Now that every team has played nine games and Thanksgiving is around the corner, it is time to start looking at playoff positioning. For the next seven weeks, I will have a playoff picture included in my Weekly Pick'em article. It will look at both the AFC and NFC and examine which teams are locks, in good position, on the bubble, life support and eliminated.
Keep a couple of things in mind when looking at where I have your favorite team in the pecking order. First, a team with a better or same record can be lower than another team depending on the division they play.
Second, I will not put a team in the lock position until they have clinched a playoff spot, but I will put teams in the eliminated category even if they still have a mathematical chance. I will try not to put a team in the eliminated column until it becomes clear they would need to win out and have 10 teams in front of them lose, but I do not acknowledge that Detroit or Dallas could make the playoffs, even if a mathematical formula says it is possible.
AFC Playoff Picture
Great Position: New England Patriots (7-2), New York Jets (7-2), Baltimore Ravens (6-3), Indianapolis Colts (6-3), and Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3).
On the Bubble: Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4), Miami Dolphins (5-4), Kansas City (5-4), Oakland Raiders (5-4), San Diego Chargers, and Tennessee Titans (5-4).
Life Support NFL: Houston Texans (4-5), Cleveland Browns (3-6), and Denver Broncos (3-6).
Eliminated NFL: Buffalo Bills (1-8) and Cincinnati Bengals (2-7).
NFC Playoff Picture
Great Position NFC: Atlanta Falcons (7-2), Chicago Bears (6-3), Green Bay Packers (6-3), New Orleans Saints (6-3), New York Giants (6-3), Philadelphia Eagles (6-3), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3).