With Week 9 of the 2017 NFL season a game away from being complete, we’re into the second half of the schedule — in which every game for the league’s division and wild-card hopefuls will mean much more in November and December. The push for the playoffs will get only harder with the pressure increasing and the temperatures dropping.
Here’s how all the contenders stand after Sunday’s results, before the Packers host the Lions on Monday night.
MORE WEEK 9:
Results, highlights | NFL standings
NFL Playoff Picture
No. 1 seed — Steelers (6-2): First place, AFC North. Pittsburgh had a bye and didn’t change position. It holds the top spot by virtue of a better conference record (4-1) than New England.
No. 2 seed — Patriots (6-2): First place, AFC East. New England also had a bye and was happy to see Kansas City lose to Dallas. It gets a direct shot at Pittsburgh in Week 15.
No. 3 seed — Chiefs (6-3): First place, AFC West. Kansas City fell a half game behind a bye position with its loss at Dallas and made the division a little tighter, having already lost once to Oakland.
No. 4 seed — Titans (5-3): First place, AFC South. Tennessee held serve at home against Baltimore, maintaining its head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over also-victorious Jacksonville.
No. 5 seed — Jaguars (5-3): Second place, AFC South. Jacksonville beat up Cincinnati without Leonard Fournette to keep pace with Tennessee, and it also jumped Buffalo with its fifth conference win.
No. 6 seed — Bills (5-3): Second place, AFC East. Buffalo got upset by the Jets, but the Bills still hold a full game lead over division-rival Miami, which lost Sunday night.
Who’s right behind: Dolphins (4-4), Raiders (4-5), Jets (4-5), Ravens (4-5), Texans (3-5), Broncos (3-5), Bengals (3-5), Chargers (3-5). Oakland still looks like the most dangerous of these teams, given it just beat Miami. The rest of the teams have slim chances with some big issues plaguing each.
Who’s just about out: Browns (0-8), Colts (3-6). Cleveland having a bye didn’t change its status. Indianapolis upset Houston but still is at too many losses behind the crowd above.
No. 1 seed — Eagles (8-1): First place, NFC East. Philadelphia keeps rolling with a high-powered offense and a nasty defensive front. It goes into its bye as a virtual lock for a playoff berth, but with two games left against Dallas, it is far from clinching the division.
No. 2 seed — Saints (6-2): First place, NFC South. New Orleans had no problem with Tampa Bay, and thanks to the Rams’ win and the Seahawks’ loss, the Saints got into the three-way tie it needed with Minnesota. The Saints have five conference victories to hold the current tiebreaker for the second bye position.
No. 3 seed — Vikings (6-2): First place, NFC North. Minnesota slid a spot during its bye, despite beating New Orleans way back in Week 1. It gets a direct shot at the Rams in Week 11, too.
No. 4 seed — Rams (6-2): First place, NFC West. After Los Angeles ripped the Giants, it was treated to the bonus of Seattle being shocked at home by Washington. The Rams need to play Minnesota and New Orleans back-to-back in couple weeks before looking forward to its Seahawks rematch in Week 15.
No. 5 seed — Panthers (6-3): Second place, NFC South. Carolina beat Atlanta to stay right behind New Orleans, to which it lost earlier this season. But there’s not much breathing room for the Panthers with several teams bunched up behind them as contenders.
No. 6 seed — Cowboys (5-3): Second place, NFC East. While Dallas was dispatching Kansas City, it got the bonus of rival Washington providing some help in Seattle. The Cowboys for now hold the last spot with one more conference win than the Seahawks.
Who’s right behind: Seahawks (5-3), Packers (4-3), Falcons (4-4), Redskins (4-4), Cardinals (4-4), Lions (3-4), Bears (3-5). Green Bay can jump back into wild-card position by beating Detroit because it beat both Dallas and Seattle earlier this season with Aaron Rodgers. Of the .500 clubs, Atlanta still has the best chance, with a direct shot at Dallas in Week 10.
Who’s just about out: 49ers (0-9), Giants (1-7), Buccaneers (2-6). Nothing changed here except for the fact that all three teams lost again Sunday. What else is new?