The NFL announced the Week 18 schedule prior to Monday Night Football, with the Patriots and Bills locking in for a 1pm kickoff on Sunday, January 8.
This comes on the heels of the NFL tapping the Chiefs and Raiders as well as the Jaguars and Titans for Saturday games that could determine homefield advantage as well as the AFC South's champion. Now the full Sunday slate is also determined.
For the Patriots, a win will secure their spot as the seventh and final playoff participant in the AFC, but even with a loss New England could still possibly back into the final spot. For that to happen they'd need a Jags win on Saturday night, then a win by the Jets over the Dolphins, as well as a Browns win over the Steelers, both of which will be going on concurrently with the Pats-Bills game.
By about 4:30pm on Sunday the Patriots' fate should be known whether they knock off Buffalo or not.
Tonight's Monday Night Football matchup between the Bills and Bengals will also have implications on next weekend, as the Bills may or may not still be in the running for the conference's top seed by the time they take the field against the Patriots, while the Bengals could continue to climb up the rankings with two more wins themselves. Their finale against the Ravens is the only remaining game time to be finalized.
The seventh playoff spot, added to each conference last season, is providing plenty of intrigue as the final weekend approaches with both final seeds still to be determined and plenty of jockeying in the standings still possible.
The full Week 18 slate is as follows:
Saturday, January 7, 2023
- Kansas City at Las Vegas ESPN/ABC 4:30
- Tennessee at Jacksonville ESPN/ABC 8:15
Sunday, January 8, 2023
- Tampa Bay at Atlanta FOX 1:00
- New England at Buffalo CBS 1:00
- Minnesota at Chicago FOX 1:00
- Houston at Indianapolis CBS 1:00
- New York Jets at Miami FOX 1:00
- Carolina at New Orleans FOX 1:00
- Cleveland at Pittsburgh CBS 1:00
- Baltimore at Cincinnati CBS 1:00 or 4:25
- Los Angeles Chargers at Denver CBS 4:25
- New York Giants at Philadelphia CBS 4:25
- Arizona at San Francisco FOX 4:25
- Los Angeles Rams at Seattle FOX 4:25
- Dallas at Washington FOX 4:25
- Detroit at Green Bay NBC 8:20