We’re now seven weeks into the 2016 NFL season. But every team is still chasing a playoff spot, technically (sorry, Browns, we’re still rooting for you, but let’s just face facts here). But just because it’s October, doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about the playoffs.
The Vikings lost their first game of the season. The strangest quirk about Minnesota’s loss is that it make the Cowboys, who were idle on a bye this week, the top seed in the NFC, by virtue of their winning percentage.
Obviously that could still change, and it probably will. But it make the race for the top spot in the NFC that much tighter.
Atlanta’s loss to the Chargers puts them in the fourth seed for now, because they still lead their division. Seattle is in the third seed, with the outcome of Sunday night’s game still to be determined. Green Bay and Philadelphia have the two wild card spots.
Over in the AFC, the Patriots are still on top with a 6-1 record. Oakland’s win moves them to the second seed. There are currently three teams from the AFC West in the playoff standings.
Oh, and then we got a tie to end the day on Sunday, which is going to make the playoff standings fun.
All times Eastern.
Packers 26, Bears 10
The Packers hang on to their hopes in the division race, hopes that rest, in part, on the Vikings slipping at some point. They also stay ahead of the Eagles in the wild card race with one more win against NFC opponents.
Meanwhile, the Bears became the first NFC team to reach six losses, so well, at least that draft position isn’t slipping away.
Giants 17, Rams 10
The Giants’ win helps them in wild card tiebreakers. It’s also the chance to pull ahead of the Eagles, who have a tough game against the Vikings this week, for second place in the division.
As for the Rams, it’s looking like more 7-9 bullshit. Teams that start with a 3-4 record have less than a 20 percent chance of making the playoffs.
Bengals 31, Browns 17
The Bengals really needed this win, giving them a chance to gain ground in the division while the Steelers are without Ben Roethlisberger.
Jets 24, Ravens 16
This game did more to stir up the AFC North race than it did give the Jets any hope of a playoff shot. Now, the Ravens and Bengals both have a 3-4 record, with the Ravens still having a slight edge over the Bengals in the division ... for now.
Lions 20, Washington 17
Detroit stays on the wild card bubble. For Washington, the NFC East is still pretty tightly packed, so the division race is going to get wild in the weeks ahead.
Chiefs 27, Saints 21
The Chiefs move into second place in the AFC West, getting the tiebreaker over the Broncos because of their 2-0 record in the division.
The Saints might not be the second-best team in the NFC South after all.
Eagles 21, Vikings 10
The Eagles are still behind the Packers for the final wild card spot, for now. The Vikings’ loss puts the Cowboys in the NFC’s top spot, because at 5-1 along with Minnesota, they have a better conference record.
Dolphins 28, Bills 25
It’s still a big game next week when the Bills host the Patriots, but first place in the division is not longer on the line. They’re still second in the division, and Miami isn’t out of it yet.
Colts 34, Titans 26
With a Jaguars loss, the Colts take over second place in the AFC South. What a screwed up division.
Raiders 33, Jaguars 16
First place in the AFC West still belongs to them. The Jaguars drop to last place in the AFC South.
Buccaneers 34, 49ers 17
The Bucs are the second-best in the NFC South!
Chargers 33, Falcons 30
San Diego is looking like a legit wild card contender now.
Atlanta is in first place in its division, so they’re not any worse than a fourth seed at this point.
Patriots 27, Steelers 16
New England stays on top of the AFC. The Steelers are still leading the AFC North.
Seahawks 6, Cardinals 6
A tie game! Oh, boy, that makes this kind of confusing, and it’s going to be a thing that complicates the standings the rest of season.
The Seahawks stay on top of the NFC West with a 4-1-1 record. Arizona is in second place. Because Seattle is leading the division they get one of the top four seeds, third in this case with a better record than the Falcons.
Broncos 27, Texans 9
Houston remains atop the AFC South, so that’s at least something.
Denver still has a wild card spot for now, because Oakland currently has the tiebreaker based on a better divisional record in the AFC West.
AFC playoff standings
- Patriots (6-1, AFC East)
- Raiders (5-2, AFC West)
- Steelers (4-3, AFC North)
- Texans (4-3, AFC South)
- Broncos (5-2, Wild card)
- Chiefs (4-2, Wild card)
NFC playoff standings
- Cowboys (5-1, NFC East)
- Vikings (5-1, NFC North)
- Seahawks (4-1-1, NFC West)
- Falcons (4-3, NFC South)
- Packers (4-2, Wild card)
- Eagles (4-2, Wild card)