NFL Week 18 picks, schedule, odds, injuries, fantasy tips

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By Sohaib

The Week 18 NFL schedule for the 2023 season is stacked with great matchups, and we’ve got you covered with what you need to know heading into the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the biggest keys to every game and a bold prediction for each matchup.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a big stat to know and a betting nugget for each contest, and our Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a game projection and a look at the playoff picture. Analytics writer Seth Walder picks out each matchup’s biggest X factor, and fantasy analyst Eric Moody hands out helpful fantasy football intel. Finally, Walder and Moody give us final score picks for every game. Everything you want to know is here in one spot to help you get ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let’s get into the full Week 18 slate, including the Colts and the Texans in a Saturday night battle for a playoff berth and the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Cowboys all hoping to wrap up division titles Sunday afternoon. It all culminates with a Sunday night matchup between the Bills and Dolphins for the AFC East title. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted, and all playoff chance percentages are via the FPI.)

Jump to a matchup:

4:30 p.m. ET, Saturday | ESPN | Spread: PIT -4 (35.5)

Storyline to watch: The Steelers have beaten the Ravens three straight times in Baltimore, winning by a total of 10 points. The last time Baltimore won at home against Pittsburgh was the 2019 regular-season finale, when the Ravens had already wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the AFC and rested quarterback Lamar Jackson. With the Ravens clinching the AFC’s top spot in Week 17, Jackson is sitting out this game, too. — Jamison Hensley

Bold prediction: Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will get his first interception of the season. Fitzpatrick recently returned to practice after injuring his knee against the Colts in Week 15, but his availability is less in question against the Ravens than it’s been the past two weeks. Tyler Huntley, starting at quarterback for the Ravens in place of the resting Jackson, has thrown one touchdown pass to three interceptions in three games against the Steelers. For the first time in his career, Fitzpatrick is on the verge of an interception-less season. He beats the buzzer by snagging one off Huntley in a crucial finale. — Brooke Pryor

Stat to know: The Steelers are 6-1 vs. the Ravens since 2020 (3-0 vs. Jackson, 3-1 vs. all other QBs).

Matchup X factor: How many players Baltimore rests. On paper, of course, the Ravens are the much better team. But with the No. 1 seed locked up, the Ravens will rest Jackson and likely many other key players and coast through Week 18. How much they do will dramatically impact Pittsburgh’s chances. — Walder

What’s at stake: The Ravens are locked into the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but the Steelers still have a lot on the line. They can clinch a playoff berth with a win and then either a Jaguars loss, Bills loss or a Texans-Colts tie. But they can also get in if they lose to Baltimore. Pittsburgh would then need a Broncos win, Jaguars loss and anything but a tie in Texans-Colts. ESPN’s FPI says Pittsburgh has a 22% chance. Read more.



Mina challenges Stephen A. on his Lamar-Ravens take

Stephen A. Smith and Mina Kimes aren’t on the same page regarding the difficult path Lamar Jackson and the Ravens must travel to reach the Super Bowl.

Injuries: Steelers | Ravens

What to know for fantasy: Look for the Ravens to have some unlikely fantasy contributors. Running back Melvin Gordon III, who had six touches in Week 17 against Miami, might play a larger role this week behind Justice Hill, who finished with eight touches and 22.2 fantasy points last week. Considering that the Ravens lead the league with 32.3 rushing attempts per game, both Hill and Gordon could be big factors with Jackson sitting out. As for the Steelers, wide receiver George Pickens has caught 11 of 15 targets for 326 receiving yards the past two weeks since Mason Rudolph assumed the starting quarterback role. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Steelers are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in division games this season and 15-8 ATS since 2020. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Steelers 24, Ravens 20
Walder’s pick: Steelers 22, Ravens 13
FPI prediction: BAL, 78.9% (by an average of 10.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: Pickett denies rumors he refused to be Steelers’ QB2 Sunday … Ravens to sit MVP favorite Jackson against Steelers … Steelers’ rejuvenated offense keeps them in playoff picture

8:15 p.m. ET, Saturday | ESPN | Spread: HOU -1.5 (47.5)

Storyline to watch: The stakes in this year’s game between these teams could not be more different from those in last season’s finale. The No. 1 pick in the draft was on the line in Week 18 in the 2022 season, with the Colts losing and knocking Houston into the No. 2 choice. This season, the winner of this game goes to the playoffs and wildly accelerates its rebuilding effort ahead of 2024. — Stephen Holder

Bold prediction: The Texans will win by more than 10 points as quarterback C.J. Stroud will throw for more than 350 yards. The Texans are a completely different team than the one that faced the Colts in Week 2, and in that matchup, Stroud threw for 384 yards. The Colts lean on running the ball, and the Texans have the third-best run defense in the NFL. Once they stop the run, the Texans will run away with it. — DJ Bien-Aime

Stat to know: The Colts allow the third-highest completion percentage on throws 20-plus yards downfield (46%). Stroud has the second-highest QBR (99), third-highest completion percentage (57.1%), five passing touchdowns and zero interceptions on such throws.

Matchup X factor: Texans edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. He’s making a late Defensive Rookie of the Year push with 2.0 sacks last week. He has a 26% pass rush win rate, which ranks third among all edge rushers. — Walder

What’s at stake: The winner of this game makes the playoffs. And if the Jaguars lose on Sunday, the winner would also clinch the AFC South. But the loser of this game will be eliminated from the postseason. Read more.

Injuries: Texans | Colts

What to know for fantasy: The Texans will continue to rely heavily on Stroud and the passing game. This season, he has averaged 33.8 pass attempts and 18.6 fantasy points per game. Also, the Colts’ defense relies heavily on Cover 3, which Stroud has had great success against. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Colts are 5-1 ATS as favorites this season. The Texans are 4-1 ATS as road underdogs this season with four straight covers. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Texans 31, Colts 23
Walder’s pick: Texans 30, Colts 16
FPI prediction: IND, 51.6% (by an average of 0.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: Texans’ playoff path can be easy: Win and you’re in … Colts’ season comes down to one game vs. Texans

1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: CIN -7 (37)

Storyline to watch: The Bengals are looking to avoid going winless in divisional play for the fourth time in franchise history. The game will also feature a familiar face in Browns quarterback Jeff Driskel, who will start in place of Joe Flacco and is the fifth quarterback to start a game this season for Cleveland. Driskel was with the Bengals early in his career. He started five games for Cincinnati in 2018 and was in training camp with the Bengals in 2019, coach Zac Taylor’s first season. — Ben Baby

Bold prediction: Both teams will have players score their first offensive touchdowns of the season. For the Browns, that could be wide receivers Marquise Goodwin or Cedric Tillman, or tight end Jordan Akins. For the Bengals, running back Trayveon Williams, wide receiver Charlie Jones or tight end Mitchell Wilcox are the prime candidates. — Jake Trotter

Stat to know: The Browns are 9-2 vs. the Bengals since the start of 2018, their best record against any team over that span (minimum of three games).

Matchup X factor: Bengals edge rusher Trey Hendrickson. He is quietly tied for the league lead in sacks with 17.0. He could end up the league leader for the season if he racks up one or two more against a Browns team that is locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs. — Walder

What’s at stake: There isn’t much on the line here. The Browns are in the playoffs and buckled into the No. 5 seed, while the Bengals were eliminated in Week 17. Read more.

Injuries: Browns | Bengals

What to know for fantasy: Cleveland running back Pierre Strong Jr. shouldn’t be overlooked by managers in deeper leagues. The Browns are likely to rest Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt. This would leave Strong as Cleveland’s starter in a matchup against a vulnerable Bengals defense that just gave up 130 rushing yards to Isiah Pacheco in Week 17. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Browns are 4-0 ATS in their past four games. The Bengals are 0-3 ATS in their past three games. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Bengals 24, Browns 20
Walder’s pick: Bengals 23, Browns 20
FPI prediction: CIN, 54.2% (by an average of 1.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Browns clinch rare playoff berth on ‘special night’ … Chase continues to jab at Chiefs during, after loss … With fifth seed secure, Browns to rest Flacco, other starters vs. Bengals

1 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: DET -3.5 (45.5)

Storyline to watch: These rivals will meet for the second time in three weeks, with the Lions clinching the division title for the first time since 1993 in their last meeting at Minnesota on Dec. 24. Detroit has a chance to secure a 12-win season for just the second time in franchise history, while the Vikings are holding on to slim chances of reaching the playoffs with a number of scenarios potentially playing in their favor — but they have to win first. So, both teams are still playing for something in Week 18. — Eric Woodyard

Bold prediction: Justin Jefferson will exceed 140 receiving yards. Jefferson has torched the Lions in his career, totaling at least 124 yards in five of his seven career games against them. In his past two games against Detroit alone, he has caught 17 passes for 364 yards. And just last week, the Lions could not contain another top receiver, as the Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb lit them up for 227 yards on 13 catches. — Kevin Seifert

Stat to know: Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta are looking to become the first pair of rookie teammates in NFL history to each score 10 touchdowns in the same season (Gibbs has 10 scores, LaPorta nine).

Matchup X factor: Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. Against Detroit’s frequent and efficient ground game, Pace will play a crucial role stopping the run. The undrafted free agent rookie ranks fifth in run stop win rate among linebackers. — Walder

What’s at stake: The NFC North champion Lions will be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the playoffs, but for the most part, they can relax on Sunday. But the Vikings are still clinging to playoff dreams. First, they must win. But they would also need a Packers loss and a Seahawks loss, along with either a Saints loss or Buccaneers loss. All told, it’s a 3% chance, the dimmest of the remaining playoff lights. Read more.

Injuries: Vikings | Lions

What to know for fantasy: Detroit’s Jared Goff has finished as a top-20 fantasy quarterback in just one of his past four games. He finished with 31 fantasy points against the Broncos in Week 15 — in the three other games, Goff has averaged only 10 fantasy points. This season, Goff has averaged 21.4 fantasy points per game at home. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Vikings are 4-0 ATS as road underdogs this season. They are 7-1 ATS overall on the road. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Lions 31, Vikings 24
Walder’s pick: Lions 27, Vikings 23
FPI prediction: DET, 70.7% (by an average of 7.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Vikings need Flores to build on defensive innovation in 2024 … Lions to use controversial loss to Cowboys as ‘fuel’ … Vikings to start Mullens in season finale vs. Lions … Oral history of the last time the Lions won their division … 30 years ago

1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: JAX -3.5 (41.5)

Storyline to watch: The Jaguars are seeking their first 10-win season since 2017. If quarterback Trevor Lawrence plays, he needs 264 pass yards to become the first Jaguars QB with multiple 4,000-yard seasons. The Titans are 1-10 (.091) in December and January games the past two seasons, the worst winning percentage and most losses in the NFL in that span.

Bold prediction: Derrick Henry will top 100 yards rushing and run for a TD in what could be his final game with the Titans. Henry has averaged more than 100 rushing yards per game in his 14 games against the Jaguars and has run for 15 TDs. It would make him just the second player this season to rush for 100 yards against a Jaguars rush defense that ranks eighth in the NFL (98.6 yards per game). Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson had 105 yards in Week 4. — Mike DiRocco

Stat to know: Since Week 13, the Jaguars have allowed 123.2 rushing yards per game, 24th in the NFL. Henry has averaged 100.8 rushing yards per game against the Jaguars in his career.

Matchup X factor: Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams. He has had a nice season, with minus-15 EPA allowed as the nearest defender — ninth best among outside corners with at least 250 coverage snaps — per NFL Next Gen Stats. If he can keep that play up Sunday, it would help the Jaguars secure the AFC South title. — Walder

What’s at stake: It’s all about the Jaguars here, who can win the AFC South with a victory. But they could still clinch a wild-card spot if they lose; they’d also need a Broncos loss, Steelers loss and anything but a tie in the Texans-Colts game. The eliminated Titans, meanwhile, have an 18% chance to finish with a top-five draft slot. Read more.

Injuries: Jaguars | Titans

What to know for fantasy: The Titans won’t be playing in the postseason, but wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins still has some contract incentives in play. It is possible for him to earn up to $750,000 if he finishes the game with at least seven receptions, 49 receiving yards and two touchdowns. In terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers, the Jaguars’ defense ranks 11th, so Hopkins could be a decent play. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Titans are 1-8 ATS against teams currently with winning records. The Jaguars are 3-0 ATS against teams currently with losing records. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Titans 26, Jaguars 25
Walder’s pick: Jaguars 20, Titans 10
FPI prediction: JAX, 69.7% (by an average of 6.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: How the Jaguars can win the AFC South … Vrabel says ‘I want to be here’ next season … Why Allen is having best season of his career

1 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: NO -3 (42)

Storyline to watch: The Saints need a win and a Buccaneers loss to win the NFC South, but that might have to happen without running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara left Sunday’s win against the Buccaneers with an ankle sprain and missed the first two practices of the week, leaving his status in doubt for a must-win game. Kendre Miller and Jamaal Williams would be the next men up if Kamara can’t play. The Falcons still have playoff hopes but have lost three of their past four games, including a 20-point loss to the Bears last week and a 9-7 loss to the two-win Panthers in Week 15. — Katherine Terrell

Bold prediction: Bijan Robinson will get his third 100-yard game, eclipsing 1,000 yards rushing on the season and having his best rushing game since he picked up 91 yards against New Orleans on Nov. 26. The Saints have allowed more than 130 yards rushing in four of their past six games — including 228 rushing yards to Atlanta in November. Atlanta has rushed for 200 or more yards the past three times it has faced New Orleans. — Michael Rothstein

Stat to know: Kamara has 1,160 scrimmage yards this season, leaving him 40 shy of becoming the eighth player in NFL history with at least 1,200 scrimmage yards in each of his first seven seasons (Matt Forte, LaDainian Tomlinson, Eddie George, Curtis Martin, Ricky Watters, Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson).

Matchup X factor: Falcons safety Jessie Bates III. He has made so many huge plays for the Falcons this season — including six interceptions and three forced fumbles — that we almost expect it. If he can deliver another, that would go a long way toward Atlanta beating the Saints. — Walder

What’s at stake: If Tampa Bay falters on Sunday, the winner of this game would win the NFC South. And the Saints have a bonus scenario for a wild-card spot. If the Bucs hold off the Panthers and clinch the division, the Saints would still make the playoffs if they win this game and both the Packers and Seahawks lose their respective games. Read more.

Injuries: Falcons | Saints

What to know for fantasy: Running back Tyler Allgeier continues to play a significant role in the Falcons’ backfield alongside Robinson. Allgeier has averaged 9.7 touches per game in his past six games. In each of his past two games, he has scored 16 fantasy points. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Falcons are 5-11 ATS this season, tied for worst in the NFL, and they are 4-11 ATS in their past 15 games. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Saints 27, Falcons 21
Walder’s pick: Falcons 20, Saints 17
FPI prediction: NO, 60.6% (by an average of 3.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: The young Falcons core has bonded through a love of anime … Saints treating Week 18 vs. Falcons like a playoff game … How the Falcons can win the NFC South

1 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: TB -4.5 (37.5)

Storyline to watch: Pretty simple. Tampa Bay can win the NFC South and secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs with a victory. The Buccaneers are facing a Carolina team that gave them fits in Tampa in a 21-18 victory in Week 13. Expect a similar game on Sunday with a slight edge to the Bucs, who rank 19th in scoring and should outproduce a Carolina offense ranked 31st and coming off its first shutout loss since 2002. — David Newton

Bold prediction: Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans will catch two touchdowns and breaks his personal best of 14 touchdowns in a single season. Evans had 162 receiving yards against the Panthers in Week 13, has averaged 138.5 yards in the past four games against the Panthers and has caught six touchdowns in those contests. — Jenna Laine

Stat to know: The Panthers’ Bryce Young has had seven starts this season with zero passing touchdowns (including the Week 12 loss at Tampa Bay), one shy of tying for the third-most such starts by a rookie quarterback since 1950 (he’s tied for second most by a No. 1 overall pick).

Matchup X factor: Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield. I was one of the many Mayfield skeptics before the season, but here we are in Week 18 with him sitting at No. 16 in QBR. All he needs to do is play at that same level again and Tampa Bay should roll over Carolina. — Walder

What’s at stake: The Buccaneers are in a must-win spot. A victory makes them the NFC South champ once again. A loss sends them home. And the Panthers’ draft slot is locked in at No. 1 after their 14th loss of the season last week, but unfortunately for Carolina, that pick belongs to Chicago after a trade in the lead-up to the 2023 draft. Read more.

Injuries: Buccaneers | Panthers

What to know for fantasy: Evans should be heavily involved against the Panthers. He has averaged 8.0 targets per game this season. Evans has averaged 17.3 fantasy points per game against the Panthers in his career. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: Unders are 8-2 in the Panthers’ past 10 games. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Panthers 10
Walder’s pick: Buccaneers 23, Panthers 13
FPI prediction: TB, 71.9% (by an average of 7.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bucs know game against Panthers is for ‘all the marbles’ … Which Panthers coaches are most likely to return for 2024? … Mayfield (ribs) will be OK for Week 18, coach says

1 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: NE -2 (30.5)

Storyline to watch: Could this be Bill Belichick’s final game as Patriots coach? A snow game is a possibility, and with Jets QB Zach Wilson not having cleared concussion protocol, it will be a QB battle of Trevor Siemian vs. Bailey Zappe. Siemian is 78-of-133 for 654 yards with 2 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions on the season, while Zappe is 115-of-182 for 1,184 yards with 6 TDs and 7 INTs. — Mike Reiss

Bold prediction: There will be no offensive touchdowns in the game. We’re talking about two of the worst offenses in the NFL. The Jets have scored a league-low 17 touchdowns, and the Patriots have only 25. Throw in some sloppy weather, and you have to believe the game will be dominated by defense. — Rich Cimini

Stat to know: The Patriots have won 15 straight vs. the Jets, the longest active win streak in the NFL by one team against another and tied for New England’s longest win streak vs. a single opponent (won 15 straight against the Bills from 2003 to ’10).

Matchup X factor: Jets tackle Mekhi Becton. Over the past four weeks, the Jets left tackle ranks 64th out of 65 tackles in pass block win rate. The Jets need better play at that spot, no matter the quarterback. — Walder

What’s at stake: Both teams were eliminated long ago, and neither can land the top draft pick. The Patriots have a chance to secure a top-three pick, while the Jets have an outside chance at a top-five selection. Read more.

Injuries: Jets | Patriots

What to know for fantasy: Jets running back Breece Hall has had 20 or more touches and scored 27 or more fantasy points in two consecutive games, but he has a difficult matchup against the Patriots in Week 18. This season, New England has been able to contain every running game it has faced, allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game and the fewest rushing yards per attempt. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Jets are 0-6 ATS against teams currently with losing records this season. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Patriots 23, Jets 13
Walder’s pick: Jets 12, Patriots 9
FPI prediction: NE, 54.2% (by an average of 1.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Jets would love to send Belichick off with loss … Belichick focused on Jets, not job security … Wilson ruled out for finale, perhaps ending time with Jets

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: GB -3 (45.5)

Storyline to watch: Aaron Jones could do something that no Packers player has ever done: Rush for 120 or more yards in three straight games. After Green Bay had not had a 100-yard rusher all season, Jones went for 127 against Carolina and 120 against the Vikings in his first two games back from a knee injury. However, the Bears have the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense in terms of fewest yards allowed per game (84.0). — Rob Demovsky

Bold prediction: The Bears will play spoiler to Green Bay’s playoff hopes and beat the Packers for the first time since 2018. Chicago’s defense, which has held opponents to fewer than 20 points in five straight games, finishes off its second-half surge by forcing Jordan Love to throw two interceptions, the quarterback’s first game with multiple picks since Week 10. — Courtney Cronin

Stat to know: Bears wide receiver DJ Moore has 1,300 receiving yards this season, the fifth most in franchise history. He is two receiving yards shy of passing Jeff Graham in 1995 for fourth and 101 receiving yards shy of passing Marcus Robinson in 1999 for third.

Matchup X factor: Packers right tackle Zach Tom. He’ll be responsible for stopping Bears defensive end Montez Sweat, but his numbers suggest he’s up for the challenge. Tom ranks 18th out of 69 tackles in pass block win rate this season. — Walder

What’s at stake: The Packers will make the playoffs with a win. But even if the Bears beat the Packers, Green Bay can still slide into the postseason with losses from Minnesota and Seattle, and either New Orleans or Tampa Bay. Read more.



Why the Bears should move on from Justin Fields

Damien Woody and Bart Scott lay out the reasons why the Chicago Bears need to move on from Justin Fields and target a new QB in the NFL draft.

Injuries: Bears | Packers

What to know for fantasy: Jones has had 17 or more touches and 11 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. The Bears’ defense has given up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. In his past five games against the Bears, Jones has averaged 22.2 fantasy points. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Bears have covered five straight conference games. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Packers 30, Bears 27
Walder’s pick: Packers 27, Bears 20
FPI prediction: GB, 57.3% (by an average of 2.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Fields, the Bears and a quarterback conundrum … Why Love has millions on the line vs. Bears … Alexander ‘surprised’ by coin-toss suspension

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: PHI -5 (42.5)

Storyline to watch: The Eagles, who set a franchise record last season with 70 sacks, have just 11 in their past seven games. They had just one two weeks ago against the Giants, who have allowed an NFL-high 83 sacks, 20 more than any other team. So something has to give. — Jordan Raanan

Bold prediction: Giants receiver Darius Slayton will go for 100-plus yards for a second straight week. The Eagles are coming off one of the worst defensive performances of the 2023 season, yielding 35 points and 221 rushing yards to the 4-12 Cardinals. With Philadelphia keying on running back Saquon Barkley, Slayton has a chance to best the three-catch, 90-yard performance against the Eagles in Week 16. — Tim McManus

Stat to know: With a loss, the Giants would have 12 losses for the fourth time in the past seven seasons. That would tie the Texans for the most since 2017.

Matchup X factor: Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick. He has an opportunity for a big game going against Matt Peart, who likely will step in at right tackle with both Evan Neal and Tyre Phillips injured for the Giants. Reddick hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 13, but the Eagles could use a pass-rush spark. — Walder

What’s at stake: The Eagles have a playoff spot, but they need a win and a Cowboys loss to take the NFC East title. The Giants, meanwhile, have an 85% chance at a top-five draft pick. Read more.



Woody: Eagles are looking like a ‘one-and-done’ playoff team

Damien Woody and Bart Scott explain why the Eagles have lost their way after reaching the Super Bowl last season.

Injuries: Eagles | Giants

What to know for fantasy: The Eagles’ defense gives up the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Slayton has had six or more targets in two of his past three games. Also, he has scored 18 or more fantasy points in two of them. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is also in a good spot against an Eagles defense that has given up the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. He finished with 18.7 fantasy points last week against the Rams. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Eagles are 1-6 ATS after an outright loss over the past two seasons, with six of the seven games going under the total. The Giants have covered three straight following outright losses. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Eagles 28, Giants 17
Walder’s pick: Eagles 27, Giants 13
FPI prediction: PHI, 83.9% (by an average of 13.1 points)

Matchup must-reads: Brown insists he is not beefing with Sirianni … Several Giants could be playing their final game in New York … Barkley wants new deal with Giants, but ‘it’s out of my control’

4:25 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: DAL -13 (46.5)

Storyline to watch: Washington quarterback Sam Howell built momentum for this season with a strong season finale showing in a win vs. Dallas in 2022. But doing it for a second consecutive year will be difficult. He has thrown 10 interceptions and three touchdown passes in the past six games. Washington’s pass protection has been good lately: Howell has been sacked only three times in the past three games. However, Dallas sacked him four times in their previous meeting; Micah Parsons had 1.5 sacks in that game and has 13 for the season. He has five sacks in five career games vs. Washington. — John Keim

Bold prediction: Cowboys running back Tony Pollard will reach the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He needs 65 yards, a number he has not topped in the past four games. He has just one 100-yard game on the season (Week 3 at Arizona), and the run game has been stuck for a good portion of the season. But in its past four games Washington has allowed 166.8 yards per game on the ground. — Todd Archer

Stat to know: Terry McLaurin needs 54 receiving yards to become the first player in Washington franchise history with four straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons. McLaurin has averaged 52.9 receiving yards per game in his previous eight matchups against Dallas.

Matchup X factor: Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland. He has been high-risk and high-reward with both eight picks and a higher-than-average 1.6 yards per coverage snap allowed. But Dallas doesn’t need risks in this game. The Cowboys should beat the Commanders handily … as long as they don’t surrender big plays. — Walder

What’s at stake: The Cowboys are in the playoffs and in the driver’s seat for the NFC East. Win, and it’s a division title for Dallas. But even if the Cowboys lose, they can still win the division if the Eagles also lose. The Commanders, meanwhile, have a good chance to pick No. 2 overall in the draft, and they are locked into a top-five pick. Read more.

Injuries: Cowboys | Commanders

What to know for fantasy: The Commanders’ defense gives up the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. CeeDee Lamb, Dak Prescott and Brandin Cooks belong in all lineups. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Commanders are 1-6 ATS at home this season. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Cowboys 35, Commanders 13
Walder’s pick: Cowboys 30, Commanders 20
FPI prediction: DAL, 84.6% (by an average of 13.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Questions linger for ‘battle-tested’ Cowboys ahead of playoffs … Howell to start in finale vs. Cowboys

4:25 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: SEA -2.5 (47.5)

Storyline to watch: Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has been playing his best football of the season as of late, including a nearly perfect second half last week in Philadelphia. He will take his best performance of the season into this weekend when he faces a Seahawks team that has lost five of its past seven. Seattle has allowed just one 300-yard passer since Week 10, so while Murray might not be able to hit the mark this week, he can still affect the game in other ways. — Josh Weinfuss

Bold prediction: Arizona will run the ball 40-plus times. The Cardinals upset the Eagles last week by rushing 40 times for 221 yards. They’ll stick with that formula against a Seahawks defense that has allowed the third-most rushing yards of any team this season, including 202 in a loss last week to Pittsburgh. — Brady Henderson

Stat to know: Pete Carroll is seeking his 13th career playoff berth as a head coach, which would tie Marty Schottenheimer for sixth most of all time.

Matchup X factor: Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett. We’ve written about him in this spot before, but his 2023 has been pedestrian — just 1.6 yards per route run — and that has hurt Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks could use some Lockett of old in Week 18 and in the playoffs, if they get there. — Walder

What’s at stake: The Seahawks would make the playoffs if they win and get a Packers loss (27% likely). And the Cardinals have a 69% chance at a top-five draft pick. Read more.

Injuries: Seahawks | Cardinals

What to know for fantasy: Cardinals running back James Conner faces a Seahawks defense that gives up the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs, so he should have a strong finish to the regular season. Conner has had 17 or more touches and scored 18.0 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: Five straight Cardinals home games have gone over the total. Overs are 6-1 in Cardinals home games this season. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Cardinals 34, Seahawks 31
Walder’s pick: Cardinals 24, Seahawks 20
FPI prediction: SEA, 63.2% (by an average of 4.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: Wagner ‘100%’ sure he’ll return for 2024 season … How Murray’s bond with his QB coach helped his road to comeback … Gannon asserts Murray will be Cardinals’ quarterback in 2024

4:25 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: SF -4 (40.5)

Storyline to watch: Both teams have wrapped up playoff spots, with the Niners cemented as the NFC’s top seed and the Rams able to do no better than No. 6. In other words, neither team has much to play for here, which means neither starting quarterback will play and it’s unlikely the main starters for both teams will play all four quarters. San Francisco has won 12 straight games against NFC West opponents, tied for the franchise’s longest streak since the 1970 merger. But the Niners will gladly trade that streak for better health come playoff time. The Rams are in a similar state of mind, even without a streak to extend. — Nick Wagoner

Bold prediction: The Rams will win, ending the 49ers’ nine-game regular-season winning streak against Los Angeles. Yes, both teams will be without several starters, but the Rams still have the No. 6 seed to play for. This game will also mark the first Rams start for Carson Wentz, whom Los Angeles picked up on Nov. 7, so he’ll be inspired against a 49ers defense that could rest several players. — Sarah Barshop

Stat to know: The 49ers have been favored in 25 straight regular-season games, the second-longest active streak in the NFL (Chiefs are at 27 straight).

Matchup X factor: Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He switches sides throughout a game, but against the right side of San Francisco’s line — which is much weaker than its left side — Donald should be able to dominate in however many snaps he plays. — Walder

What’s at stake: Both teams are in, and neither has much to play for. The Niners will be the top seed in the NFC, while the Rams will be either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed. Read more.



Scott: Rams, not Cowboys, are most dangerous NFC playoff team

Bart Scott and Damien Woody think Matthew Stafford and the Rams are more dangerous than Dak Prescott and the Cowboys.

Injuries: Rams | 49ers

What to know for fantasy: Expect Rams receiver Demarcus Robinson to have a greater role against the 49ers than he usually does. Cooper Kupp won’t play in Week 18, and rookie Puka Nacua will likely follow suit after he breaks the NFL rookie records for receptions (he’s four away) and receiving yards (he’s 10 off). With the Rams’ top two targets resting for large parts of Sunday’s game, Robinson should profit. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: Since 2020, the 49ers are 6-1 ATS against the Rams. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Rams 34, 49ers 31
Walder’s pick: Rams 26, 49ers 22
FPI prediction: SF, 68.6% (by an average of 6.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Rookies Turner, Young could be the future of Rams’ defense … 49ers weigh risks of resting starters in finale … Purdy sets 49ers’ passing yards record in bounce-back game

4:25 p.m. ET | CBS | Spread: LAC -3.5 (35.5)

Storyline to watch: The Chargers have lost seven of their past nine games to Kansas City, including their Week 7 game this season, when Patrick Mahomes completed 20 of 23 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. But the Chiefs are resting Mahomes and other starters Sunday, so Chargers interim coach Giff Smith will have a better shot at securing his first win and the Chargers’ first over the Chiefs since 2021. — Kris Rhim

Bold prediction: Harrison Butker and Cameron Dicker will kick eight field goals between them. They combined for nine field goals last week in their respective games, Butker with six for the Chiefs and Dicker with three for the Chargers. Both teams will start backups at quarterback, Blaine Gabbert for the Chiefs and Easton Stick for the Chargers, so red zone production could be a problem no matter which side has the ball. — Adam Teicher

Stat to know: The Chiefs are 3-2 vs. AFC West opponents this season. They have not finished .500 or worse in divisional games in a season since 2014 (3-3, .500), which was Andy Reid’s second season as coach.

Matchup X factor: Chargers wide receiver Quentin Johnston. There’s nothing at stake here for either team (well, besides the Chargers’ draft position) but at least L.A. can get another look at Johnston, who has had a disappointing rookie season. — Walder

What’s at stake: The Chiefs will be the No. 3 seed in the playoffs as the AFC West champion, no matter what. So perhaps more eyes will be on the Chargers, who still have a 28% chance to land a top-five draft pick. Read more.

Injuries: Chiefs | Chargers

What to know for fantasy: The Chiefs recently signed running back La’Mical Perine to their roster. With Kansas City expected to rest some of its starters, which could include running backs Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Perine could have a sneaky-good matchup against a Chargers defense that gives up the 11th-most fantasy points per game to running backs. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Chargers are 0-5 ATS in division games this season. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 24
Walder’s pick: Chiefs 23, Chargers 16
FPI prediction: KC, 50.9% (by an average of 0.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Chiefs to rest Mahomes, start Gabbert vs. Chargers … Moore among top coordinators in NFLPA survey

4:25 p.m. ET | Fox | Spread: LV -3 (37.5)

Storyline to watch: For two years straight now, Jarrett Stidham has unseated a franchise quarterback with two games to go in the regular season. Last season, it was the Raiders and Derek Carr. This year, it’s the Broncos and Russell Wilson, who stayed with Denver and, as a captain, swallowed his pride and went to midfield for last week’s opening coin toss. “We’re excited to see Stidham,” said Raiders interim coach Antonio Pierce. “We want to see him up close and personal. [Especially edge rusher] Maxx Crosby.” — Paul Gutierrez

Bold prediction: In his last chance to make the first impression in the Broncos’ 2024 quarterback debate, Stidham will throw two touchdown passes. Since Pierce was named interim coach, the Raiders’ pass defense has been stingy, as only Tua Tagovailoa, Patrick Mahomes and Easton Stick have reached the two-touchdown pass mark in eight games. If Stidham can turn some of the dump-offs last week into more work intermediate and deep, he’ll crack Las Vegas’ defense for two touchdown throws. — Jeff Legwold

Stat to know: Pierce is 4-4 since being named interim coach in Week 9. The Raiders have allowed a league-low 16.3 points per game under Pierce (3-5 and ranked 22nd in PPG allowed through Week 8).

Matchup X factor: Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II. Both teams are out of the playoff race, but we’ll at least get to see Surtain take on Raiders All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. — Walder

What’s at stake: Neither team is in the playoff picture, and Las Vegas has a 38% chance to grab a top-10 draft pick. Read more.

Injuries: Broncos | Raiders

What to know for fantasy: In three games since taking over for the injured Josh Jacobs, Raiders running back Zamir White has had 20 or more touches and scored 14 or more fantasy points in each game. The Broncos’ defense has given up the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs, so White’s late surge should continue. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Raiders are 4-1 ATS in division games this season. All five Broncos division games have gone under the total. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Raiders 27, Broncos 20
Walder’s pick: Broncos 19, Raiders 16
FPI prediction: LV, 54.1% (by an average of 1.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Stidham getting early chance to audition as 2024 starter … Pros and cons of Pierce being Raiders next head coach

8:20 p.m. ET | NBC | Spread: BUF -3 (48.5)

Storyline to watch: The Dolphins don’t expect cornerback Xavien Howard to play Sunday against the Bills, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wouldn’t reveal whether he would have Pro Bowl CB Jalen Ramsey shadow Bills WR Stefon Diggs — who torched Miami for 120 yards and three touchdowns in Week 4 — or have him match up with multiple receivers. Considering Eli Apple’s struggles against Baltimore in Week 17 (three catches, 104 yards and a touchdown allowed in coverage), where Ramsey lines up will be something to watch. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Bold prediction: Diggs will have his first 100-yard receiving game since Week 6 and catch multiple touchdown passes for the second time this season. The production between Diggs and quarterback Josh Allen just hasn’t been consistent for a significant portion of the season, but with the Dolphins’ secondary in a state of flux due to injuries, Diggs will have one of his biggest outings of the year at a time when the Bills really need it. — Alaina Getzenberg

Stat to know: Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa enters Week 18 leading the NFL in completion rate (69.6%) and passing yards (4,451). Tagovailoa is looking to become the eighth QB since the 1970 merger to lead the NFL in both completion rate and passing yards — and the first since Drew Brees in 2011.

Matchup X factor: Allen. By his own admission he played poorly in Week 17. Buffalo needs him at his best against the Dolphins. If they get it, the Bills will have a great shot at the AFC East crown. — Walder

What’s at stake: Winner takes the AFC East and the conference’s No. 2 seed. But while Miami is in no matter what, Buffalo could miss the playoffs if it loses. To make the playoffs in that scenario, it would need either a Jaguars loss, a Steelers loss or a Texans-Colts tie. Read more.



McAfee and crew react to Pro Bowl snubs

Pat McAfee and crew react to some notable exclusions from the NFL’s Pro Bowl rosters.

Injuries: Bills | Dolphins

What to know for fantasy: In the past three games, the Bills’ defense has given up the second-fewest passing yards per game, so Tagovailoa could struggle. He hasn’t scored 20 fantasy points in a game since a Week 8 win over the Patriots. See Week 18 rankings. — Moody

Betting nugget: The Dolphins are 1-4 ATS this season against teams currently with winning records. Read more.

Moody’s pick: Bills 31, Dolphins 27
Walder’s pick: Dolphins 27, Bills 21
FPI prediction: BUF, 54.3% (by an average of 1.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: What will decide Bills’ fate in huge matchup with Dolphins? … Dolphins need to regroup for AFC East showdown vs. Bills … Child with lighter started fire at Hill’s home

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