AFC playoff seeding, Wild Card Round matchups set as Patriots lose to Bills


The New England Patriots have failed to make the NFL playoffs for just the fifth time since Bill Belichick became the team's head coach in 2000. 

A victory over the Buffalo Bills in Sunday afternoon's Week 18 game at Highmark Stadium would have been enough to clinch the third wild card spot and No. 7 seed in the AFC for the Patriots. But after losing 35-23 to the Bills, the Patriots needed help from two other teams to get into the playoffs and it didn't happen.

Special teams miscues, Josh Allen doom Patriots in season-ending loss

The Patriots needed the Cleveland Browns to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets to defeat the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers and Dolphins both won, giving Miami the No. 7 seed.

New England, as a result, finishes the 2022 regular season with a 8-9 record and an ninth-place finish in the AFC standings.

It's a disappointing end to the campaign for the Patriots, who squandered numerous opportunities throughout the season. A Week 7 loss to the Chicago Bears at home on "Monday Night Football" was a really bad result. The Bears ended up finishing with the second-worst record in the league at 3-14. And, of course, the lateral disaster at the end of the Week 15 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders stands out above them all. It was one of the most embarrassing losses in team history.

Patriots Talk: Patriots once again find a way to fall vs. Bills. Where do they go from here? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The Patriots will now turn their attention to a pivotal offseason, including free agency in March and the 2023 NFL Draft in April.

Here are the final playoff seedings and wild card matchups for the AFC and NFC. 

AFC playoff teams

  1. Kansas City Chiefs, 14-3 (AFC West winner)
  2. Buffalo Bills, 13-3 (AFC East winner)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals, 12-4 (AFC North winner)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 9-8 (AFC South winner)
  5. Los Angeles Chargers, 10-7 (First wild card)
  6. Baltimore Ravens, 10-7 (Second wild card)
  7. Miami Dolphins, 9-8 (Third wild card)

Just missed the playoffs

8. Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-8

9. New England Patriots, 8-9

AFC Wild Card Weekend matchups

The Chiefs have a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed. They will host the lowest-seeded Wild Card Round winner in the Divisional Round.

  • No. 7 Dolphins at No. 2 Bills
  • No. 6 Ravens at No. 3 Bengals
  • No. 5 Chargers at No. 4 Jaguars

NFC playoff teams

  1. Philadelphia Eagles, 14-3 (NFC East winner)
  2. San Francisco 49ers, 13-4 (NFC West winner)
  3. Minnesota Vikings, 13-4 (NFC North winner)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8-9 (NFC South winner)
  5. Dallas Cowboys, 12-5 (First wild card)
  6. New York Giants, 9-7-1 (Second wild card)
  7. Seattle Seahawks, 9-8 (Third wild card)

Just missed the playoffs

8. Detroit Lions, 9-8

9. Washington Commanders, 8-8-1

10. Green Bay Packers, 8-9

NFC Wild Card Weekend matchups

The Eagles have a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed. They will host the lowest-seeded Wild Card Round winner in the Divisional Round.

  • No. 7 Seahawks at No. 2 49ers
  • No. 6 Giants at No. 3 Vikings
  • No. 5 Cowboys at No. 4 Buccaneers
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