Eight weeks of the NFL are now complete, and we have a strong idea of which teams are legitimate playoff threats. 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.
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.
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.
Denver's defense is worthy of a No. 1 seed, but the offense looks like a non-playoff contender's. A win over the Packers helps me feel more comfortable with Denver.
The Colts are 3-5, and while I have plenty of 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.
Ben Roethlisberger didn't look himself in his first week back and the loss of Le'Veon Bell hurts. Still, DeAngelo Williams played great and should hold his own. I still have faith in the Steelers and expect they'll be in the playoffs this season.
This might be a short appearance for the Raiders, but a playoff spot is totally a possibility. That win over the Jets could be a huge tiebreaker. We'll see how they play against the Steelers this week. A loss likely drops them out, but a win will give them the No. 5 seed next week.
Despite their injury issues, the Packers look like the best team in the NFC. I expect the Packers will beat the Panthers this week. If not, the two teams will swap spots.
The 7-0 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.
The Cardinals picked up where they left off last season before Carson Palmer was injured. The Cardinals have struggled at times, but their massive point differential is something I can't overlook.
This No. 4 seed is wide-open. The NFC East is going down to the wire again, and I've got the Giants as slight favorites. The Giants get the nod for now, but don't be surprised if this changes a few times down the stretch.
Despite two poor losses, 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.
This is the pick I'm least confident in. The Vikings are 5-2, but I'm not totally sold on them quite yet. The Seahawks, Rams, Saints and a few other teams are still in contention as well. For now, the Vikings get the No. 6 seed.
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