The 2017 NFL regular season has reached its final month, with each team down to its final four games. The playoff races in both conferences are also becoming clearer with the best teams now separating themselves from the rest of the pack.

With that in mind, let’s break down the playoff picture following Week 13 action.

AFC right now
1. Steelers (10-2)
2. Patriots (10-2)
3. Titans (8-4)
4. Chiefs (6-6)
5. Jaguars (8-4)
6. Ravens (7-5)
7. Chargers (6-6)
7. Raiders (6-6)
7. Bills (6-6)

Pittsburgh and New England are victories over Miami and Baltimore, respectively,  away from a Week 15 matchup at Heinz Field that could decide who takes the top spot in the conference. The Titans are fighting the Jags in the AFC South, with the loser likely to grab a wild-card spot anyway. The sliding Chiefs are trying to hold off the surging Chargers and Raiders in the West, with Los Angeles and Oakland also in contention for the last wild-card spot, which is currently owned by a Baltimore team trying to fight off three 6-6 squads (including the Bills).

AFC projection
1. Patriots (14-2)
2. Steelers (13-3)
3. Jaguars (10-6)
4. Chargers (10-6)
5. Ravens (10-6)
6. Titans (9-7)
7. Raiders (8-8)
7. Bills (8-8)
7. Chiefs (8-8)

I don’t think the Steelers have what it takes to beat a rolling Patriots team and I don’t think the Chiefs or Raiders have what it takes to stop a red-hot Chargers team. Meanwhile, it’s a toss-up between Jacksonville and Tennessee, but the Jags are the better team (just like at the gap between their points differential totals), and the Ravens’ finishing schedule is just too easy.

NFC right now
1. Vikings (10-2)
2. Eagles (10-2)
3. Rams (9-3)
4. Saints (9-3)
5. Seahawks (8-4)
6. Panthers (8-4)
7. Falcons (7-5)
8. Lions (6-6)
8. Packers (6-6)
8. Cowboys (6-6)

The Vikings leapfrog the Eagles thanks to a tiebreaker that isn’t likely to be a factor in four weeks, so it’s basically a toss-up. The Rams and Saints remain right there, but they’re also holding slim leads in their respective divisions.

The two teams giving chase (Seattle and Carolina) hold the two wild-card spots, with Atlanta still a major factor at 7-5. The Lions and Cowboys are probably toast, but look out for the Packers if they beat the Browns with Brett Hundley this week. They’ll likely have Aaron Rodgers back for their final three.

NFC projection
1. Vikings (13-3)
2. Saints (13-3)
3. Eagles (13-3)
4. Rams (13-3)
5. Packers (10-6)
6. Seahawks (10-6)
7. Panthers (9-7)
7. Falcons (9-7)

Yeah, it’s gonna be an absolute dogfight. I can’t imagine four teams in one conference have ever finished with 13-plus wins, but that’s the way it shakes out when I look at those finishing schedules. The tiebreakers would be a mess, but it sure would be fun. And then you’ve got the Packers charging back to sneak in, along with the embattled Seahawks and their MVP candidate quarterback.

The key here is I’m still having trouble believing in the Falcons or Panthers.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.