The AFC has a little drama! After eight weeks of crowning the Patriots, New England now goes into its bye with a loss on the schedule, having fallen to the Ravens 37-20 in Baltimore. That probably won't change the AFC East, but it at least opens up a little drama for the Patriots, who now have to play two more physical running teams after their break in the Eagles and Cowboys.
For the Patriots, the schedule gets tougher. For the Ravens, Texans, Chiefs and other contenders chasing the Patriots, this is a huge win to at least open up the possibility of the Patriots falling back to the pack a little bit and someone else managing to steal the No. 1 seed.
Below is a look at the playoff standings through Sunday night of Week 9. We'll be updating this throughout the week and busting this thing out every single week. Things are starting to separate themselves in terms of the haves, the have-nots and the would-be contenders.
AFC: Who's in
1. New England Patriots (8-1)
The Patriots are mortal after all! New England lost to the Ravens in ugly fashion Sunday night, with Baltimore jumping all over the Patriots from the outset and finishing off New England 37-20 in impressive fashion. It's not time to panic over the Patriots, but there's a formula for beating them. The talk of the greatest defense of all time was dumb, and now there are going to be hot takes for two weeks as the Pats go on their bye.
A wild Week 9 is almost in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately, Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here to get daily NFL news fired into your eardrums.
2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
The Ravens got a huge win for their division hopes as well as their interest in securing a first-round bye and home-field advantage. Having a head-to-head win over the Patriots is rare and valuable, and the Ravens showed why they're a bad matchup for New England with this victory.
3. Houston Texans (6-3)
The Texans kicked off Sunday by thumping the Jaguars and effectively ending Gardner Minshew's starting job. It was a huge win coupled with Indy's loss, and the Texans are now in the driver's seat for the AFC South. J.J. Watt is done for the year but Deshaun Watson might have just played himself into the top of the MVP conversation with his performance against the Jaguars during the early morning matchup.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)
The stunning win over the Vikings on a last-second field goal for Kansas City pushes the Chiefs well in front of everyone in the AFC West. Going 2-1 with Patrick Mahomes injured is a massive victory for the Chiefs. They can afford to be conservative with him if they want, although at this point it's possible they're sniffing that first-round bye instead.
5. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
The Bills are almost all the way to their preseason Vegas win total at this point, having won another game against an inferior opponent. The Redskins just don't have any interest in hanging out and playing football so the Bills knocked them out in quick fashion. Buffalo is probably playing for a wild card, with the division likely being out of reach by virtue of the top team being the Patriots. But the Bills are in very good shape to chase that berth after winning again Sunday.
6. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
The Colts suffered a tough-luck loss to the Steelers, one that could get even worse if they end up losing Jacoby Brissett for any serious length of time. Still, the Colts are in a good spot to challenge for the division or at least get a wild card thanks to the Titans and Jaguars both losing Sunday.
AFC: Who's out
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4): The Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive in a big way with a win over the Colts and now they get the Rams before a very winnable stretch against the Browns (twice), Bengals and Cardinals.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5): Limbo time at quarterback, and there's a very good chance the Jags will go back to Nick Foles. They're desperate to make a move in a weakened AFC wild-card race.
10. Tennessee Titans (4-5): The most confusing team in the NFL. Sometimes they throttle people, sometimes they get throttled. Sunday, they got throttled.
12. Denver Broncos (3-6): Another "what could have been" moment with this win. Brandon Allen was pretty sharp, Courtland Sutton is a stud and this team can run the ball. They could be 6-3 but candy, nuts, etc.
13. Cleveland Browns (2-6): Another disastrous sloppy loss. At some point their schedule won't be easy -- everyone else's schedule will be easy because the Browns are on it.
14. Miami Dolphins (1-7): The Dolphins won a game! The Dolphins won a game!
15. New York Jets (1-7): The Jets lost to the Dolphins! The Jets lost to the Dolphins!
16. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8): Somehow the worst team in football. That really escalated quickly.
NFC: Who's in
1. San Francisco 49ers (8-0)
The 49ers took care of business on the road against the Cardinals on Thursday night, although it wasn't exactly easy. They're in pretty good shape for a division title, but the Rams and Seahawks are not far behind.
2. New Orleans Saints (7-1)
The Saints were on bye this week.
3. Green Bay Packers (7-2)
The Packers got manhandled by the Chargers on the road Sunday, a game that Aaron Rodgers called "humble pie" and referred to as a good thing. The offense stagnated early and the defense couldn't slow down the Chargers' rush attack.
4. Dallas Cowboys (5-3)
The Cowboys started slow on the road against the Giants on Monday night and then pulled away in the second half.
5. Seattle Seahawks (7-2)
The Seahawks got into a wild shootout against the Buccaneers on Sunday, eventually emerging on top in overtime. Credit Brian Schottenheimer for letting Russell Wilson throw and not trying to win this game by running the football.
6. Minnesota Vikings (6-3)
The Vikings lost a bad game to a Chiefs team without Patrick Mahomes. That could wind up costing them in the tiebreaker department, and they couldn't take advantage of the Packers losing.
NFC: Who's out
7. Los Angeles Rams (5-3): The Rams are on bye this week. They have a tiebreaker over the Panthers via head-to-head.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4): The Eagles took care of business against the Bears on Sunday, and it was a huge win due to how it opens things up in the division and NFC wild-card races.
10. Detroit Lions (3-4-1): The big dropoff starts here in terms of the playoff race. The Lions aren't bad, they've just lost a bunch of really close games and might be too far behind to make up the ground. Matthew Stafford is playing like an MVP, but he needs more wins to get legit consideration.
11. Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1): Tough loss Thursday for the Cardinals, but they're clearly an improved team from last year.
12. Chicago Bears (3-5): This is turning into a next-level disaster for Chicago as the season completely unravels. The Bears are going to give Oakland a better pick than Oakland's own pick.
13. New York Giants (2-7): The Giants opened up a 12-3 lead at home against the Cowboys then collapsed.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6): Tough loss for Tampa. They're so up and down.
15. Atlanta Falcons (1-7): The Falcons are on a bye and get the Saints next week.
16. Washington Redskins (1-8): The Redskins lost to the Buffalo Bills in a game they were basically out of from the jump.