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Week 18 of the 2023 NFL season kicks off Saturday and wraps up Sunday night with a winner-take-all battle for the AFC East crown between the 10-6 Buffalo Bills and the 11-5 Miami Dolphins

Given the unpredictable nature of the NFL -- which last week saw the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers upset the Seahawks, the Ravens drop 56 points on the second-seeded Dolphins and the Eagles fumble away the NFC's No. 2 seed with a home loss to the Cardinals -- anything could happen in Week 18.

So, what's next, you ask? Well, here are five bold predictions for the Week 18 slate, which features two games on Saturday --  Steelers-Ravens and Texans-Colts -- and the rest on Sunday. 

Patriots win, then part ways with coach who led them to six Super Bowl titles

The New England Patriots are going to defeat the New York Jets on Sunday. That's not the bold part of this prediction. The Patriots have won 15 in a row against Gang Green, with their last defeat against their AFC East rivals back in 2015. 

However with the Patriots averaging an NFL-worst 14.6 points per game this season and sitting with a 4-12 record, the most losses of Bill Belichick's head-coaching career, they are going to "mutually part ways" -- essentially fire -- their six-time Super Bowl champion head coach. 

Both their amount of losses (12) and points per game (14.6) are their worst since the 1992 season, when they went 2-14. The following season, New England fired head coach Dick MacPherson and hired Bill Parcells.

Earlier this season, New England became the first team to lose three consecutive games with 10 or fewer points allowed since the 1938 Chicago Cardinals did so nearly 100 years ago. During the Tom Brady era, the Patriots were shut out twice in 20 seasons, including the postseason. 

Given that Belichick won an NFL-record six Super Bowls for New England, he has had some leeway in the post-Brady era, but outside of a 10-7 year in 2021, New England has had a losing record in three of the four years Brady has been gone. Between the lack of on-field success and the poor roster construction that has forced Belichick to go on multiple free agency spending sprees to paper over bad draft classes, his time has likely run out in New England. 

Only 15 wins away from breaking Hall of Famer Don Shula's all-time coaching wins record of 347, including postseason wins, Belichick likely won't retire. That will force the Patriots to "politely" show him the door, which itself is bold move since Belichick presided over a run in which New England won a Super Bowl an average of every four years across his 24 seasons in charge.

Bills become fourth team in NFL history to win a division after they were three games back with five or fewer left to play

The Buffalo Bills' 2023 season looked bleak entering their Week 13 bye with a 6-6 record. Now, they are a win on Sunday in Miami against the Dolphins away from becoming the fourth team in NFL history to win their division after trailing by three or more games with five games left to go. 

Following their bye week, Buffalo is a perfect 4-0, with two of those wins coming on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (20-17 road win in Week 14) and at home against the NFC's currently second-seeded Cowboys (31-10 home win in Week 15). On Sunday, the Bills complete the historic comeback to win the AFC East. Josh Allen has thrown for multiple passing touchdowns in all 12 career games against the Dolphins, including the postseason, the longest such streak against a single team in NFL history. 

Longest multi-pass TD streaks vs. one team in NFL history



BUF Josh Allen




MIA Dan Marion




DET Matthew Stafford



* Active streak

He also averages 328.9 total yards per game and 3.3 total touchdowns per game thanks to 39 total touchdowns in his 12 career games against the Dolphins. That makes Allen the only player in NFL history to average 300 total yards per game and three total touchdowns per game against a single team, minimum 10 games played, including playoffs.

The last time the Bills were in South Florida, they lost 21-19 in Week 3 of the 2022 season, running out of time to get a spike off to potentially set up a game-tying field goal. There will be no such required theatrics for Buffalo this time against a wounded Miami club that is now down both of their top two pass-rushers in Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb, after Chubb tore his ACL last week against the Ravens.

Steelers' Mason Rudolph stays hot vs. Ravens' top-ranked defense

The Ravens are the AFC's No. 1 seed. They're on a six-game winning streak, which is the longest active winning streak in the NFL. They can be the first team in NFL history to lead the league in scoring defense (16.4 points per game allowed), sacks (57) and takeaways (29) all in the same season. 

However, Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, who spent most of the 2023 season chained to the bench as Pittsburgh's third-string quarterback, continues his hot streak against the league's top defense and leads his squad to a victory that keeps the Steelers' slim playoff hopes alive. During Rudolph's last two starts, wins against the Bengals and at the Seahawks, he has thrown for two touchdowns and no interceptions in addition to 564 yards on 68.6% completion rate. 

That's come out to a 118.4 passer rating since Week 16, the second-highest in the NFL the last two weeks behind only NFL MVP favorite and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's 145.3 rating in that time. Steelers second-year wide George Pickens has thrived with Rudolph, averaging 163 receiving yards per game across his two starts. 

Steelers offense this season

First 14 GamesLast 2 Games with Rudolph




Total YPG



30-Point Games



Given the Ravens have already ruled out Jackson, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey and starting offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler entering the weekend, Pittsburgh takes advantage of Baltimore's JV squad with Rudolph under center once again. 

Derrick Henry, fading Titans upset Jaguars to prevent Jacksonville from winning AFC South

One of the more successful eras of Tennessee Titans football -- the Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry era -- will end after the backfield's final regular season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Both are slated to become free agents this offseason with the direction of the organization in flux. 

However, the duo will go out with a bang after they spoil the Jaguars' ability to clinch an AFC South title in Nashville. This prediction has more to do with the Jaguars struggling than the Titans playing well. Henry is on pace for his lowest yards per carry of his career (3.9) after never averaging under 4.2 in his previous seven seasons. 

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence hasn't been the same since fighting through a concussion and now has right shoulder and left finger injuries entering Sunday's game (coach Doug Pederson says he'll be listed as questionable). Across his last three games played from Weeks 14-16 -- he sat out the Jaguars' 26-0 win versus the Panthers last week -- Lawrence has averaged 244 passing yards per game with five passing touchdowns and five interceptions plus three fumbles lost for a grand total of eight giveaways in that span. His 71.5 passer rating during that time ranks as the fifth-lowest among 33 qualified quarterbacks across those three weeks. 

Between Lawrence's struggles and Henry, who has five career games of at least 130 rushing yards against the Jaguars including two 200-yard performances, turning back the clock for perhaps the last time as a Titan, Tennessee secures an upset victory to end the Tannehill-Henry administration on a high note. 

So, what happens to the Jaguars' playoff chances if they lose? With the Texans-Colts winner claiming the AFC South, Jacksonville can still get in the playoffs, but they'd need the Steelers to lose -- which we are not predicting -- and the Broncos would also have to lose to the Raiders (which would alter strength of schedules for tiebreakers) and Texans-Colts can't end in a tie.

Kyler Murray, Cardinals upset Seahawks to eliminate them from postseason contention

The path is still there for the Seahawks to make the postseason, although it is a narrow one. They need to defeat the Cardinals for the fifth time in a row and have the Packers lose at Lambeau Field against the Chicago Bears, a team Green Bay has defeated nine times in a row.

However, the Seahawks won't need to be worried with scoreboard watching when they walk off the field on Sunday since Arizona will upset them, thus ending their season. Seattle is 1-4 against the NFC West this season, with their only win being against the Cardinals in Week 7. Sure, Seattle has won each of the last five meetings with each of the last three victories being by double-digits.

However, Week 17 showed two things: the Seahawks are liable to crumble in must-wins games (they lost 30-23 at home vs. the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers despite needing a win stay in NFC's top seven) and the Cardinals can beat anyone anywhere -- they knocked off the defending NFC champion Eagles 35-31 in Philadelphia despite the Eagles needing to win to stay in the driver's seat to win the NFC East.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray completed a season-high 80.6% (25-31) of his passes for 232 passing yards to go along with three touchdowns and an interception. In the second half, Murray was almost perfect, throwing for 133 yards and three scores on 13 for 14 passing. That's the Murray who shows up for the entire game on Sunday, ruining the Seahawks' once promising 2023 campaign.