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First Look at The NFL Playoff Picture

It’s that time of year football fans! It’s starting to get cold, Thanksgiving is a little over a week away, and playoff football is upon us. Yes, now it is the middle of November, it’s time to start paying attention to the NFL playoff picture. This is where we see who the contenders really are, and who the pretenders are. Let’s breakdown where we are at to start off with this year’s playoff hunt. With the new rules in place for the playoffs, teams are about to fight even harder now for that coveted number one overall seed.

Number One Seed in the AFC

For the last few years, the AFC has lacked competitive teams. Typically, the AFC belongs to the New England Patriots, but as we all know, it’s looking like the dynasty has come to an end. Last year, it was all about Kansas City. This season, the number one seed as of now belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a quick reminder, the Steelers this season are undefeated at 9-0 and look unstoppable. If Pittsburgh continues to play the way that they are, without a doubt they’ll be the number one overall seed in the AFC and have a week off. As for the rest of the field, here’s where we stand for now.

Seeds 2-4 in the AFC

The defending Super Bowl champs Chiefs sit at the two seed in the AFC. Mahomes is having another MVP season, and the rest of the offense is loaded. The defense does struggle at times, but Mahomes and company have no issue bailing out the defense if needed. The three seed are the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is leading the AFC East at 7-3, and it’s starting to look like this could be the year that Buffalo wins the division. The only team the Bills have to worry about is Miami, but Buffalo as already beaten Miami once this season. The Indianapolis Colts round out the division leaders at 6-3. It looks like the AFC South will be decided late into the season between Tennessee and Indianapolis as both teams share the same record, but Indianapolis has beaten Tennessee once already this season.

Wildcard Teams in the AFC

In the offseason, the NFL expanded the playoff seeds introducing a seventh seed in both the AFC and NFC. For now, the three wildcard teams for the AFC are the Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens. The Raiders have been quite the surprise this year in their first year in Vegas. Running back Josh Jacobs has put this team on his back, galloping his way to get the team to 6-3 on the season. As long as Jacobs continues to run all over defenses, expect Vegas to be in the postseason. The Miami Dolphins have found their quarterback of the future and his name is Tua. After the early season success from Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami benched him in favor of Tua and are yet to lose with him lining up under center. It’s not just Tua. The defense and special teams have been on fire as well. Lastly, the Baltimore Ravens seem to be on the decline after losing to New England. Lamar Jackson looks to have lost some pep in his step and this team is certainly worth watching to see what happens to them.

Number One Seed in the NFC

Things are looking different in the NFC compared to the AFC. As usual, it’s more crowded and more uncertain who will end up getting the number one seed. For now, it belongs to the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are sitting at 7-2 and Aaron Rodgers has been having a phenomenal year. Rodgers has built chemistry with Davante Adams and those two have been a problem for defenses. If Green Bay can stay healthy, and keep on winning, they will be enjoying the week off. It wouldn’t be surprising if Green Bay ends up getting the number one seed.

Seeds 2-4 in the NFC

The second seed in the NFC are the New Orleans Saints. Expect this to change. Quarterback Drew Brees suffered a punctured lung, and cracked ribs this past Sunday and is expected to miss time. Brees’ backup is Jameis Winston. New Orleans can say goodbye to the second seed. The third seed is held by the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals sit at 6-3, which is good, but there’s a problem. The LA Rams and Seattle Seahawks are also 6-3 so this lead by Arizona is certainly uncomfortable. Lastly, the fourth seed is held by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are 3-5-1. An awful record. However, the Eagles shouldn’t get comfortable. The New York Giants are coming and could takeover the division.

Wildcard Teams in the NFC

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks. In order, those are the three wildcard teams in the NFC at the moment. Brady and company look good, and have a golden opportunity to take over the NFC South with Drew Brees sidelined. Los Angeles and Seattle, are in a three way battle with each other and Arizona to win the NFC West. Whoever doesn’t win the West, will be the last two wildcard seeds. The NFC West, will be the division to keep most eyes on as the regular season dwindles down.

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-Matt Burnett (mattthew_jordan on Twitter) 

 

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