With barely over a month remaining in the 2017 NFL season, I want to take a look at the current playoff picture for both the AFC and NFC. A lot can change in the next few weeks; there are a ton of division games to be played and a lot of movement to come. Let’s start with the AFC.
Division Leaders: PITT (8-2), NE (8-2), JAX (7-3), KC (6-4)
Wild Card: TENN (6-4), BAL/BUF (5-5)
In the Hunt: Chargers, Dolphins, Jets, Raiders, Bengals, Texans (ALL 4-6)
The AFC playoff hunt is insanely weak, but kind of exciting at the same time. There are so many bad teams still alive; the 0-10 Browns aren’t even mathematically eliminated yet.
We know a couple of things… The Patriots and Steelers are likely locked in for their respective divisions, but who gets home-field advantage is going to be key considering Pitt’s struggles on the road. We know the Jags are going to make the playoffs; I think they win the division, but even if not, I think they’re good enough for a Wild Card spot. We know the Texans, Dolphins, Bills, Jets and Bengals are on the outside looking in; I think Baltimore, LAC and the Raiders are legitimate threats for the last spot, while the other teams will flare out.
Division Leaders: Eagles (9-1), Rams (7-3), Vikings (8-2), Saints (8-2)
Wild Card: Panthers (7-3), Falcons (6-4)
In The Hunt: Lions/Seahawks (both 6-4), Cowboys/Packers (both 5-5)
The NFC is stacked this season. There’s a legitimate chance that 10 wins isn’t good enough for a playoff spot. The Eagles and Vikings are sitting pretty – it would be a major upset if either one of them doesn’t win their division. The Rams are going to have to fight it out with Seattle, while the Saints have both the Panthers and Falcons lurking from behind. There’s a chance that three teams can make the playoffs from the NFC South.
I think the Cowboys and Packers, unfortunately for the league’s sake, are drawing dead. It’s going to be tough for the Packers to stay in this type of race without Rodgers, while the Cowboys have been decimated by injuries and have a tough schedule to close the year.
Either way you slice it, the NFC race is going to be interesting all the way until week 17.