The 2018 NFL regular season has reached its home stretch, with each team down to its final quarter. Many of the top divisional spots look relatively secure, but the wild card races are shaping up to be as messy as ever.

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

AFC right now
1. Chiefs (10-2)
2. Patriots (9-3)
3. Texans (9-3)
4. Steelers (7-4-1)
5. Chargers (9-3)
6. Ravens (7-5)
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7. Dolphins (6-6)
8. Colts (6-6)
9. Broncos (6-6)
10. Titans (6-6)

Watch out, Chiefs! While you might be understandably distracted by the Kareem Hunt fiasco, the Chargers keep winning. Lose to them in two weeks, and you’re in big trouble, especially with New England and Houston gaining steam. Oh, and the Ravens are now just a half-game back of Pittsburgh. The question is who might rise up from the quartet of .500 outside-looking-inners.

AFC projection
1. Patriots (13-3)
2. Chiefs (12-4)
3. Texans (12-4)
4. Ravens (10-6)
5. Chargers (11-5)
6. Broncos (10-6)
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7. Steelers (9-6-1)

We actually have it coming down to a strength-of-victory tiebreaker between Kansas City and Houston, so that’s a toss-up for the second bye. But the key is there’s no damn doubt the Patriots are getting that top seed. It’s just inevitable now. Remember, they also have the head-to-head tiebreaker with both K.C. and Houston. We also have the Ravens leapfrogging the Steelers, who have a really tough closing schedule and don’t seem right at the moment. Watch for the Broncos to beat a Chargers team that has nothing on the line in Week 17 to sneak into the playoffs after an easy run against San Francisco, Cleveland, and Oakland. That’s right, we’ve got Pittsburgh missing the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2013.

NFC right now
1. Rams (11-1)
2. Saints (10-2)
3. Bears (8-4)
4. Cowboys (7-5)
5. Seahawks (7-5)
6. Vikings (6-5-1)
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7. Eagles (6-6)
8. Redskins (6-6)
9. Panthers (6-6)
10. Buccaneers (5-7)

The Rams have no margin for error thanks to a head-to-head loss to the Saints, but they are indeed back on top. It sure looks like both of those teams are getting byes, though, and now we’ll see if Chicago can hold off Minnesota and Dallas can hold off Philadelphia. Forget about the plummeting Redskins and Panthers. We’re including the somehow-still-alive Bucs because they’re still within a game and a half of a playoff spot.

NFC projection
1. Rams (14-2)
2. Saints (13-3)
3. Bears (10-6)
4. Eagles (9-7)
5. Seahawks (10-6)
6. Vikings (9-6-1)
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7. Cowboys (9-7)

This could really go either way with the Rams and Saints, but we figure they lose one game each in the final four weeks. You just know Philly is beating the Cowboys in Dallas in Week 14, and they’re likely to have a better divisional record if they each finish 2-1 after that (very likely). Minnesota falls short of the Bears but gets in ahead of Dallas, and the Seahawks look to be locked in as a five-seed.

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 theScore.com, 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 CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.