The NFL season is underway and starting next week, there will be teams on byes, so the standings will be slightly uneven until Week 13, which is the one after Thanksgiving. Actually, the last two teams with a bye are Cleveland and Tennessee, so for playoff picture purposes, once Week 11 is complete, we can start the countdown, but for now, I'd like to document the standings after three weeks. Surprisingly, the playoff picture is quite clear, with seven of the eight divisions being led by a single team. The only one with a tie is the NFC West, but the Rams beat Seattle in Week 2 so they are the clear leader there as well. Only the wild cards require a bit of research into the league's tie-breaker procedures, which involve strength of victory at this point (i.e. don't take these standings too seriously). Anyway, here are the playoff teams after three weeks, along with those tied for the final playoff spot:
AFC Bal 3-0 NE 3-0 Den 3-0 Hou 2-1 Pit 2-1 KC 2-1 -------- Oak 2-1 NFC Min 3-0 Phi 3-0 LA 2-1 Atl 2-1 NYG 2-1 Dal 2-1 -------- Sea 2-1 GB 2-1
I know this is mostly meaningless as teams have not played an equal number of conference games, but it's a good bet that at least one of the Super Bowl teams is coming from the group in the playoffs, even with the weird start to the season. Can the rookie QBs in Denver, Philadelphia, and Dallas keep their teams in the hunt? You never know. I'll revisit this in two months to see how things are shaping up.