NFL Standings After Week 9

Four teams have played 9 games with the other 28 having played half of their schedule; after this coming weekend every team will have played 56.25% of their schedule.  Starting this week I will add some more nuance to the rankings of teams 7-16 in each conference by listing teams as “alive”, “in trouble”, “by a thread”, and “planning for 2011”.  My logic behind the headings is fairly simple; usually going 10-6 will get a team in the playoffs, occassionally 9-7 will, almost never will 8-8 (especially as a wildcard).  Accordingly, teams that have 6 losses are in trouble (they need to run the table), teams that have 7 losses are by a thread, and once you hit 8 losses you’re out.  On current trends the AFC is +4 against the NFC and is also looking rather top-heavy so I could picture a 10-6 team missing, while I could conversely see 9-7 working in the NFC; if that trend does develop I will modify my categories accordingly late in the season.  Right now, 7th place in both conferences is a 5-3 team, which projects to 10-6.  At any rate, here are the standings:

AFC

1. Baltimore Ravens (6-2, head-to-head on Jets)

2. New York Jets

3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3, conference record on Titans)

4. Tennessee Titans

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

6. New England Patriots

Alive in the AFC

7. Indianapolis Colts (5-3, tied for division lead)

8. Oakland Raiders (5-4, closer to division lead than wildcard)

9. Houston Texans (4-4, closer to division lead)

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (closer to division lead)

11. Miami Dolphins

12. San Diego Chargers (4-5, closer to division lead)

13. Cleveland Browns (3-5)

In Trouble in AFC

14. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6)

15. Denver Broncos

Planning for 2011 in AFC

16. Buffalo Bills (0-8)

NFC

1. New York Giants (6-2, conference record on Falcons)

2. Atlanta Falcons

3. Green Bay Packers (6-3)

4. St. Louis Rams (4-4)

5. New Orleans Saints (6-3)

6. Philadelphia Eagles OR Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3, 3-2 in conference.  Next tiebreaker is record in common games would calculate if will matter late in season.)

Alive in NFC

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Philadelphia Eagles (5-3)

8. Chicago Bears

9. Washington Redskins (4-4)

10. Seattle Seahawks (tied for division lead)

11. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)

12. Arizona Cardinals (closer to division lead)

In Trouble in NFC

13. Detroit Lions (2-6)

14. San Francisco 49ers (closer to division lead; 2 games back with 8 games to go still “alive” for division title)

By a Thread in NFC

15. Carolina Panthers (1-7)

16. Dallas Cowboys

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