The Browns are not in this post.
Week 11 of the NFL has concluded, and it’s time to look ahead to the race for the playoffs. Some teams are enjoying terrific seasons with Super Bowl aspirations, but some have fallen out of the race. For the Browns and Giants, look away. For The Eagles and Vikings, here goes.
1. New England Patriots (13-3)
The Patriots will play the Steelers on December 17th with home field advantage at stake. New England’s defense will be good enough to allow the high-powered offense to go to work and claim the #1 seed.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)
Remember Week 5, when the Jags dismantled the Steelers 30-9? The head-to-head is crucial, as I project both Jacksonville and Pittsburgh to finish 12-4.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
The runaway AFC North champions may be #1 right now, but Pittsburgh can’t stay with New England, and the Jaguars’ easy schedule makes it difficult for the Steelers to earn a first round bye.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
Recall when KC was 5-0. Then the Chiefs lost four of five to arrive at 6-4. Their division-heavy last six will produce some slip-ups, but Kansas City will get to 10-6 and another division title.
5. Tennessee Titans (10-6)
Tennessee faces an easy schedule up until a brutal two games to end the season, against the Rams and Jaguars. The Titans’ current momentum will carry them to ten wins in a season devoid of AFC contenders.
6. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
Sitting at .500, the Ravens will face a division-heavy schedule down the stretch in the AFC North. Games against the Lions and Steelers will be tough, but Baltimore will win everything else.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
The Eagles sit at 9-1, the sole blemish against the Chiefs, when the Chiefs were on top of the league. The NFC is loaded this year, and now Philadelphia sits at the top.
2. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
The Vikings and Rams played a crucial game with first round bye implications, and Minnesota dominated. Case Keenum is an MVP candidate, and the Vikings have won six straight. The upcoming stretch against the Lions, Panthers, and Falcons will define Minnesota’s season.
3. New Orleans Saints (12-4)
The Saints’ rushing attack is suddenly incredible behind Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. The defense is a top ten unit with rookie Marshon Lattimore. New Orleans faces a critical test against the Rams that will decide the third seed.
4. Los Angeles Rams (10-6)
If the Rams beat the Saints on Sunday, each team’s projection changes to 11-5. Jared Goff is a decent NFL quarterback, and a Todd Gurley leads a good offense. Of course D-tackle Aaron Donald gets a mention as a DPOY candidate.
5. Carolina Panthers (11-5)
Cam Newton’s formidable offense and Luke Kuechly’s impregnable defense combine to form an incredible Panthers team. A division-heavy remaining schedule will be difficult in the NFC South, but Carolina will push New Orleans all year long.
6. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
That controversial win over the Lions pays dividends now, doesn’t it. I project both teams to finish 10-6, but Atlanta’s head-to-head win puts the Falcons in the playoffs.