How Do Teams That Clinch in Final Week Fare in NFL Playoffs?

How Do Teams That Clinch in Final Week Fare in NFL Playoffs?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Buffalo Bills (10-6) will visit the rival Miami Dolphins (11-5) in the final NFL regular season game Sunday (NBC, 8:20 p.m.) in a winner-take-all matchup to see who wins the AFC East Division crown. It has been an up-and-down ride for New York sportsbooks with the Bills this season.

Utilizing, looked at how teams performed after clinching a playoff spot in the 18th and final week of the season since 2013. There have been 29 teams that have clinched a playoff spot on the last week in the last 10 seasons. (Note: Before 2021, the data refers to Week 17.)

Here are the make-or-break statistics you will find only at, your source for NY sportsbook promos.

Performance of Teams Clinching in Last Week

SituationNumber of Teams Percentage
Winning Wild Card Round15 of 2951.7%
Winning Divisional Round2 of 296.9%
Winning Conference Championship0 of 290.0%
Winning Super Bowl0 of 290.0%


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Most Late Clinchers Don’t Fold

A solid 15 of 29 teams (51.7%) won a Wild Card Round game. It then drops considerably as only 2 of 29 (6.9%) win a Divisional Round game. Buffalo has appeared in this position once but lost at the Jacksonville Jaguars, 10-3, on New Year's Eve Day 2017. The Bills committed two turnovers and had just 263 yards of total offense in the loss.

No team ever has won a conference championship or the biggest prize of them all, a Super Bowl title. Last season, the Dolphins appeared in this position and lost to the Bills, 34-31, on the road back on Jan. 15 to finish the year at 9-8.

The Bills are three-point and -165 moneyline favorites over host Miami (+140) with at BetMGM New York. The game's over/under total is set at 50 points.  



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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