Current NFL Standings After Week 10

In the coming weeks I hope to use this space to resume what I did last season, and offer the current standings in both the AFC and NFC 1-16 and any analysis that seems pertinent.  Please note that my methodology to break ties that go beyond conference record is to use record in common games even when what has been played thus far is less than the minimum of 4 games for both teams; I am using record against opponents that will be common by the end of the season assuming that at least 4 such games will be played (in a two team tie where the two teams are in different divisions and will NOT play each other the schedule rubric means that 5 such games will be played). As such, my rankings will at this point in the season sometimes differ from what is posted on NFL.com. It is also important to note that multi-team ties that involve multiple divisions AND two or more of the teams are from the same division, division ranking takes precedent.  That is, a team that is ranked for example 3rd in its division cannot be ranked higher than the team that is ranked 2nd in that division.  I will start in the AFC

Playoff Teams

1. Houston (8-1)

2. Baltimore (7-2)

3. New England (6-3) [head-to-head tiebreaker on Denver]

4. Denver

5. Indianapolis (6-3) [conference record tiebreaker on Pittsburgh]

6. Pittsburgh

In the Hunt

7. San Diego (4-5) [conference record on Miami and Cincinnati]

8. Miami [head-to-head on Cincinnati]

9. Cincinnati

10. Tennessee (4-6)

11. Oakland (3-6) [record against opponents that will be common by season's end with New York {head-to-head for divisional rank with Buffalo}]

12. New York [head-to-head on Buffalo]

13. Buffalo

Mathematically Alive

14. Cleveland (2-7)

15. Jacksonville (1-8) [conference record tiebreaker with Kansas City]

16. Kansas City

There are six teams in the conference with 6 or more wins, they are the current playoff teams, and they have at least a two game lead on the rest of the conference.  New England, Houston, and Denver also have two game leads in their division; Denver can grow that lead if they finish a sweep of San Diego this Sunday, while Baltimore will look to strengthen its lead on the North Sunday night against a Steeler team that may be missing its quarterback.  The Steelers, conversely, can take the division lead with a win.  The AFC as a whole is -9 against the NFC in cross-conference play, which means a team or two making the playoffs at 9-7 is a distinct possibility, a fact that certainly gives hope to the gaggle of teams currently with 3 or 4 wins.  That currently describes 7 teams; one would think that a couple of them might be able to put together a strong 2nd half and contend for a playoff spot.

NFC

1. Atlanta (8-1)

2. Chicago (7-2)

3. San Francisco (6-2-1)

4. New York (6-4)

5. Green Bay (6-3)

6. Seattle (6-4) [head to head tiebreaker on Minnesota]

In the Hunt

7. Minnesota

8. Tampa Bay (5-4)

9. New Orleans (4-5) [conference record drops Detroit & Arizona from tie, then strength of victory tiebreaker compared to Dallas]

10. Dallas [conference record on Detroit & Arizona

11. Detroit [conference record on Arizona]

12. Arizona

13. St. Louis (3-5-1)

14. Philadelphia (3-6) [division record tiebreaker on Washington]

15. Washington

Mathematically Alive

16. Carolina (2-7)

Given that the NFC is +9 against the AFC, it makes sense that there would be a couple teams above .500 that would currently miss the playoffs; Minnesota and Tampa would currently suffer that fate.  The tie San Francisco took last weekend makes this coming Monday’s game with the Bears very important; a loss means it’ll be a tough road to get a bye seed, and it would leave them a scant 1/2 game ahead of Seattle for the division.  If there had never been a referee lockout early in the season, the Packers would be leading the North and the Seahawks would be out of the playoffs but in the hunt, an impact I will try to keep an eye on as the season unfolds.  Atlanta is seemingly comfortable in the South despite last week’s loss to New Orleans, but everything else in the NFC is still a jumble.  Given again their +9 cross-conference record its very likely that 10-6 at minimum will be needed to make the playoffs, and even that might not be a guarantee, at least outside winning the East division.  I have the Eagles and Redskins listed as in the hunt (they play each other this Sunday) given that winning out gets them to 10-6, but I would consider either of them winning out to the playoffs unlikely at this juncture.

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