (at least nominally) up for grabs, but that is not the case.
Here are all of the games for this weekend.
Saturday, 7 January
- 3:30 PM Central: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
- 7:15 PM Central: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Titans/Jaguars game is a winner-take-all for the AFC South title. The Chiefs could wrap up the #1 seed with a win depending on tonight’s game between Buffalo and Cincinnati.
Sunday, 8 January, early window (12:00 PM Central)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (FOX)
- New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (FOX)
- Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (FOX)
- Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (FOX)
- Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (CBS)
- New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (CBS)
- Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)
Most of these games don’t have a whole lot of meaning. The #1 seed in the AFC could still be in play for Buffalo. . .again, depending on what happens on Monday Night Football. If the Bills beat both the Bengals and the Patriots, the top seed in the AFC is theirs. New England is currently the #7 seed in the AFC and would get in with a win over Buffalo. If they should stumble, Miami or Pittsburgh would have an opportunity to jump into that spot.
Houston can lock up the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft with a loss, too. If they should beat Indy, the Bears could jump into that spot with a loss to Minnesota.
Sunday, 8 January, late window (3:25 PM Central)
- New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (CBS)
- Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos (CBS)
- Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders (FOX)
- Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (FOX)
- Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (FOX)
The majority of the drama takes place in the late window, as the Eagles, 49ers, and Cowboys are all potentially in play for the #1 seed in the NFC. The Eagles wrap it up with a win, but the Niners OR Cowboys could jump into that spot if they should fail to do so for the third straight week. Seattle can determine how much meaning the Sunday night game has depending on whether they win or lose.
We’ll also have to keep an eye on whether or not the Giants rest people, as the way things stand right now they’re the most likely first-round opponent for the Vikings.
Could be in either the early or late window on Sunday
- Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (CBS)
If Buffalo wins tonight, this game will be part of the late window on Sunday, with the winner taking home the NFC North. If Cincinnati wins on Monday Night Football tonight, this game will be part of the early window as Cincinnati would wrap up the NFC North with a win this evening. Either way, it will be on CBS.
Sunday Night Football
- Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (NBC)
If the Seahawks should lose to the Rams in the late window, then the winner of this one will get the #7 seed in the NFC. If the Seahawks win, only Green Bay can get in with a win as the Lions would be eliminated.
Yeah, they should have put Titans/Jaguars here, but OMG WE LOVE AARON RODGERS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH, so the league put Lions/Packers here instead. Whatever.
There’s your full Week 18 schedule, folks. What do you think?