Time to get some discussion started. We really don't do this here for some reason, even though the few times it happens, it leads to glorious results like "Redskins for NFC East title". Thank you, Arkaign.
Every team has played ten games now, so I'll make some predictions for the rest of the regular season. Today the AFC, tomorrow the NFC (hopefully I'll get it finished before the first Thanksgiving game starts). I'll add my pitiful bracket predictions for comparison's sake.
Business as usual as far as the division title goes. The undefeated Patriots (10-0) can already clinch in week 12 with a win on their own and a Dolphins win. Remaining schedule: @DEN, vs. PHI, @HOU, vs. TEN, @NYJ, @MIA. 1st seed at 14-2 or 15-1. If they win in Denver, they'll definitely try to get healthy and rest starters at the end of the regular season.
The Bills (5-5) look like the second best team in the division, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll reach the playoffs. Next up on their schedule, two important games @KC and vs. HOU. If they lose both, the remaining games (@PHI, @WAS, vs. DAL, vs. NYJ) won't matter much. Personally, I expect them to lose in Kansas City and finish the year with a 9-7 record which won't be enough because of the tie-breaker against the Chiefs.
The Jets started 4-1, then they realized that they are the Jets. Now at 5-5, they'll play vs. MIA, @NYG, vs. TEN, @DAL, vs. NE, @BUF. In their current state, that's only two winnable games. Third place in the AFC East (7-9).
The Dolphins (4-6) have the advantage of four home games down the stretch: @NYJ, vs. BAL, vs. NYG, @SD, vs. IND, vs. NE. Their disadvantage? They suck butt. They might beat the Ravens and the Chargers, but that's about it. Won't finish better than 6-10.
Original prediction: NE, MIA, BUF, NYJ.
New: NE, BUF, NYJ, MIA.
The Bengals (8-2) surprised everyone with their 8-0 start. Remaining games: vs. STL, @CLE, vs. PIT, @SF, @DEN, vs. BAL. That should guarantee at least a 12-4 record, so even if the Steelers run the table, Cincinnati will still be ahead due to the ugly game that the Ravens won in Pittsburgh. The more important contest takes place in Denver where I expect the Broncos to lose out on the 2nd seed for good (if it didn't already happen before).
The Steelers (6-4) face a tough stretch of games before it eases up at the end: @SEA, vs. IND, @CIN, vs. DEN, @BAL, @CLE. Regardless, I don't think they'll have too much trouble to secure the 5th seed as long as they have Roethlisberger and Brown torching opposing defenses. Will finish either 10-6 or 11-5.
All games of the Ravens (3-7) were decided by one score. A little bit more luck in just three games and they would be 6-4 at this point. Although it really doesn't matter after last week's injuries to Flacco and Forsett. The Browns (2-8) don't get to see how good Johnny Football is because of some coach's principles. What a waste, because it's clear that McCown can't be the future while for Manziel it's at least still up in the air. No list of schedules for either team due to lack of chance to reach the playoffs. Neither team will finish better than 5-11 and both would probably be happy at this point to even get to 5-11. The only noteworthy thing: A Browns win over the Ravens in week 12 would result in a sweep. That's what I expect to happen, so Cleveland over Baltimore once everything is said and done.
Original prediction: PIT, BAL, CIN, CLE.
New: CIN, PIT, CLE, BAL.
At the halfway mark, this division was led by a 3-5 team. Now the Colts (5-5) don't look so bad anymore and the rest of the way isn't too difficult: vs. TB, @PIT, @JAC, vs. HOU, @MIA, vs. TEN. If they manage to win their games in the division (and they should), they can win the South even with an 8-8 record. I am expecting a 9-7 finish.
Now the interesting thing about this division that was so crappy just a couple of weeks ago is that right now it doesn't seem ridiculous that it will have a wild card team. The Texans (5-5) have improved notably and their schedule is manageable: vs. NO, @BUF, vs. NE, @IND, @TEN, vs. JAC. But let's be honest: It's improbable that a team with such QBs can do it. They might go 8-8, but not any further.
The Jaguars (4-6) are also still in the playoff race: vs. SD, @TEN, vs. IND, vs. ATL, @NO, @HOU. But this a young team that had trouble to close out games. Their next two games are winnable and they would be 6-6, but the final stretch is too much for these inexperienced players. I don't see them doing better than 6-10 because they might even drop the game in Tennessee. Speaking of which, the Titans (2-8) are out of the playoff race. Yes, they are only three games behind the leaders in the AFC South, but this isn't realistic. Therefore I'll skip the remaining schedule for what will be a 4-12 team at best.
Original prediction: IND, HOU, JAC, TEN.
The Broncos (8-2) have a great defense, but not so good QBs. Remaining schedule: vs. NE, @SD, vs. OAK, @PIT, vs. CIN, vs. SD. The games against the Chargers seem like free wins, but otherwise it isn't an easy going. Looks like a 11-5 season to me, which is good enough for the 3rd seed.
Looking like a dumpster fire at 1-5 and with their RB out for the rest of the year, the Chiefs (5-5) rallied back to .500 and now face a super important home game vs. BUF. This is a make or break game for the 6th seed, because the Chiefs and Bills seem like the most competent teams in the current sea of mediocrity in the AFC. Other games: @OAK, vs. SD, @BAL, vs. CLE, vs. OAK. That's a mix of divisional games and freebies. 10-6 isn't out of the question here and they already hold the tie-breaker over Pittsburgh. Somehow that feels too good to be true though. Or maybe not. In any case, I choose Pittsburgh and Kansas City as the two wild card teams.
The Raiders looked awful in week 1, then pretty good after week 8 (4-3) and now quite bad again (4-6). Schedule: @TEN, vs. KC, @DEN, vs. GB, vs. SD, @KC. That feels like a 3-3 stretch to put the team at 7-9. Better than in previous years, but the Raiders are still not playoff-ready. The Chargers (2-8) were plagued by injuries among other things all year long. The 2015 season can't end soon enough for them, because they might not even win another game.
Original prediction: DEN, SD, KC, OAK.
New: DEN, KC, OAK, SD.
To wrap it all up, pecking order for the playoffs.
Original prediction: IND, NE, DEN, PIT, SD, MIA. (Wow, sooo bad.)
New: NE, CIN, DEN, IND, PIT, KC.
I won't bother with an NFC writeup if not enough people care about this post.