Through Week 13 of the NFL season there are still playoff spots up for grabs. There are dominant teams in both the NFC and AFC, but there are also quite a few teams in the running for a postseason berth. Let’s see how the playoff picture breaks down for both conferences to this point.
In the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks have played the best from Week 1 all the way to this point in the season. Seattle was projected to be here until the end, and as of right now that has been the case. Seattle’s closest competition has been the New Orleans Saints, and this Monday those two teams square off on Monday Night Football with the winner likely to end up as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
The Seahawks aren’t the only team the Saints should be worried about. Fellow division member the Carolina Panthers are right on New Orleans’ tail for division lead. One game is separating the Saints and Panthers, but with two games still scheduled to occur between the two teams the division is far from settled at this point.
Seattle and New Orleans will finish as the top two seeds in the NFC, and although the Panthers have the third best record out of all NFC teams, Carolina will likely finish as a wild card team. However, the bottom half of the NFC postseason picture is a lot blurrier than the top.
Currently the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys hold the lead in their divisions, but there are teams right on their tails. Both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers still have a shot at winning the NFC North. In the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles are tied with the Cowboys but fall behind them due to the tiebreaker. With a Week 17 battle still pending between Philly and Dallas, the NFC East crown is far from decided.
The only way a team from the NFC North and East are going to make the playoffs is by winning their division. The final wild card spot is up for grabs between the NFC West’s San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. Both teams are currently 7-4, but the 49ers should be given a slight edge over Arizona in the run for the final wild card position.
In the AFC, things look a lot clearer for the playoff picture. Well, that’s until you make your way down to the final wildcard spot; that’s when it gets a little funky.
For the No. 1 spot in the AFC, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos currently hold the advantage. However, after losing to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots last week there are now three teams in the running with the Kansas City Chiefs still able to grab the top seed.
When it’s all said and done the top two seeds will be the Patriots and the winner of the AFC West. The second place finisher in the AFC West will end up with the top wild card spot, but where these three teams finish is yet to be determined.
The Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals each lead their respective divisions and are a safe bet to finish third and fourth in the AFC. Now, the final wild card spot currently has six teams tied with a 5-6 record and is by far the most wide open spot in the entire playoff picture.
The Tennessee Titans currently lead the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins for the final AFC spot. Which of these six teams get the final spot is still far too early to be determined. The Steelers and Ravens meet this week as well as the Jets and Dolphins. Those two games may go a long way in helping figure out who will end up as the final wild card team for the AFC.
With so many questions yet to be answered, the final six weeks should be very interesting when it comes to the playoff picture in both the NFC and AFC.
Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org