You can find the latest league standings here, but how will they look when the regular season ends? Here is how we think the playoff field will shake out.
How they will finish (with current record):
1. New Orleans Saints, 8-2
Remaining schedule: Panthers, at Falcons, 49ers, Colts, at Titans, at Panthers
Remaining schedule: at Eagles, Vikings, at Rams, at Panthers, Cardinals, 49ers
3. Minnesota Vikings, 8-3
Remaining schedule: at Seahawks, Lions, at Chargers, Packers, Bears
Remaining schedule: at Patriots, Bills, at Bears, Rams, at Eagles, Redskins
5. Green Bay Packers, 8-2
Remaining schedule: at 49ers, at Giants, Redskins, Bears, at Vikings, at Lions
6. San Francisco 49ers, 9-1
Remaining schedule: Packers, at Ravens, at Saints, Falcons, Rams, at Seahawks
Remaining schedule: Seahawks, at Dolphins, Giants, at Redskins, Cowboys, at Giants
Remaining schedule: Ravens, at Cardinals, Seahawks, at Cowboys, at 49ers, Cardinals
Hanging on: Carolina Panthers, 5-5
Technically alive, but not happening: Chicago Bears (4-6), New York Giants (2-8), Washington Redskins (1-9), Detroit Lions (3-6-1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7), Atlanta Falcons (3-7), Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)
The math is simple and, for most teams, dire. Take out the NFC East, which somebody has to win, and there are five NFC playoff spots. Five NFC teams will enter Week 12 with three or fewer losses. The NFC field is just about set, and even after the Rams won Sunday night, the defending conference champions aren’t in it.
The NFC East probably will be decided in Week 16, when the Eagles host the Cowboys. Even though Philadelphia gets the game at home, Dallas has had its number in recent seasons, and despite plenty of the Cowboys’ own flaws, they’re the better team.
The 49ers have been the NFC’s best team all season, but their next three games — Packers, at Ravens and at Saints — could make them vulnerable in their division. The stretch looks even more treacherous after the banged-up 49ers barely beat the Cardinals on Sunday. The Seahawks already beat them once, and they get to host the 49ers in the season’s final week.
Remaining schedule: at Rams, 49ers, at Bills, Jets, at Browns, Steelers
2. New England Patriots, 9-1
Remaining schedule: Cowboys, at Texans, Chiefs, at Bengals, Bills, Dolphins
Remaining schedule: Colts, Patriots, Broncos, at Titans, at Bucs, Titans
4. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-4
Remaining schedule: Chargers, bye, Raiders, at Patriots, Broncos, at Bears, Chargers
Remaining schedule: Broncos, at Cowboys, Ravens, at Steelers, at Patriots, Jets
Remaining schedule: at Jets, at Chiefs, Titans, Jaguars, at Chargers, at Broncos
Remaining schedule: at Bengals, Browns, at Cardinals, Bills, at Jets, at Ravens
Remaining schedule: at Texans, Titans, at Bucs, at Saints, Panthers, at Jaguars
Remaining schedule: Jaguars, at Colts, at Raiders, Texans, Saints, at Texans
Hanging on: Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Technically alive, but not happening: Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6), Los Angeles Chargers (4-7), Denver Broncos (3-7), New York Jets (3-7), Dolphins (2-8), Bengals (0-10)
The AFC South outcome will shape so much about the conference playoff field. The Raiders need to root for the Texans to beat the Colts to win the division because if the final spot comes down to the South loser and Oakland, the Raiders own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Indianapolis, but Houston holds it over them.
The Patriots’ track record suggests they’ll solve their offensive issues, and their final three games are all against doormats. But the Ravens hold the tiebreaker, and if the Patriots drop just one game while they figure it out, the Ravens could take the top seed from them.
The Titans, playing well since Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota, could make their season in the next month. They play the Jaguars at home, then face the Colts, Raiders and Texans — three teams they’re in direct competition with for a playoff spot.