With Week 10 of the NFL season upon us, it is a great time to give some good predictions as to who will be playing come January.
Starting with the AFC East, the obvious pick for this division is New England. Barring an off season in 2008, New England has won nine straight divisional titles, and fourteen of the last fifteen. With half of the season complete, New England is sitting comfortably atop the AFC East with a 7-2 record, only contested by Miami’s 5-4 record. If the rest of the season goes in Miami’s favor, it might be possible for them to edge in with the final wildcard spot.
Moving to the AFC North, Pittsburgh holds a slight edge over Cincinnati, with their 5-2-1 giving a better win percentage as opposed to Cincinnati’s 5-3. However, both teams have tough schedules remaining, with Pittsburgh facing games against New England, New Orleans, Carolina, and Cincinnati. Speaking of Cincinnati, they’re going to be one of three to four teams in the AFC who will be fighting for those two wildcard spots, which I ultimately think they won’t get. Regardless, Pittsburgh with their extremely productive running back and receiving corps will continue to hold on to the top spot in their division and take the second seed in the AFC.
The AFC West has shown us the powers of pseudo-rookie Patrick Mahomes and how well he’s done to carry Kansas City to an 8-1 record over nine weeks, with their only loss being by a field goal in primetime against New England. However, despite their absolute dominance thus far, what is deceiving about this division is the power of the Los Angeles Chargers, who trail Kansas City by only two games, with a 6-2 record. I think Kansas City will edge in at third, with the Chargers potentially taking the first wild card spot.
Down to the AFC South, a division which most thought Jacksonville would have run away with, is now being run by the 6-3 Houston Texans. The only team who is within striking distance of them is Tennessee, sitting at 4-4 over nine weeks. For both Jacksonville and Indianapolis, having a record of 3-5 each after nine weeks signifies what is most likely the end of the season. Houston will perform moderately for the rest of the season, and probably take the fourth spot in the AFC playoff picture.
Over to the NFC East, Philadelphia has underperformed their expectations by miles, sitting at 4-4 over nine weeks. However, compared to the rest of the division, there is still hope for them to perform, with the Giants being 1-7, and Dallas being 3-5. The only other true contender in the East is Washington, who, although not the strongest team, has a very easy schedule going forward from here on out. I think Washington will take the top of the division, and Philadelphia will lose out on the wild card spot.
Up to the NFC North, Chicago of all teams is leading the division at 5-3, and it’s not much of a surprise. After stealing Khalil Mack from Oakland, and performing highly with him and rookie Roquan Smith, Chicago has shown that they truly mean business this year. With both Minnesota and Green Bay to fight against, this division is going to be one of the most exciting races this year. In the NFC West, the Rams have shown us exceptional play, with kid genius Sean McVay at the helm of an offensive light show. This season is a surprising runaway for them.
Finally, the NFC South, which can be the most unpredictable division in the entire NFL. At this point, New Orleans holds the reigns to the division with an impressive 7-1 record. While it can be easy to say that this division is a runaway for New Orleans, they play Carolina twice in the last three weeks of regulation – with a game against Pittsburgh right in the middle. New Orleans and Carolina’s seasons will heavily depend on their last couple of regular season games.