As we currently stand this is the current playoff standings, followed by how I believe they’ll look at seasons end.
Current AFC Picture
1st Round Byes: 1. Denver Broncos (4-0), 2. Cincinnati Bengals (4-0)
3. New England Patriots (3-0) vs. 6. Buffalo Bills (2-2)
4. Indianapolis Colts (2-2) vs. 5. New York Jets (3-1)
In the Hunt: Oakland Raiders (2-2), San Diego Chargers (2-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)
Predicted AFC Picture
1st Round Byes: 1. New England Patriots (14-2), 2. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
3. Denver Broncos (12-4) vs. 6. New York Jets (9-7)
4. Indianapolis Colts (9-7) vs. 5. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
The AFC looks very bad right now. The Patriots are far and away the best team as we currently stand. The Broncos and Bengals remained undefeated, but Peyton Manning cannot be trusted past the mid point of the season, and Andy Dalton is known for being inconsistent. Every team has their flaws.
One surprising team has been the New York Jets. Despite having Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback, the Jets find themselves at 3-1, and in such a weak conference could be looking at a playoff spot.
The Bills loss to the Giants sets them back in the race. They had an opportunity to show the conference that they were one of the top teams, but they let that opportunity get away from them. The Bills are still a top five team in the AFC in my opinion.
The Colts are lucky they’re in the AFC South, because they would not be a playoff team if they weren’t. The Titans may actually pose a threat to them, but the Jags and Texans are likely to be no threat. Neither the Colts or Titans are contenders, but one will make the playoffs.
The big surprise might be that only one team makes the playoffs out of the AFC West and North. The Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders, Steelers, Ravens, and Browns all look like they’ll miss the playoffs. The Chargers may be the only team of the group that even challenges for one.
Current NFC Picture
1st Round Byes: 1. Green Bay Packers (4-0), 2. Carolina Panthers (4-0)
3. Arizona Cardinals (3-1) vs. 6. St. Louis Rams (2-2)
4. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) vs. 5. Atlanta Falcons (4-0)
Predicted NFC Picture
1st Round Byes: 1. Green Bay Packers (13-3), 2. Atlanta Falcons (12-4)
3. Arizona Cardinals (12-4) vs. 6. Carolina Panthers (10-6)
4. New York Giants (9-7) vs. 5. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
The NFC is flat out better than the AFC is. Three of the four divisions have a contender, and the the West and South may have two. The Falcons, Panthers, Cardinals and Seahawks all look really good right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the four are playing in the NFC Championship game.
The NFC East is the most interesting of the NFC divisions. To this point there is no clear cut favorite. The Cowboys are missing their best two players, the Giants have been good, but can’t finish, the Redskins are the least talented of the teams, and the Eagles are a tire fire.
The teams that will best challenge for a playoff spot are the Vikings and Rams. Led by Teddy Bridgewater the Vikings are an up and coming team. With wins over the Chargers and Lions, they have stayed close in the playoff race. If they start to come into their own, watch out. The Rams are not the most talented team, but they’ve won some good games so far. If Nick Foles continues to give them what he has so far they could be an unexpected playoff birth.
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