We’re nine weeks in and it’s time to nail some colours to some proverbial masts. The postseason is where everyone wants to be, but quite frankly, most teams are rubbish – yours included, probably.
Here are the 12 teams that will be relevant in January.
NFC North – Minnesota Vikings
The injury to Aaron Rodgers may well have sealed this one – but it would have been close either way.
Aside from New England, the Vikes might be the best-coached team in football. They’re 6-2 without either of their first two quarterbacks.
NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles
NFC East winners and Super Bowl champions.
They’re incredible: Carson Wentz is on his way to a Hall of Fame career, they’ve added a top ten running back and have enough run-stopping ability in that front seven to ensure the clock belongs to them.
NFC South – Atlanta Falcons
Drew Brees is getting every last bit of class out of his aching body. But he doesn’t have the help: that defence is being carried by a rookie corner.
In Carolina, Cam Newton’s going to say something stupid again and affect team morale. That leaves the Falcons to take advantage with a late-season run.
NFC West – Seattle Seahawks
The Rams winning this division is a terrifying prospect. It’s almost too good to be true.
Wait, no – it is too good to be true.
Seattle win this comfortably and those tipping Sean McVay for Coach of the Year will probably avoiding giving him the gong for an 8-8 season.
AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s a myth that the Steelers are a good football team this year. It’s an even bigger myth that they’re not the best team in the AFC North by about six wins.
Big Ben probably retires this year. Can he go out with a bang? Absolutely not.
But will he win another division title? Yes.
AFC East – New England Patriots
Buffalo are only a game back. That’s cute.
AFC South – Tennessee Titans
This would have been Houston. This would have been Deshaun Watson. Losing your signal-caller and your best player overall in the same season leaves a divisional race wide open.
The Titans have been so inconsistent, but the Jags’ pass rush will surely slow down.
AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs
Mid-season slump aside, they’re still the best team here. Although they’ve probably got a pair of genuine contenders in behind them.
That’s more than can be said for most divisions. However, that early season sequence will be enough to see them across the line.
AFC Wildcards – Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders
These are two football teams with unbelievable talent.
The Jags already have five wins, and would expect to win nine games.
Oakland have their linebacking issues, but could still be that dark horse to win a Super Bowl. You’ll get a good price on it, too.
NFC Wildcards – New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers
Not so long ago, the NFC South was a laughing stock. Now, it’s going to have three teams in the playoffs.
The Panthers may have finally figured out their rushing attack, while the Saints can continue to ride that bend but don’t break mentality to just about pick up the percentages needed.