The NFL season has now passed the halfway mark. All the teams have played at least eight of their 16 games. Those who haven't had their bye weeks yet have played nine.
At the season's 50-yard line, here is how the playoff picture looks if the season started today. Afterward, we'll look at some intriguing matchups and trends for the second half of the season.
- New England Patriots (8-1), AFC East leader
- Baltimore Ravens (6-2), AFC North leader
- Houston Texans (6-3); AFC South leader
- Kansas City Chiefs (6-3); AFC West leader
- Buffalo Bills (6-2); Wild Card No. 1
- Indianapolis Colts (5-3); Wild Card No. 2
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
- Oakland Raiders (4-4)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)
- Tennessee Titans (4-5)
- L.A. Chargers (4-5)
- Denver Broncos (3-6)
- Cleveland Browns (2-6)
- Miami Dolphins (1-7)
- New York Jets (1-7)
- Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
- San Francisco 49ers (8-0), NFC West leader
- New Orleans Saints (7-1); NFC South leader
- Green Bay Packers (7-2): NFC North leader
- Dallas Cowboys (5-3); NFC East leader
- Seattle Seahawks (7-2), Wild Card No. 1
- Minnesota Vikings (6-3), Wild Card No. 2
- L.A. Rams (5-3)
- Carolina Panthers (5-3)
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)
- Detroit Lions (3-4-1)
- Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1)
- Chicago Bears (3-5)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
- New York Giants (2-7)
- Atlanta Falcons (1-7)
- Washington Redskins (1-8)
The two toughest remaining schedules belong to the Seahawks (.686 strength-of-schedule according to Tankathon) and 49ers (.640). That's due in no small part to the fact that they face each other twice. They also each have to face six teams with winning records. A 49ers win in their matchup next Monday could put a virtual nail in the division. A Seahawks win would leave the door open for a Week 17 winner-take-all for the NFC West title.
The Patriots and Ravens, currently battling for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, both have a sub-.500 remaining strength of schedule (.492). The Ravens own the tiebreaker after beating the Patriots Sunday night.
The Saints also has an easy (on paper) schedule down the stretch with a .477 strength-of-schedule. Drew Brees returned from injury last week and will have a fresh arm for the stretch run. But New Orleans will have to face the undefeated 49ers as well as division rival Carolina twice.
The Raiders, sitting just outside the wild card picture, faces just one team with a winning record in its final eight games -- the Chiefs. Oakland's remaining strength of schedule is .371.