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If the 2016 NFL playoffs started today

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Today playoffs 2016 started

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Posted by Brad Gagnon on Nov 16, 2016 19:38

With seven weeks remaining in the 2016 NFL regular season, here’s a breakdown of the playoff picture…

AFC right now
1. Patriots (7-2)
2. Chiefs (7-2)
3. Texans (6-3)
4. Ravens (5-4)
5. Raiders (7-2)
6. Broncos (7-3)
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7. Dolphins (5-4)
8. Titans (5-5)
9. Steelers (4-5)
10. Colts (4-5)
11. Bills (4-5)

It certainly doesn’t feel as though the Texans and Ravens are playoff teams, or that the streaking Dolphins are right on the brink. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are flying under the radar as a team in line for a bye. Don’t be fooled by the Dolphins being in the No. 7 spot — Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Indy are actually bigger playoff threats because they’re in weaker divisions. The Dolphins and Bills are pretty much screwed because they’re in the AFC East and two AFC West teams are likely to grab the wild-card spots.

AFC projection
1. Patriots (14-2)
2. Chiefs (11-5)
3. Steelers (10-6)
4. Titans (9-7)
5. Raiders (11-5)
6. Broncos (10-6)
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7. Texans (8-8)
8. Ravens (8-8)
9. Dolphins (8-8)
10. Bills (8-8)
11. Colts (7-9)

The Pats have a really easy schedule coming home and the Chiefs have won 17 of 19, so I can’t ignore either of them. The Steelers feel like a team about to go on a run, and the Titans are hotter and better than the Texans and Colts. The Raiders and Broncos easily grab the two wild-card spots. Houston, Baltimore, Miami and Indy never really threaten.

NFC right now
1. Cowboys (8-1)
2. Seahawks (6-2-1)
3. Falcons (6-4)
4. Lions (5-4)
5. Giants (6-3)
6. Redskins (5-4-1)
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7. Eagles (5-4)
8. Vikings (5-4)
9. Cardinals (4-4-1)
10. Buccaneers (4-5)
11. Saints (4-5)
12. Packers (4-5)
13. Rams (4-5)

No surprises here. Dallas, Seattle and Atlanta have been the cream of the crop, the NFC East is deep and owns both wild-card spots, and the Lions have benefited from the NFC North being a mess. The Vikings are free-falling but I’d definitely watch out for Philadelphia and Arizona in their respective races. It doesn’t feel as though anyone else is a major threat, unless Green Bay makes a sudden run.

NFC projection
1. Seahawks (12-3-1)
2. Cowboys (12-4)
3. Falcons (10-6)
4. Lions (9-7)
5. Giants (10-6)
6. Cardinals (9-6-1)
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7. Redskins (9-6-1)
8. Eagles (8-8)
9. Vikings (8-8)
10. Packers (7-9)
11. Saints (7-9)
12. Buccaneers (6-10)
13. Rams (5-11)

Seattle looks primed to make a run and I can see the Cowboys slipping up a little, which could be enough for those teams to flip-flop at the top. Atlanta should easily win the ugly NFC South and I can’t see Green Bay or Minnesota charging with tough schedules in the north. The Giants look really good, and I think that last wild-card spot comes down to a Week 13 meeting between the Redskins and Cardinals. In Arizona, I’ll give the Cards the edge. As for the Eagles, I just don’t trust a team led by Carson Wentz.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.

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