Chiefs kick off Week 18 playing for AFC’s No. 1 seed

Jan 4, 2023, 1:25 AM | Updated: 5:23 pm
Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts the winners; 3c x 7/8 inches...

Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts the winners; 3c x 7/8 inches


              Graphic shows NFL team matchups and predicts the winners; 3c x 7/8 inches
            
              Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes drops back to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
            
              Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles as Denver Broncos linebacker Wyatt Ray (52) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The NFL is moving forward with the Week 18 schedule during a difficult, emotional week.

While coaches, players, fans and the sports community are focused on Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s health, the final weekend of the regular season kicks off Saturday with the Kansas City Chiefs visiting the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Chiefs (13-3) took over the AFC’s No. 1 seed when the Bills-Bengals game was suspended in the first quarter after Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the field.

It’s uncertain whether the Bills-Bengals game will be resumed or canceled so the Chiefs need a win to maintain that top spot.

The Raiders (6-10) were eliminated last week after losing in overtime to San Francisco.

The Chiefs are 9 1/2-point favorites, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Pro Picks figures Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will want to finish strong following a struggle against the lowly Broncos last week.

CHIEFS, 31-17

Houston (plus 2 1/2) at Indianapolis

The Texans (2-13-1) need to lose to lock up the No. 1 pick in the draft.

COLTS, 16-13

New York Giants (plus 14) at Philadelphia

The Eagles (13-3) are playing for the No. 1 seed. The Giants (9-6-1) are locked into the NFC’s sixth seed.

BEST BET: EAGLES, 30-13

Tennessee (plus 6) at Jacksonville

The AFC South title is on the line. Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars (8-8) have won four in a row. The Titans (7-9) are giving Josh Dobbs his second straight start, aiming to snap a six-game losing streak and secure a third straight division title.

JAGUARS, 23-20

New York Jets (minus 1) at Miami

The Dolphins (8-8) will likely start rookie Skylar Thompson because of injuries to Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater as they aim to snap a five-game losing streak and try to earn a wild-card spot. The Jets (7-9) are reduced to spoiler after losing five straight games.

JETS, 22-17

Cleveland (plus 2 1/2) at Pittsburgh

The Steelers (8-8) still have a shot at a wild-card berth and want to avoid coach Mike Tomlin’s first losing season.

STEELERS, 23-20

Tampa Bay (plus 4 1/2) at Atlanta

Tom Brady wants to play even though the Buccaneers (8-8) are locked into the NFC’s fourth seed. Bucs coach Todd Bowles can’t keep his starters in too long.

FALCONS, 24-16

Carolina (plus 3 1/2) at New Orleans

This game would’ve had playoff implications if the Buccaneers didn’t rally against Carolina last week.

SAINTS, 23-17

New England (plus 7) at Buffalo

It’s difficult to imagine how the Bills (12-3) will handle playing this game with Hamlin in the hospital. The Patriots (8-8) need a win to clinch a wild-card spot.

BILLS, 24-22

Minnesota (minus 7 1/2) at Chicago

The Vikings (12-4) fell to the third seed. Nathan Peterman starts for the Bears.

VIKINGS, 27-13

Baltimore (plus 6 1/2) at Cincinnati

The AFC North would’ve been up for grabs if the Bengals (11-4) lost to the Bills. The Ravens are 2-2 with Tyler Huntley filling in for Lamar Jackson.

BENGALS, 27-17

Los Angeles Rams (plus 6 1/2) at Seattle

The Seahawks (8-8) need a win and loss by Green Bay to get a wild-card berth.

SEAHAWKS, 24-13

Los Angeles Chargers (minus 2 1/2) at Denver

The Chargers (10-6) don’t have much at stake, either a fifth or sixth seed.

UPSET SPECAL: BRONCOS, 20-17

Arizona (plus 14) at San Francisco

The 49ers (12-4) would earn the No. 1 seed with a win and loss by Philadelphia.

49ERS, 34-9

Dallas (minus 7 1/2) at Washington

The Cowboys (12-4) still have a shot to win the NFC East.

COWBOYS, 27-13

Detroit (plus 4 1/2) at Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (8-8) have climbed from 4-8 to a point where a win clinches a wild-card berth. The Lions (8-8) need a win and loss by Seattle to get in after a 1-6 start.

PACKERS, 27-24

2022 RECORD

Last Week: Straight up: 12-3. Against spread: 9-6.

Season: Straight up: 159-95. Against spread: 128-121-5.

Thursday: Straight up: 13-6. Against spread: 9-10.

Monday: Straight up: 10-7. Against spread: 8-9.

Best Bet: Straight up: 9-8. Against spread: 9-8.

Upset Special: Straight up: 6-11. Against spread: 8-8-1.

___

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi

___

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Chiefs kick off Week 18 playing for AFC’s No. 1 seed