Week 10 is here, meaning there are only two months left in 2020 NFL regular season. Every win becomes more important in trying to lock down division titles or wild-card berths to get into the playoffs.

The postseason field expanding by one team each in the AFC and the NFC to a total of 14 has brought more teams into realistic contention over the final eight weeks. Based on the current standings, here’s an updated look at what each conference tournament would look like if the playoffs started now:

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NFL standings for Week 10

AFC playoff picture

(Getty Images)

Who would be in?

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0), first place, AFC North. The Steelers survived the Cowboys in an AFC-NFC matchup to stay undefeated. They will look to extend their lead for the lone bye and home-field advantage to a full game over the Chiefs by beating the Bengals. In the short term, a loss would put them behind the Chiefs, whom they don’t play, because the Chiefs would have a better conference record.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1), first place, AFC West. The Chiefs get a well-deserved bye before a tough closing schedule. They start by playing the Raiders, to whom they lost, on the road. The Chiefs also will travel to the Buccaneers, Saints and Dolphins. It will be probably come down to the wire for the No. 1 seed between them and the Steelers.

3. Buffalo Bills (7-2), first place, AFC East. The Bills got a big interconference win over the Seahawks and will look for another against the Cardinals. They lead the Dolphins by 1.5 games and the Patriots by 3.5 games. They did lose to the Chiefs and Titans, which will hurt their seeding as likely division champions. They also get a shot at the Steelers at home in Week 14.

4. Indianapolis Colts (6-3), first place, AFC South. The Colts took over this spot from the Titans by beating them on Thursday night and gaining a head-to-head tiebreaker. They needed to jump here coming off a loss to the Ravens, having already lost to the Browns and having the Raiders still left on the slate. Now they can concentrate on winning the division with four more South games still left. Those will offset brutal upcoming matchups with the Packers and Steelers.

5. Baltimore Ravens (6-2), second place, AFC North. The Ravens are two full games behind the Steelers plus the initial head-to-head tiebreaker. But they have key wins over the Browns and Colts in trying to secure the top wild card. They do play the Titans next week and still have rematches with the Steelers and Browns, but they do not play either the Raiders or Dolphins.

6. Tennessee Titans (6-3), second place, AFC South. The Titans have gone 1-3 after a strong 5-0 start to fall behind the Ravens, right before going to Baltimore to play them and then having a rematch at the Colts to follow up their Week 10 loss. Then the Browns come to Nashville in Week 13. The Titans have a tough fight ahead to keep at least a wild card.

7. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3), second place, AFC West. The Raiders hold this spot because they have the better conference record (3-2) over the Browns and Dolphins. They beat the Browns and also get key shots at home against the Colts (Week 14) and Dolphins (Week 16) in December.

Who can get there?

8. Miami Dolphins (5-3)
9. Cleveland Browns (5-3)

The Dolphins fell out of playoff position before their Week 10 game when the Colts beat the Titans to push themselves into the AFC South lead and Tennessee into a wild-card spot. The Dolphins play the Raiders later (see above) but do not play the Titans or Browns. The Browns lost to the Raiders but beat the Colts and they draw the Titans in Week 13.

Who’s likely out?

10. Denver Broncos (3-5)
11. New England Patriots (3-5)
12. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
13. Los Angeles Chargers (2-6)
14. Houston Texans (2-6)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)
16. New York Jets (0-9)

The grouping of four solid 5-3 teams doesn’t bode well for the Broncos or Patriots, who are both two games behind with very tough schedules ahead. The Bengals have three games against the bottom of the NFC East, but two Steelers dates and one with the Dolphins counter that. The Chargers can keep thinking about what might have been with all their close losses, while the Texans have likely dug themselves too deep of a hole.

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NFC playoff picture

(Getty Images)

Who would be in?

1. New Orleans Saints (6-2), first place, NFC South. The Saints’ sparkling 5-1 conference record gives them a tiebreaker over the Seahawks and Packers. If this was a two-way tie, however, then the Saints would be behind the Packers, to whom they suffered that lone NFC loss, but still ahead of the Seahawks.

2. Seattle Seahawks (6-2), first place, NFC West. The Seahawks are 4-1 in the conference while the Packers have two NFC losses, to the Buccaneers and Vikings. A loss to the Rams would put them in second in the division and maybe third, if the Cardinals, who beat them, also win.

3. Green Bay Packers (6-2), first place, NFC North. The Packers hold a 1.5-game lead over the Bears, who are fading and whom the Packers get to play twice. They should root for Seahawks and Buccaneers to fade so they can work to win home-field advantage over the Saints.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1), first place, NFC East. The Eagles will pull away and win the division in the second half after their Week 9 bye. They will not finish higher or lower than this seed and can be a dangerous playoff spoiler to the three teams above and the one right below.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) second place, NFC South. The Buccaneers blew a big opportunity to become the division and conference front-runners against the Saints. Now they need to finish a full game ahed of the Saints, to whom they lost twice, to take the South. They still are in strong shape to fall back on one of the three wild cards.

6. Arizona Cardinals (5-3), second place, NFC West. The Cardinals will be in first place after Week 10 if they beat the Bills and the Rams beat the Seahawks. They are 2-0 in division play, the best mark in the West if both the Rams and Seahawks should also finish the week 6-3. If they lose to the Bills, then they could fall out of playoff position, depending on what the Rams and Bears do.

7. Los Angeles Rams (5-3), third place, NFC West. The Rams can jump into first place with a win over the Seahawks and a Cardinals loss. They can also fall out of the final wild-card position with a loss and a Bears win.

Who can get there?

8. Chicago Bears (5-4)
9. San Francisco 49ers (4-5)
10. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)

The Bears playing the Vikings on Monday night turns out to be a bigger game than expected. With a win to get to 6-4, the Bears would be back in playoff position if either the Cardinals or Rams lose. The Vikings could make a big move back toward contention by beating the Bears, especally if both the Cardinals and Rams lose. The 49ers desperately need to win something despite their injuries, with a difficult slate ahead starting with the Sants.

Who’s likely out?

11. Detroit Lions (3-5)
12. Atlanta Falcons (3-6)
13. Carolina Panthers (3-6)
14. Washington Football Team (2-6)
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
16. New York Giants (2-7)

The Lions have the same record as the Vikings, but they just lost to them and are headed to a fade with a bad schedule from Weeks 13-17. The Falcons and Panthers have zero margin for error as extremely flawed teams. That awful NFC East trio should focus more on the draft behind the Eagles.

Sporting News Original Article

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