There are only two more teams with a bye week (assuming no COVID postponements) on the schedule for the remainder of the season, so almost every team has just six games remaining to make their final pushes for the playoffs. While only the Jets have been officially mathematically eliminated from postseason play, there are only a handful of teams that still have a real shot in each conference. I'm going to give you my predictions on who I think will make the postseason from the AFC and NFC based on their current standings and remaining schedules. Some teams have easier paths than others and tie breakers will likely be in place, so my following projections encompass both of those factors in order to provide the most accurate playoff picture you'll find anywhere.
x - clinched division
y - clinched wild card
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0) - x
Some teams came out of week 10 riding high on thrilling or dominant victories, while others felt crushing defeats, in one way or another. I'm going to recap some of those and provide outlooks on those teams' hopes going forward as we progress further into the last half of the regular season.
The Answered Prayer
The most exciting play and finish of the weekend, by far, was Kyler Murray's 43-yard game-winning pass to DeAndre Hopkins with two seconds remaining to knock off the Bills. Buffalo
It's been three weeks since my last top-to-bottom rankings, which means it's time for a new one. While some teams have stayed consistent from the first six weeks to now, some have surged and others have taken turns for the worse. There has been a lot of movement from some of the teams since my last rankings due to signs of significant improvements or deteriorations. As before, I'll be ranking each team based on their overall performances, not based on their potential or how I think they will play going forward. Among other things, my rankings take into account opponent strengths, head-to-head matchups, flukes, and competitiveness throughout games for each team rather than a basis centered solely around win-loss records.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0) - UP 2
Week 9 Result: W, 24-19 at Cowboys
Next Up: vs. Bengals
We're now roughly halfway through the NFL season, depending on when your team's bye is. At this point, teams are starting to establish their identity, whether that be for good or for bad. It's a lot easier to get an idea for each team after eight games, so there's a good chance my initial opinions of each team have changes from then to now.
Prior to the start of the season, I predicted the final standings for each division, highlighting the teams that would make it into the playoffs when the season is all said and done. I still stand by some of my original predictions, but there are certainly teams that have surprised me, both positively and negatively, through the first quarter of the NFL season. After every four weeks I will update my previous division standings and playoff outlook to reflect what I think will occur for the remainder of the season and how the final standings will shake out. Keep reading if you want to know where your team will finish in the playoff picture this year.
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.