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The 2017 NFL season is almost over, but the playoff picture is nowhere near to be set.
After the New England Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins, the top seed in the AFC is now the Pittsburgh Steelers’ spot to lose as they take on the Patriots in Week 15.
A win over the Patriots would give the Steelers a 12-3 record through 15 weeks with a two-game advantage over the Patriots, including the head-to-head tiebreaker.
And that’s only one scenario for the top seed.
The rest of the playoff picture in both the AFC and NFC is murky, riddled with teams hovering around the .500 mark. In fact, there are currently six teams in the AFC with either a 7-6 or 6-7 record through 14 weeks and three teams in the NFC with 7-6 records and one team that is 6-7.
Below, we’ll take a look at the complete outlook of the AFC and NFC conferences ranked by playoff status. That means that some teams with worse records than others—looking at you, Kansas City Chiefs—will be ranked higher than some teams with a better overall record due to being a division leader.
There are a lot of storylines to keep an eye on as the playoffs inch closer and closer, so we’ll take a look at one team from each conference that is destined to make some noise in the final weeks of the season.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2)
2. New England Patriots (10-3)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)
5. Tennessee Titans (8-5)
6. Buffalo Bills (7-6)
7. Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
8. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)
9. Oakland Raiders (6-7)
10. Miami Dolphins (6-7)
11. New York Jets (5-8)
12. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8)
13. Houston Texans (4-9)
14. Denver Broncos (4-9)
15. Indianapolis Colts (3-10)
16. Cleveland Browns (0-13)
1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-2)
2. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
3. Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
4. New Orleans Saints (9-4)
5. Carolina Panthers (9-4)
6. Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
7. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
8. Detroit Lions (7-6)
9. Green Bay Packers (7-6)
1. Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
11. Arizona Cardinals (6-7)
12. Washington Redskins (5-8)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-8)
14. Chicago Bears (4-9)
15. San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
16. New York Giants (2-11)
Team to keep an eye on in AFC
Los Angeles Chargers
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Don’t look now, but the most dangerous AFC team might be on the West Coast of the United States.
The Los Angeles Chargers are 7-6 on the season, teetering on the fringe of a wild-card berth. After a 0-4 start, the Chargers have come alive after the first quarter of the season.
In their past nine games, the Chargers have gone an exceptional 7-2, losing only to the likes of the Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars by a combined 11 points.
During that 7-2 span, the Chargers have clawed their way back into the AFC West division and are now tied with the Chiefs for the division’s best record.
How much noise can the Chargers make in the postseason? Let’s just say they’ll make more noise on the field with their play than their several thousand fans will in the stands.
The Chargers offense racks up the sixth-most yards in the NFL (372.7 yards per game), while their defense ranks 10th in yards allowed per game. And with a crucial matchup against the Chiefs this weekend, the AFC West division title could be up for grabs.
Los Angeles Chargers @Chargers
Philip Rivers on Saturday’s divisional matchup with the Chiefs: “These are the games you dream about playing in. This doesn’t win the division, but it certainly helps.”
On top of the team as a whole performing well, All-Pro quarterback Philip Rivers is having another lights-out season that is going way below the radar with 3,611 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Only time will tell if the Chargers can translate yards into points—they are ranked 15th in scoring offense in the NFL—but on any given Sunday, they can give some of the AFC’s finest a run for their money.
Team to keep an eye on in NFC
Green Bay Packers
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Aaron Rodgers is back, ladies and gentlemen. And with Carson Wentz out for the season with a torn ACL, it’s safe to say that the Philadelphia Eagles’ stranglehold on the NFC has loosened.
The conference is up for grabs, and the Packers are primed for a late-season surge into the playoff picture.
Heading into Week 15, the Packers are, technically, out. But now that Rodgers is eligible to play again after fracturing his collarbone earlier this season, he gives the Packers that extra push they need to become an elite team again.
Before Rodgers went down, the Packers were flying high as they jumped out to a 4-1 start. But that fast start soon slowed once Rodgers went on the IR, losing four of their next five games.
But Green Bay has steadied the ship as of late, winning two games in a row heading into Week 15. With a 7-6 record and just one game out of a playoff spot, the Packers are a legitimate threat to the NFC.
Just in time to make a @packers playoff push… It’s @aaronrodgers12! #GoPackGo https://t.co/oaeFIjkNgo
It’s no mistake that the team’s odds to win the Super Bowl increased from 33-1 to 18-1 over the past week since Rodgers returned to the fold, per OddsShark.
Rodgers elevates Green Bay’s offense to a whole new level, even this late in the season. It’s too late for the Packers to realistically catch the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North division title, but it’s not too late for a spot in the wildcard.
Going up against the Carolina Panthers this week won’t be easy, but if the Packers can come away with the victory, they’ll be 8-6 on the season with two games remaining against the Vikings and Detroit Lions.
The season has really only just begun for the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, and it’ll be interesting to see how the final stretch of the season plays out.
All stats are courtesy of NFL.com unless otherwise noted.