FanPost

No, Your Team Isn't Better Than Their Record

This is the second week that I'm including playoff seeding predictions. There was only one change to my predictions that felt warranted after this week, that being that I no longer think the Vikings will make the playoffs, and have nominated the Packers for their slot.

1. Eagles (-) The Eagles remain atop the power rankings, lead the NFC East and currently hold the number one seed in the NFC. I don't see that changing, even with 6 weeks to go. Prediction: NFC East Champs and #1 seed.

2. Ravens (+1) The Ravens have continued their slow climb up the power rankings, and now sit at number two overall. It's not at all unlikely that the number one and two slots at this point could be a prediction of the Superbowl matchup come February. It's also true that my prediction for the Ravens final playoff seeding is of only moderate confidence, as they seem to randomly decide they're a hockey team and only have to play three periods, leading to some head scratching blown leads. Prediction: AFC North Champs, #1 seed in the AFC.

3. Chiefs (+1) The Chiefs were able to gain one spot in the power rankings this week, due to the Lions' inexplicable loss to the suddenly resurgent Packers. Prediction: AFC West Champs and #2 seed in the AFC.

4. Jaguars (+2) The Jaguars took care of business against the Texans, which is what you would expect from a good team. They currently sit in the #3 slot in the AFC, but I think that their schedule the rest of the way is harder than the Dolphins, who are currently #4. Prediction: AFC South Champs, #4 seed.

5. 49ers (+1) The Niners took the Seahawks out behind the woodshed this week to continue their climb toward the top of the power rankings. They currently lead the NFC West Division by two games over the Seahawks and have the head-to-head tiebreaker. They have also moved into the #2 see in the NFC. At this point I still think they'll fall to the number four seed, but we shall see. Prediction: NFC West champs, #3 NFC Playoff seed.

6. Lions (-4) The Lions loss dropped them four slots to number six in the power rankings, revealing that their schedule is perhaps not the toughest in the NFC. They are still NFC North Division leaders but have dropped to the #3 seed in the NFC playoff picture. They still hold a 2 ½ game lead on the second place Vikings, who managed to lose to the lowly Bears this week. I predicted last week that the 49ers could overtake them for the #2 seed, but am holding out hope that they can take it back. Prediction: NFC North Champs, #2 seed.

7. Dolphins (+1) The Dolphins beat up on the Jets this week, as bullies tend to do. They'll continue this formula of beating bad teams the rest of the way, and will move up from their current #4 seed because of it. The problem for them (and the Cowboys) comes when the playoffs start, because there will be precious few bad teams left to push around. Prediction: AFC East Champs, #3 seed.

8. Cowboys (+1) The Cowboys also continued to play up their persona of being the NFC's bully, taking the Washington Commanders' lunch money to the tune of 45-10, and moved up one spot in the power rankings. I wish I could say that this Thursday's game against the Seahawks was a referendum on whether they can ever beat a good team, but alas I cannot. Prediction: NFC Wild Card team.

9. Browns (-4) The Browns lost to the Broncos this week, who suddenly seem to have found a winning formula. Their defense continues to be good, despite last week's evidence to the contrary. However, generating enough offense to keep the defense from getting gassed and gashed late, let alone to win games may be a problem. I still think they'll be a postseason team, but will limp in. Prediction: AFC Wild Card team.

10. Steelers (-) The Steelers beat the Joe Burrow-less Bengals this week and if the playoffs started today would be in. But unless there are several more timely QB injuries for their opponents, they won't be able to hold that slot. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

11. Broncos (+5) Climbing another five slots in the power rankings after beating the Browns, the Broncos are now 6-5 and within striking distance of a playoff berth. With a favorable schedule the rest of the way, it's beginning to look like Sean Payton is going to bring this franchise back to relevance. Prediction: AFC Wild Card team.

12. Texans (-1) A tough loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars shows -€” perhaps -€” the difference between having a great rookie and a great slightly more seasoned quarterback. If the playoffs were to start today, they would be on the outside looking in, but a fairly permissive schedule the rest of the way will help them regain a postseason berth. Prediction: AFC Wild Card team but will be a first round exit.

13. Colts (+4) A win against the Buccaneers has the Colts riding a 3-game win streak to 6-5, and would have them in the playoffs if they started today. However, their schedule the rest of the way appears set to keep them right about one game above .500. The question is, can 9-8 get them into the playoffs? Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

14. Seahawks (-2) The Seahawks have now lost two straight games, and it's well within the realm of the possible that they could lose three more before the carnage is done. If there is reason for hope, it's that Pete Carroll flatly called out his OC for weak and unimaginative game plans, and failing to take advantage of the strengths of his best offensive weapons. (Or at least came as close to that as Pete Carroll ever will.) This week will determine whether recognition can lead to a fix. Dallas is the most beatable of the next three teams they face, so let's hope so, fellow Seahawks fans. Prediction: Wild Card Team if they win. If they lose, Pete Carroll will decide to step away from the sidelines to concentrate on his duties as Vice President of Football Operations, and they will go looking for a new head coach.

15. Bills (-1) The Bills lost a heartbreaker to the Eagles in overtime last week, further darkening their chances of making the playoffs. They have the talent to win enough games to get in, but do they have the heart? Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

16. Vikings (-3) The Vikings lost to the hapless Bears in a MNF contest it didn't appear anyone wanted to win. They are still sitting in the final NFC wild card slot if the playoffs started today but they have two very winnable games and three tough divisional games (including two against the Lions) left. Can they win enough to hold onto that slot? Prediction: In my first change, I now think the Vikings will likely miss the playoffs.

17. Bengals (-2) The Bengals appear to be in free fall with Joe Burrow gone for the season. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

18. Rams (+3) The Rams beat up on the Cardinals last week and have moved up into the realms of "there's still hope". But let me break it to you Rams fans, your season is done, done, done. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

19. Packers (+5) The Packers have now won two in a row, after beating the first place Lions. Anything is possible in division rivalry games, and it now looks like the Packers have a chance at the postseason, despite their horrible start. Prediction: (Change from last week.) Packers secure the final playoff berth in the NFC, as the Vikings crash out of contention.

20. Falcons (+5) After back-to-back losses by both the Buccaneers and Saints and riding a one game winning streak, the Falcons have recaptured the lead in the horrendous NFC South. As I said before, I have zero faith in the Falcons to string together enough wins to secure a playoff berth. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

21. Saints (-3) The Saints second consecutive loss has them currently out of the NFC South lead. As I said last week however, look for the week 17 matchup between the Saints and Buccaneers to decide the division, with the winner going to the playoffs and the loser going home. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

22. Raiders (-3) Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

23. Chargers (-) Cellar dwellers in the AFC West, the Chargers will have to buck the odds to get more than one more win all season. Prediction: Miss the playoffs.

24. Buccaneers (-4) Please see the writeup on the Saints abovePrediction: NFC South Champs, first round exit.

Count Them Out

Okay, so I'm going to make one category this week. These are the teams that are already out of the hunt for all intents and purposes. My prediction for all of these teams is that they miss the playoffs. This category will grow as we get closer to the end of the season, but it's the black hole where no team escapes.

25. Jets (-3) As above, the season is too far gone, and there are enough good teams left on the schedule for the Jets to have any hope of making the playoffs this year. But hey, there's always next year, and if Aaron Rodgers comes back, this team will be an immediate favorite in the AFC.

26. Titans (+1) Stick a fork in them. This team, and those below it are now vying for draft seeding.

27. Commanders (-1) Already an ugly season, it's conceivable that the Commanders (almost wrote Redskins) have reached their 2023 win total. Going to leave this entry the same unless and until they get another win.

28. Giants (-) The bottom five teams didn't change position or move at all. Giants look to get a top 5 pick in next year's draft.

29. Bears (-) The Bears might get one more win this season.

30. Patriots (-) Despite the rumors, maybe Bill sticks around to pick in the top 3.

31. Cardinals (-) This is probably where the Cards finish the season in the power rankings.

32. Panthers (-) The good news is that the Panthers can use their #1 pick to get a QB. Maybe it should be illegal to let a team ruin more than one rookie QB in a decade.

Biggest Gainers:

1. 3 Tied (+5)

2. Colts (+4)

3. Rams (+3)

Biggest Losers:

1. 3 Tied (-4)

2. 4 Tied (-3)

3. Bengals (-2)