Here’s what the NFL playoff picture looks like through Week 11
There are only six weeks left in the NFL season, but the playoff picture still looks like a barely-developed Polaroid. You can make out some clear spots (Cowboys, Patriots, Seahawks), but the rest of it is still quite blurry.
While we wait for a clearer view over the next month and a half, here's what the postseason seedings would look like if the season ended today.
AFC #1 seed: Oakland Raiders (8-2)
A win over the Texans in Mexico City gives Oakland slight control of the AFC for now, but the Raiders will likely need to win road games against the Chiefs (December 8) and Broncos (January 1) to solidify the AFC West and a first-round bye.
AFC #2 seed: New England Patriots (8-2)
The AFC East leaders can probably rest easy in their division, although they'll need to keep their foot on the gas for homefield advantage with an upcoming final six games that includes national TV games versus Baltimore and Denver.
AFC #3 seed: Houston Texans (6-4)
Monday night's loss to the Raiders now means that the Week 14 matchup with the Colts looms even larger.
AFC #4 seed: Baltimore Ravens (5-5)
The Ravens currently hold the tiebreaker for this spot based on their Week 9 win over the Steelers. A lot can change by the time those teams meet again in Week 16.
AFC #5 seed: Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)
Losing to Jameis Winston and the Bucs at home on Sunday didn't do anything to help the Chiefs in their quest to break away from the logjam at the top of the AFC West.
AFC #6 seed: Denver Broncos (7-3)
Only one game currently separates the reigning Super Bowl champs from a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and a road game on Wild Card weekend. Beating Tom Brady and the Patriots at Mile High in Week 15 could help make up the difference.
AFC #7 seed: Miami Dolphins (6-4)
They've won five in a row and count the 49ers, Cardinals, Jets and Bills as four of their final six opponents. There's still plenty of time for the Dolphins to climb into the playoff mix.
AFC #8 seed: Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5)
The Steelers' winning percentage in AFC games currently gives them an edge over the next two 5-5 teams in the AFC (Indianapolis and Buffalo). But their easiest path to the playoffs will be winning the AFC North over fellow .500 foe Baltimore.
NFC #1 seed: Dallas Cowboys (9-1)
The Dak attack keeps rolling towards NFC homefield advantage and a Thanksgiving matchup with the Redskins.
NFC #2 seed: Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1)
They've got a three-game lead in the NFC West and not one team left on their schedule has a winning record.
NFC #3 seed: Detroit Lions (6-4)
The Lions' grip on the NFC North lead may be temporary if they lose to the Vikings on Thanksgiving Day.
NFC #4 seed: Atlanta Falcons (6-4)
While the Falcons sat idle in Week 11, the Bucs made the NFC South race a little more interesting with an upset win in Kansas City.
NFC #5 seed: New York Giants (7-3)
A five-game winning streak has boosted the G-Men into the middle of the playoff picture. They're in control of the first NFC wild card spot at the moment. Whether the NFC East crown is a possiblity will likely be partially determined by a primetime matchup with the Cowboys in Week 14.
NFC #6 seed: Washington Redskins (6-3-1)
That Week 9 tie versus the Bengals is enough of an edge to get them into the final NFC playoff spot at the moment. Will it remain that way at the end of the year?
NFC #7 seed: Minnesota Vikings (6-4)
A win on Thursday in Detroit puts the Vikings right back in line to host a first-round playoff game in January.
NFC #8 seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
The good news? Tampa Bay is only one game out of first place in the NFC South. The bad? A Week 12 matchup with Seattle and a Week 15 showdown in Dallas pepper a final six-game slate that's a lot tougher than the one the Falcons will face.