The NFL season is over the halfway mark. We now have a good idea of the likely NFL playoff contenders of 2020. Likewise, it’s easy to see who can just reach that outer playoff fringe and still not make a major impact during the postseason.
The Likely NFL Playoff Contenders of 2020
At the completion of Week 9, 17 teams were over .500. There are eight weeks to go and 22 teams within two games of a postseason run. With respect though, the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, and Tennessee Titans are doing well but aren’t expected to make that final sprint to the finish.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have that perfect balance of offensive advantage and defensive dominance. We see at least one of those elements in each game, sometimes both, contributing to their continuous victories. The rest of their schedule is favorable – their only challenges are Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is in the MVP race with a 25-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. With analysts calling him the greatest quarterback on the planet right now, he has a real shot at back-to-back rings. The team as a whole is full of ammunition, a solid defense, and a remarkable head coach.
3. Baltimore Ravens
The top of the AFC is miles better than the top of the NFC. The Ravens could easily get to the Super Bowl right now if their only prerequisite was to take the AFC. Lamar Jackson is still high on experts’ lists, having made a nice comeback versus the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens are ready for January.
4. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has bounced back as purposeful of a quarterback as he’s ever been. The Packers run game and secondary are impressive. Their wide receivers and left side of the offensive line need to step up somewhat. However, on home field, the Packers are almost certain to dominate. Some believe that Rodgers may see the big game one more time.
5. New Orleans Saints
They’ve had years of playoff pain. This year, the Saints can do it all. Pass. Run. Play defense. This is one team where the veterans have still got it. They’ve brought their A-game every week and can be expected to finish off the regular season with a bang.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers can beat any opponent, so long as they bring their defense and their pass rush. Tom Brady isn’t playing at the level he used to, but he has a horde of weapons he can pass the ball to for an unbeatable passing game. Being in a lackluster NFC puts them in contention. It would be a different story if they were in the AFC.
7. Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll is still an excellent head coach and Russell Wilson continues to shine as a quarterback. There are some analysts who believe the NFC will come down to shootouts, and that Wilson can win two or three in a row. Seattle’s defense is one of the worst in the league and the one thing that could stop Wilson from winning a third ring.
8. Los Angeles Rams
The team has a remarkable head coach and play-caller. They have a winning quarterback. A top tier defense. The Rams are downright dangerous. Thriving in any situation, they are built for road playoff games.
9. Buffalo Bills
Expecting Josh Allen to save the day and carry the team on his back is unfair. Their defense isn’t what it was in 2019. The Bills run game is excellent but they’ll need more than that to take it far into January.
10. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been touted as the AFC’s version of the Rams. Their defense is strong, and Philip Rivers isn’t quite what he used to be. However, they have plenty of weapons on offense, enabling them to be contenders too.