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AP staff Saturday NFL football preview, predictions and discussion for Week 18

The Chiefs play the Chargers on Sunday — but Week 18 opens with the Steelers and Ravens on Saturday afternoon.

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The (5-11) Los Angeles Chargers will host the (10-6) Kansas City Chiefs at 3:25 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) on Sunday.

But the 18th and final week of the NFL regular season kicks off with a Saturday doubleheader featuring three teams that could face the Chiefs as the sixth seed in the Wild Card round: the (9-7) Pittsburgh Steelers on the road against the (13-3) Baltimore Ravens at 3:30 p.m. — followed by the (9-7) Houston Texans visiting the (9-7) Indianapolis Colts at 7:15 p.m. Both games will be on ESPN and ABC — locally on KMBC/9.

The Ravens have the AFC’s No. 1 seed locked up, so they have nothing to gain on Saturday afternoon — except revenge against Pittsburgh for its 17-10 win over Baltimore in Week 5.

The Steelers, however, have a lot at stake. They come into the game with about a 1-in-4 chance of making the playoffs. By sweeping their season series with the Ravens, they will more than double that chance — although they could also make the playoffs after losing Saturday’s game. Win or lose, Pittsburgh will have to wait for Sunday’s matchups. The Steelers could end up as the sixth or seventh seed — or watch the postseason on TV.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Steelers are favored by 3 points.

In contrast, the Colts and Texans both have everything on the line in Saturday night’s game. The winner goes to the playoffs, while the loser goes home. Depending on Sunday’s results, the winning team could land the AFC South title (and the fourth seed) or a Wild Card berth as the sixth or seventh seed.

DraftKings favors the Texans by 1.5 points.

For more about how the postseason will change after Week 18’s results, consult our AFC playoff seeding cheat sheet.

Here are our picks for Saturday’s games. Be sure to cast your vote, too — and discuss the game in the comments!


Arrowhead Pride readers pick

READER RECORD: 165-88-3 (after Week 17)

Poll

Which team wins Steelers (9-7) at Ravens (13-3)?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Steelers
    (109 votes)
  • 18%
    Ravens
    (25 votes)
134 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which team wins Texans (9-7) at Colts (9-7)?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Texans
    (121 votes)
  • 33%
    Colts
    (62 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now

Reader Record by Week

Predictions W-L-T
Week 1 picks 10-6-0
Week 2 picks 12-4-0
Week 3 picks 10-6-0
Week 4 picks 11-5-0
Week 5 picks 8-6-0
Week 6 picks 10-5-0
Week 7 picks 5-8-0
Week 8 picks 11-5-0
Week 9 picks 11-3-0
Week 10 picks 9-5-0
Week 11 picks 8-6-0
Week 12 picks 11-4-1
Week 13 picks 10-3-0
Week 14 picks 6-9-0
Week 15 picks 11-5-0
Week 16 picks 10-4-2
Week 17 picks 12-4-0
Total 165-88-3

AP Staff Record

TW LW Staffer W L T Pct
1 1 Rocky Magaña 155 85 0 0.6458
2 2 John Dixon 163 93 0 0.6367
3 4 Ron Kopp Jr. 161 92 0 0.6364
4 5 Stephen Serda 160 93 0 0.6324
5 3 Pete Sweeney 118 69 0 0.6310
6 7 Matt Stagner 159 95 0 0.6260
7 6 Jared Sapp 159 97 0 0.6211
8 8 Kramer Sansone 156 99 0 0.6118
9 9 Nate Christensen 152 104 0 0.5938
10 9 Ashley Justice 149 107 0 0.5820
11 11 Dakota Watson 148 107 0 0.5804
12 12 Maurice Elston 84 70 0 0.5455

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