It is now time for us to go down our annual path of hypothetical talk and speculation. Yes my friends it’s time to say those magical words when talking about NFL teams.
“If the playoffs started today” seems to be a phrase that fans and pundits alike use to solidify their arguments in regards to their teams. No, the NFL playoffs do not start today or any day in the near future but it’s coming.
Are the teams at the top really strong enough to stay there? Which team(s) aren’t we talking about that have a chance to make a push?
1. New England Patriots (8-0)
The Patriots have forced a league high 25 turnovers on the season. They have turned the ball over a mere eight times.
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-0)
The 49ers’ ravenous defense is allowing an average of 11.0 points per game. They lead the NFL with 224.4 total yards allowed per game.
3. New Orleans Saints (7-1)
Drew Brees returned to the lineup and picked up right where Teddy Bridgewater left off. The Saints’ defense has given up over 300 yards of total offense once on their six game win streak.
4. Green Bay Packers (7-1)
It’s just one Aaron after another in the last Packers’ win. First you get Aaron Rodgers and his arm magic and then Aaron Jones busts out for 226 yards from scrimmage.
5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)
The Vikings’ defense has allowed only one rushing touchdown on the season. They allow 16.5 points per game, which ranks them third in the NFL.
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
The Ravens are averaging 371.3 total yards per game during their three game winning streak. They have failed to reach 300 yards of offense in only one game this season.
7. Seattle Seahawks (6-2)
Seattle has won four out of their last five games and they only have three turnovers in that span.
They have scored 21 of their 25 offensive touchdowns in the red zone.
8. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
The Bills gave up more points to the Eagles than their previous two opponents combined. They don’t exactly have a murderers row of match-ups in the next three games versus Washington, Cleveland and Miami.
9. Houston Texans (5-3)
The Texans have rushed for 100 yards or more in seven out of their eight games this season. They average 133.6 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry.
10. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
Don’t look now but the Colts are in first place of the AFC south division. Their next three opponents have a combined record of 7-15.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
The Chiefs have lost three out of their last four games, allowing an average of 27.0 points per game in the losses. They have as many turnovers as they have forced in that four game stretch.
12. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)
The Rams balanced offense has scored 11 passing touchdowns and 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. They have given up a total of 20 points in two straight victories.
13. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
The Cowboys come off their bye week to face the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots in their next four games. Ouch.
14. Carolina Panthers (4-3)
The Panthers gave up 51 points and 232 rushing yards to the 49ers for their worst loss of the season. In fact, they had a three game stretch where they only allowed a total of 50 points earlier in the season.
15. Tennessee Titans (4-4)
Ryan Tannehill has averaged 252.2 passing yards during the Titans’ two game winning streak. He has five touchdown passes and one interception in that span.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
The Eagles have outscored their opponents by a total of three points on the season. They have turned the ball over 14 times while only forcing 12 turnovers on defense.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
The Jaguars have won two straight games to even up their record. They have forced seven turnovers in those two wins.
18. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1)
Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray is fifth in the NFL with 292 passing attempts. He has 2,267 yards from scrimmage and nine total touchdowns at the halfway point of the season.
19. Chicago Bears (3-4)
Chicago is on a three game losing streak, turning the ball over six times in that span. The team has failed to reach 300 yards passing in every game this season.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4)
Pittsburgh has won three out of four games averaging 25.2 points per game. They have forced 12 turnovers in that span.
21. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)
The Chargers have scored a total of 16 touchdowns on offense this season. They have turned the ball over a total of 13 times.
22. Oakland Raiders (3-4)
The Raiders have lost two straight games, giving up an average of 34.5 points per game. They give up an average of 27.4 points per game on the season.
23. Detroit Lions (3-3-1)
The Lions have a lowly two rushing touchdowns on the season. They average 3.6 yards per carry, which ranks them 26th in the NFL.
24. Denver Broncos (2-6)
Joe Flacco could be on the shelf for a significant amount of time with a neck injury. Whether this shelving could be permanent remains to be seen.
25. Cleveland Browns (2-5)
The Browns have lost three games in a row, averaging 14.6 points per game during that stretch. They have been outscored by a total of 48 points this season.
26. New York Giants (2-6)
The Giants have lost four games in a row and have turned the ball over nine times during that stretch. They have 19 total turnovers on the season.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5)
The good news is the Bucs have forced a turnover in every game this season. The bad news is they have given up five more turnovers than they have forced.
28. New York Jets (1-6)
The Jets offense ranks 31st in the NFL, averaging 11.1 points per game. They are edging out the Miami Dolphins by 0.1 points per game. The Dolphins and Jets face each other this weekend in what can only be described as the “Toilet Bowl.”
29. Washington Redskins (1-7)
The Redskins’ offense is averaging a robust 12.4 points per game. They have scored a total of nine points during their current two game losing streak.
30. Atlanta Falcons (1-7)
The Falcons are 31st in the league in points allowed, giving up 31.3 per game. The team parted ways (again) with 44 year old kicker Matt Bryant after missing two more kicks versus Seattle.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
Andy Dalton has been benched and rookie Ryan Finley will take over as the Bengals’ starter. Will Dalton be on the Bengals next season?
32. Miami Dolphins (0-7)
The Dolphins had their first halftime lead of the season on Monday Night. The team is playing hard enough but the talent level is starting to show.