Week 10 was not kind to a handful of playoff contenders. In the AFC, the Colts were blown out at home by the Rams, the Bengals fell in overtime to the Ravens and the Titans inexplicably lost to the Jaguars at home. The 49ers lost a tough one to the red-hot Carolina Panthers while the Packers fell to the Eagles as Aaron Rodgers sat on the sidelines with a broken collarbone.
Here's a look at the updated playoff picture.
No. 1 Seattle Seahawks 9-1 (NFC West leader)
No. 2 New Orleans Saints 7-2 (NFC South leader)
No. 3 Detroit Lions 6-3 (NFC North leader)
No. 4 Dallas Cowboys 5-5 (NFC East leader)
No. 5 Carolina Panthers 6-3 (wild card)
No. 6 San Francisco 49ers 6-3 (wild card)
Contenders: Green Bay 5-4, Chicago 5-4, Arizona 5-4, Philadelphia 5-5
It was business as usual for the Seahawks this week as they hit the road and beat up on the Falcons in Atlanta. With a 9-1 record, they're 1.5 games up on New Orleans for the No. 1 seed. Given how well the Seahawks play at CenturyLink Field, getting home-field advantage would be huge for Pete Carroll's bunch in January.
The Saints made quick work of the Cowboys on Sunday night to keep their half-game lead over the Panthers in the South. Like Seattle, Drew Brees and Co. just seems to play so much better at home. The race for home field advantage in the NFC will be really interesting to watch as the season winds down; if the Seahawks or Saints clinch their respective division early, do they start resting their players in the final weeks or keep the pedal to the metal?
The Lions picked up a crucial road win over the Bears on Sunday to take a one-game lead over Chicago and Green Bay. Until the Packers get Aaron Rodgers back, it's really going to be tough for them to keep pace in the North. The Cowboys' loss dropped them back to .500, but since they won in Philadelphia earlier in the season, they hold the advantage over the Eagles. The Cowboys and Eagles won't play again until Week 17.
The two wild card teams are Carolina and San Francisco. The chase for both spots remains wide open, though, with two teams within one game and two others just 1.5 games back. As has been the case in recent years, the wild cards in the NFC likely won't be determined until the final week of the season.
AFC Playoff picture
No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs 9-0 (AFC West leader)
No. 2 New England Patriots 7-2 (AFC East leader)
No. 3 Indianapolis Colts 6-3 (AFC South leader)
No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals 6-4 (AFC North leader)
No. 5 Denver Broncos 8-1 (wild card)
No. 6 New York Jets 5-4 (wild card)
Contenders: Miami 4-4, Tennessee 4-5, San Diego 4-5, Cleveland 4-5, Baltimore 4-5
The current AFC playoff picture is a bit clearer than the NFC's. The Chiefs were idle on Sunday to remain the only undefeated team in the league. With a one-game lead over the Broncos, next Sunday's primetime showdown in Denver will be huge towards locking up the No. 1 seed and winning the West.
The Patriots were also off during Week 10, and at 7-2 they hold a two-game advantage over the Jets. With New England and New York already playing their two games this season -- they split them, with each team defending its home field -- it's going to be tough for Rex Ryan's boys to catch Tom Brady. The Colts looked awful against St. Louis, but with the Titans and Texans both losing, Indy remains two games up in the South. Indianapolis can take a big step towards clinching the division on Thursday night as they travel to Tennessee.
The Bengals had a chance to just about lock up the North when they went to Baltimore this weekend. Unfortunately for Andy Dalton and Co., a last-minute drive to force overtime was for naught as Justin Tucker drilled a long field goal to give the Ravens their fourth win of the season. Cincinnati still leads Baltimore and Cleveland by 1.5 games.
As for the wild card, it looks to be a foregone conclusion that either the Chiefs or Broncos will lock up the No. 5 seed barring a complete collapse. The final spot is up for grabs, though, with Miami a half-game back and four others just one back of the Jets. Other than the race to land the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage, this looks to be the biggest storyline in the AFC.