The Philadelphia Eagles introduced a new feature to the 2017 NFL season Monday night. What had been missing was superiority. There was no obvious best team in the NFL, nobody standing above the rest of the league. There is now, after the performance the Eagles put on in their 34-24 victory over the Washington Redskins. They have a menacing pass rush, a lethal red-zone offense, the best record in the NFL and, in Carson Wentz, the new favorite for NFL MVP.

The 6-1 Eagles, the only team in the league with one loss, now own a 2 1/2-game lead in the NFC East, and their next two games are hosting the winless San Francisco 49ers and the reeling Denver Broncos. Barring catastrophic injury, they can be counted on, definitively, as a playoff team.

Few, if any, other NFL teams can make the same claim. The Eagles, we can confidently declare, are a playoff lock. The Browns, Giants, Bengals, 49ers and Colts can be safely counted out. The Buccaneers should be better and might become frisky, but they’re 2-4 and listing. The rest of the NFL — a good 25 teams, more than three-quarters of the league — occupies the gooey middle, with records between 3-4 and 5-2.

And so how, with the midway point looming, to sort it out? Here’s the outlook of all the teams in the NFL’s vast middle, organized by record, with a predicted finish at the bottom.

5-2 teams

Patriots

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: Tom Brady is their quarterback, and Bill Belichick is their coach. And the defense, wretched for the season’s first month, is either fixed or close to it.

Why they won’t: It’s a hard road. They play at the Steelers, who are rounding into one of the NFL’s most complete teams, and in Denver, a traditional booby trap for New England. The Bills and Dolphins are both nipping at their heels in a better-than-expected AFC East. Maybe the league disbands them for pumping in artificial fog?

Verdict: In.

Steelers

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: The rest of the AFC North may be the worst division in football. If they can win in Indianapolis and beat the Ravens, Browns and Rodgers-free Packers at home, they’ll get to nine wins. That should be enough to win the North, considering they already are up two games with a 3-0 divisional record.

Why they won’t: Okay, this is hard. They didn’t look so hot two weeks ago, after Ben Roethlisberger openly contemplated athletic mortality and the Jags drubbed them. Maybe convincing wins over the Chiefs and Bengals were a mirage. (We’re reaching here.)

Verdict: In

Chiefs

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: The Chiefs have lost two in a row, so their gaudy record is shakier than it seems. But they have perhaps the most explosive offense in football. Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career in a brilliantly designed scheme. They may struggle once there, but Andy Reid gets teams to the playoffs.

Why they won’t: Their defense looked vulnerable against the Raiders and Steelers, yielding 944 yards in two games. It’s far-fetched, but that’s a good way to start a losing streak.

Verdict: In

Vikings

Schedule: Three home games, five away, one neutral.

Why they’ll make it: The Packers losing Aaron Rodgers made the NFC North wide open. Their offense is patched together with Case Keenum and Latavius Murray in for Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook, but their defense is a monster.

Why they won’t: Last season, a similarly gifted defense crumbled after a 5-0 start and finished 8-8. This team will have to run through a decisive five-game gantlet after playing the Browns in London on Sunday: at Washington, Rams, at Detroit, at Atlanta and at Carolina. It’s realistic they go 1-4, which may be a tipping point to another collapse.

Verdict: Out

Rams

Schedule: Four home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Their offense is a legitimate force, and their defense has enough talent — starting with Aaron Donald and Mark Barron — to continue improving under first-year coordinator Wade Phillips. They’ve scored the most points per game in the NFL as Sean McVay has unleashed Todd Gurley.

Why they won’t: An up-and-coming team will be tested. They still have to play the Eagles, Seahawks, Saints, Vikings and Texans. If it comes down to it, the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker and get to play them at home.

Verdict: In

4-2 teams

Bills

Schedule: Five home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Sean McDermott has brought discipline, preparation and a killer defense. They hit on their first-round cornerback Tre’Davious White and fifth-round linebacker Matt Milano.

Why they won’t: They have to play the Patriots twice and at Kansas City. Rookie wideout Zay Jones hasn’t developed as expected, leaving them one weapon shy surrounding playmaking quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Verdict: Out

Dolphins

Schedule: Five home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Did you realize the Dolphins are 13-4 in their past 17 regular season games? Adam Gase knows what he’s doing. Losing Jay Cutler won’t hurt, given Matt Moore’s ability to step in and run the offense.

Why they won’t: They have to play the Patriots twice and at the Chiefs. The way they’re winning isn’t sustainable — they came back from down 17 at halftime in Atlanta and down 14 in the fourth quarter against the Jets. They’ve been outscored by 20 points.

Verdict: In

Saints

Schedule: Six home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: The Saints have won four straight, all against teams with winning records. It’s no surprise their offense is humming, but they finally have a defense to match. They shut out the Dolphins in London and have held two other opponents to fewer than 20 points. Rookie running back Alvin Kamara is only going to improve, and Mark Ingram is playing the best of his career.

Why they won’t: Guard Larry Watford will miss several weeks, further weakening an offensive line that has battled injuries all season. Brees has been sacked only five times, the fewest in the NFL. But that advantage could disappear with more attrition up front.

Verdict: In

Seahawks

Schedule: Six home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: They know how to overcome internal turmoil. Their horrendous offensive line aside, good luck finding a roster with better speed, athleticism and talent. Their defense has started to embrace the heavy burden it carries, and their offense makes enough plays, especially late in games, after defenses grow weary of chasing Russell Wilson and trying to cover Doug Baldwin.

Why they won’t: Their offensive line is in contention for the worst individual unit in the NFL, and it got worse when center Justin Britt injured his ankle Sunday against the Giants, moving rookie Ethan Pocic into his place.

Verdict: In

4-3 teams

Titans

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: Their next two games come at home against the Bengals and Ravens, so they have a great chance to stand at 6-3, with the Colts, Cardinals and 49ers waiting later in the season.

Why they won’t: The Titans’ record has some fool’s gold in it. Two of their wins came against the Browns (in overtime) and Colts, and they’ve been outscored by 15 points. They lack offensive weapons for Marcus Mariota as is, and now tight end Delanie Walker is banged up.

Verdict: Out

Jaguars

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: Jacksonville possesses multiple units that operate at an elite level. The Jaguars can run the ball with Leonard Fournette behind an overlooked offensive line, and they can rush the passer. Jacksonville leads the NFL with 33 sacks; the next-closest team has 24. They may not be a great team, but in this NFL, the ability to do a couple of things great is good enough. The Jaguars also have outscored opponents by 73 points, the second-best margin in the league. They have a road to 8-4: Chargers, at Browns, at Cardinals, Colts.

Why they won’t: Blake Bortles plays quarterback. Blake. Bortles. Plays. Quarterback.

Verdict: In

Packers

Schedule: Four home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Brett Hundley has all the physical tools necessary, and with time and the talented roster around him, he can navigate the offense. Their bye week comes this week, the perfect time to regroup.

Why they won’t: What if Hundley can’t adjust? He was awful passing in his first start, throwing for just 87 yards. It’s a team that was 4-6 with Rodgers at one point last season.

Verdict: Out

Panthers

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: How can a defense this good spend January at home? It hasn’t allowed a touchdown in three games.

Why they won’t: Cam Newton still isn’t right after offseason shoulder surgery, his ongoing recovery resulting in inconsistency. The iffy status of linebacker Luke Kuechly, the beating heart of the team, threatens to diminish an excellent defense. They have a bad start on tiebreakers at 0-1 in the division and 2-3 in the conference.

Verdict: Out

3-3 teams

Falcons

Schedule: Five home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: They have to snap out of it at some point. No team with Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and the rest of that offensive weaponry should look so hapless on offense. And really, they’ve been stopping themselves with ill-timed turnovers and poor red-zone performance — they’re third in the NFL at 6.2 yards per play.

Why they won’t: Set aside how shaky they appeared Sunday night in New England. Isn’t it possible the aberration for Matt Ryan was last year, not this year? Before 2016, Ryan was a pretty decent quarterback who hadn’t gone to the playoffs in three years. And then he won the MVP. It’s hard to see him meshing with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian the way he did with Kyle Shanahan. On top of that, the schedule is a bear — at the Jets on Sunday might be their easiest game left, and they’ve already had their bye.

Verdict: Out

Texans

Schedule: Four home games, six away.

Why they’ll make it: The Texans had a solid roster desperately lacking a quarterback, and now they have one in Deshaun Watson. They may have to outscore teams, but they have the ability with Watson throwing to De’Andre Hopkins and a healthy Will Fuller. Watson can carry the Texans.

Why they won’t: They suffered too many injuries on the defensive line, with J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus set to miss the entire season.

Verdict: In

Broncos

Schedule: Four home games, six away.

Why they’ll make it: They have a great home-field advantage and Von Miller is on their side. They trounced the Cowboys like no team has in the past two years, which suggests a high ceiling despite a dreadful past two weeks.

Why they won’t: Their offense has devolved into the perhaps the worst in the NFL, and Trevor Siemian is playing like a backup quarterback, at best. Their other option is Brock Osweiler, who is a backup quarterback, at best. At a moment when they’re desperate for a win, their next two games are at Kansas City and at Philadelphia.

Verdict: Out

Cowboys

Schedule: Five home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: The Cowboys showed who they really are in demolishing the 49ers, 40-10, behind a punishing game from their stalwart offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott. Linebacker Sean Lee returns this week, and their revamped secondary should improve as the season wears.

Why they won’t: Elliott is likely going to serve his six-game suspension at some point, maybe even this season. There are no gimmes on their schedule — at the Giants and home for the Chargers are the only two that come close.

Verdict: In

Lions

Schedule: Five home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Matt Stafford is a professional, a quarterback with few weaknesses who will keep the Lions in just about every game. They have a deep reserve of pass rushers that comes in waves. They have six games left against teams with losing records and have the good fortune of playing the Packers twice without Rodgers.

Why they won’t: They Lions perennially find ways to botch great situations.

Verdict: In.

Redskins

Schedule: Five home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Their losses have come against the Chiefs and Eagles, arguably the NFL’s two best teams, and they hung close in two of those games. Kirk Cousins leads an elite passing attack that ranks first in the NFL in net yards per dropback.

Why they won’t: The schedule is a bear, and they’re beat up after losing guard Brandon Scherff on Monday night. The Cowboys, Seahawks, Vikings and Saints are their next four opponents. They’d do well to emerge better than 4-6.

Verdict: Out

3-4 teams

Cardinals

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: Unless Drew Stanton is much better than anyone thinks, they’ll need a throwback season from Adrian Peterson.

Why they won’t: They looked old and slow before Carson Palmer’s season-ending broken left arm. Their defense hasn’t recovered from losing Calais Campbell. They’ve been outscored by a whopping 72 points — a worse point differential than the Browns. They’re in a tough division, and they’re simply not very good.

Verdict: Out

Bears

Schedule: Four home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen provide a dangerous backfield combination. They still get to play the Bengals, Browns and 49ers.

Why they won’t: Mitchell Trubisky is 2-1 as a starter, but the Bears are winning despite him. He’s completed eight and four passes in those two victories, the latter of which saw the Bears fail to score an offensive touchdown. It’s not realistic for the Bears to think they keep winning like that. Two of their three wins have come in overtime.

Verdict: Out

Raiders

Schedule: Four home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: Derek Carr is a stud, and there’s too much talent in their pass rush of Khalil Mack, Mario Edwards and Bruce Irvin for them not to figure it out on defense at some point.

Why they won’t: The schedule is too hard. They still have to play the Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys and Eagles. They’ll look back and lament losing to the Ravens, Broncos and Chargers in consecutive weeks.

Verdict: Out

Chargers

Schedule: Four home games, five away.

Why they’ll make it: The talent is there. Melvin Ingram, a versatile defensive lineman who’s great rushing the passer and against the run, could be the most underrated player in the NFL. Melvin Gordon ranks among the best running backs in football, and venerable Phillip Rivers gives them a chance in every game.

Why they won’t: They have to travel to New England and Jacksonville in their next two games, which puts their three-game winning streak in serious jeopardy. Their dearth of a home-field advantage, playing in a soccer stadium routinely overtaken by opposing fans, will catch up to them.

Verdict: Out

Jets

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: Their defense has legitimate playmakers, with veteran linebacker Damario Davis, rookie safety Jamal Adams and defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

Why they won’t: Remember when they were trying to tank? They still have the same roster.

Verdict: Out

Ravens

Schedule: Five home games, four away.

Why they’ll make it: Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh have turned around seasons before. Their secondary still has as much talent as any in football, and they’re second in the NFL in turnovers forced.

Why they won’t: Flacco isn’t the quarterback he once was, and he’s voicing frustration with Marty Mornhinweg’s play-calling. He’s averaging a putrid 5.3 yards per attempt and 170 yards per game. The Ravens’ offense is shield-your-eyes bad. Injuries have crushed them.

Verdict: Out

Predicted AFC Playoff Picture: Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs, Jaguars, Texans, Dolphins

Predicted NFC Playoff Picture: Eagles, Seahawks, Saints, Lions, Cowboys, Rams

>> Joe Thomas has a torn triceps and will miss the remainder of the season, Mary Kay Cabot writes. Two takeaways: Thomas, one of the best players of his generation, could mull retirement after an 11-year career in which he played literally every snap. And the Browns could make a serious run at 0-16, on the heels of a 1-15 season. An NFL team going 1-31 over two seasons should be inconceivable. It’s totally plausible for the Browns.

>> Texans left tackle Duane Brown ended his holdout and returned to practice, as Aaron Wilson writes. Deshaun Watson gets more help.

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