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AP staff NFL preview and predictions for Week 18

The Chiefs play the Broncos on Saturday, but we’re picking all of this weekend’s games.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The final week of the 2021 NFL season opens on Saturday afternoon with the Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) in the Rocky Mountains to play the Denver Broncos (7-9). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Arrowhead Time. With a victory, the Chiefs can lock up the AFC’s second postseason seed. But if the Houston Texans (4-12) defeat the Tennessee Titans (11-5) on Sunday, a Kansas City win would clinch the first seed.

Following Saturday’s Chiefs-Broncos game, the Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) will host the Dallas Cowboys (11-5). That game is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Both Saturday games will be broadcast on ESPN — locally on KMBC/9. Sunday’s Titans-Texans game will be on CBS — locally on KCTV/5.

Elsewhere in the AFC West, the Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) will play the Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) on Sunday Night Football. With a win, Las Vegas will make the postseason — and knock Los Angeles out.

In the AFC, only the East division champion is yet undetermined. That will be settled during Sunday’s late games, when the Buffalo Bills (10-6) host the New York Jets (4-12) and the New England Patriots (10-6) go on the road to face the Miami Dolphins (8-8). With a victory, the Bills will win the division — but should they lose, the Patriots can take the title with a victory in Florida.

Another interesting AFC matchup will be in the early games: the Indianapolis Colts (9-7) on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14). With a win (which seems likely), the Colts will make the playoffs — but a loss will push them out of the postseason unless the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) at Heinz Field during the early games, the Dolphins beat the Patriots in the late games and Las Vegas beats Los Angeles on Sunday night.

A Colts loss would also make it possible for both the Raiders and Chargers to make the postseason with a tie during their Sunday night game. By itself, the tie would get the Chargers into the playoffs — but for the tie to push the Raiders in, the Colts would have to lose. The Raiders also have another way to get in: regardless of the outcome against the Chargers, a Colts loss and a Steelers loss (or tie) would get Las Vegas into the postseason.

In the NFC, the West division is the only one that is yet to be decided. During Sunday’s late games, the Los Angeles Rams (12-4) host the San Francisco 49ers (9-7), while the Seattle Seahawks (6-10) go to the desert to play the Arizona Cardinals (11-5). The Rams can clinch the division with a victory — but a loss will allow the Cardinals to win the title with a victory over Seattle.

A San Francisco loss would also open the door for the New Orleans Saints (8-8) to make the playoffs with a road win against the Atlanta Falcons (7-9) during the early games. But if the 49ers win (or tie) later in the day, the Saints are out — and San Francisco makes the playoffs.

Here are our picks for this weekend’s games. Be sure to cast your vote, too!


Arrowhead Pride readers pick

READER RECORD: 167-86-3

Poll

Who wins Cowboys (11-5) at Eagles (9-7)?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Cowboys
    (236 votes)
  • 40%
    Eagles
    (162 votes)
398 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Bengals (10-6) at Browns (7-9)?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Bengals
    (255 votes)
  • 36%
    Browns
    (149 votes)
404 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Packers (13-3) at Lions (2-13-1)?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Packers
    (330 votes)
  • 14%
    Lions
    (57 votes)
387 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Colts (9-7) at Jaguars (2-14)?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Colts
    (346 votes)
  • 12%
    Jaguars
    (48 votes)
394 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Titans (11-5) at Texans (4-12)?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Titans
    (206 votes)
  • 54%
    Texans
    (243 votes)
449 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Bears (6-10) at Vikings (7-9)?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Bears
    (100 votes)
  • 73%
    Vikings
    (278 votes)
378 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Washington (6-10) at Giants (4-12)?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Washington
    (341 votes)
  • 9%
    Giants
    (36 votes)
377 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Steelers (8-7-1) at Ravens (8-8)?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Steelers
    (228 votes)
  • 40%
    Ravens
    (158 votes)
386 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Saints (8-8) at Falcons (7-9)?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Saints
    (281 votes)
  • 26%
    Falcons
    (100 votes)
381 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Panthers (5-11) at Buccaneers (12-4)?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Panthers
    (50 votes)
  • 86%
    Buccaneers
    (325 votes)
375 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Jets (4-12) at Bills (10-6)?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Jets
    (35 votes)
  • 90%
    Bills
    (348 votes)
383 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Patriots (10-6) at Dolphins (8-8)?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Patriots
    (203 votes)
  • 46%
    Dolphins
    (179 votes)
382 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins 49ers (9-7) at Rams (12-4)?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    49ers
    (111 votes)
  • 70%
    Rams
    (266 votes)
377 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Seahawks (6-10) at Cardinals (11-5)?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Seahawks
    (44 votes)
  • 88%
    Cardinals
    (327 votes)
371 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who wins Chargers (9-7) at Raiders (9-7)?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Chargers
    (174 votes)
  • 54%
    Raiders
    (212 votes)
386 votes total Vote Now

Reader Record by Week

Predictions W-L-T
Week 1 picks 8-7-1
Week 2 picks 10-6-0
Week 3 picks 10-6-0
Week 4 picks 10-6-0
Week 5 picks 11-5-0
Week 6 picks 9-4-1
Week 7 picks 10-3-0
Week 8 picks 8-7-0
Week 9 picks 8-6-0
Week 10 picks 9-4-1
Week 11 picks 11-4-0
Week 12 picks 8-7-0
Week 13 picks 9-5-0
Week 14 picks 10-4-0
Week 15 picks 12-4-0
Week 16 picks 13-3-0
Week 17 picks 11-5-0
Total 167-86-3

AP Staff Record

TW LW Staffer W L T Pct
1 1 Kristian Gumminger 110 51 1 0.6821
2 2 Mark Gunnels 150 73 1 0.6719
3 3 Bryan Stewart 167 88 1 0.6543
4 6 Matt Stagner 156 85 1 0.6467
5 7 Ron Kopp Jr. 157 87 1 0.6429
6 5 Talon Graff 164 91 1 0.6426
7 4 Pete Sweeney 163 92 1 0.6387
8 10 Jared Sapp 162 93 1 0.6348
9 8 Stephen Serda 161 93 1 0.6333
10 9 Kramer Sansone 156 92 1 0.6285
11 11 Ethan Willinger 160 95 1 0.6270
12 12 Rocky Magaña 158 97 1 0.6191
13 13 John Dixon 152 103 1 0.5957

In Week 17, seven Arrowhead Pride contributors went 12-4-0 with their head-to-head picks. Against the spread, Rocky Magaña led the staff at 11-5-0, followed by Stephen Serda at 10-6-0. Pete Sweeney and Jared Sapp turned in 11-5-0 records in over/under — with Mark Gunnels right behind at 10-6-0 — while Rocky and Jared led the way at 32-16-0 overall. Pete followed with a 28-20-0 record.

Among 219 Tallysight experts in Week 17, Rocky and Stephen both landed in the top 20 against the spread — while in over/under, Pete, Jared and Mark ranked third, fourth and 12th. Overall, Rocky ranked fifth and Jared came in 13th.

Over the whole season, Ron Kopp currently ranks 24th head-to-head. Mark and Pete are fourth and 10th against the spread, while Jared, Kristian Gumminger and Pete rank second, eighth and 16th in over/under. Overall, Pete, Kristian and Mark come in fourth, eighth and 16th.