Downey's Dozen: Predicting The NFL Playoffs After 7 Weeks

Seven weeks of the NFL are now complete, and we have a better idea of which teams are legitimate playoff threats. It's a bit too early to declare any team the Super Bowl favorite, but that doesn't mean we can't start projecting which teams will make the playoffs. This list accounts for team's schedules as well as their divisions, unlike standard Power Rankings. So, here are my projections for the NFL Playoffs after seven weeks.  


1. New England Patriots

The Patriots look like the best team in the NFL. The offense has been great and Tom Brady is torching every defense he faces. It's Super Bowl or bust again for the Patriots. 

2. Cincinnati Bengals 

The AFC North is tough, but the Bengals have looked great so far. Andy Dalton has been wonderful and the Bengals seem set for another playoff run. The Bengals might be the most complete team in the NFL. 

3. Denver Broncos 

Denver's defense is worthy of a No. 1 seed, but the offense looks like a non-playoff contender's. The Broncos should make the playoffs, likely as the AFC West champion. 

4. Indianapolis Colts 

The Colts are 3-4, and while I have my concerns, they still play in the AFC South. Someone has to win, and it should be the Colts. Getting to play the Jaguars, Titans and Texans twice each year is a huge boost for their record. 

5. New York Jets

The more I watch the Jets, the more I think they are legit contenders. They've got the ground game, defense and just need average QB play from Ryan Fitzpatrick. If they get that, they'll be a playoff team. A loss to New England isn't going to drop the Jets from the playoff picture. 

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

The six seed in the AFC is going to be hotly contested. The Bills and Raiders could make a push. Plus, the Miami Dolphins are suddenly playing well and 3-3. The Steelers are hoping to get Ben Roethlisberger back next week and the team needs him. 


1. Green Bay Packers

Despite their injury issues, the Packers look like the best team in the NFC. 

2. Carolina Panthers

The 6-0 Panthers are now the NFC South favorite. Both the Falcons and Panthers have favorable schedules, and they are both NFC contenders. Cam Newton is doing a ton for this team, as is the defense. Ending with 12 wins is a serious possibility for Carolina. 

3. Arizona Cardinals 

The Cardinals picked up where they left off last season before Carson Palmer was injured. The Cardinals have struggled against better teams like the Steelers and Rams, but their massive point differential is something I can't overlook. A two-game lead the in NFC West likely won't last all season, but it is impressive. 

4. New York Giants

This No. 4 seed continues to change. The NFC East is going down to the wire again, and I've got the Giants as slight favorites. A win over the Cowboys, coupled with an Eagles loss, is what gives the Giants the nod. 

5. Atlanta Falcons 

Despite the loss to the Saints and a poor effort against the Titans, the Falcons still look like a playoff team. With an easy schedule, the Falcons have a great shot at winning 10 games this season. Don't be surprised if the No. 5 seed has a better record than the No. 4 seed. 

6. Minnesota Vikings

This is the pick I'm least confident in. The Vikings are 4-2, but I'm not totally sold on them quite yet. The Seahawks, Rams, Saints and a few other teams with three losses are still in contention as well. For now, the Vikings get the No. 6 seed. 

Disagree with what I have and want to call me an idiot? Or agree with me and want to publicly sing my praises? Hit me up on Twitter.

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