The 2018 NFL regular season has reached its home stretch, with each team down to its final three games. Some races are over, but many are just heating up.

With that in mind, let’s break down the playoff picture following Week 14 action.

AFC right now
1. Chiefs (11-2)
2. Patriots (9-4)
3. Texans (9-4)
4. Steelers (7-5-1)
5. Chargers (10-3)
6. Ravens (7-6)
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7. Dolphins (7-6)
8. Colts (7-6)
9. Titans (7-6)
10. Broncos (6-7)

The Chiefs are in control but have lost to the Patriots so that’s not in the bag yet. The other three division leaders all lost in Week 14, but only the Steelers are really in jeopardy. Baltimore is going to have a strong chance to take that division down the stretch. The loser of the Baltimore-Pittsburgh race will battle Miami, Indianapolis, and Tennessee for the second wild-card spot behind the Chargers, who appear locked in as the No. 5 seed unless they beat the Chiefs in Kansas City on Thursday night.

AFC projection
1. Chiefs (13-3)
2. Patriots (12-4)
3. Texans (11-5)
4. Ravens (9-7)
5. Chargers (11-5)
6. Titans (9-7)
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7. Colts (9-7)
8. Steelers (8-7-1)

Kansas City will probably win Thursday and cruise to the top seed, while an angry New England should beat Pittsburgh and then finish off the Bills and Jets to grab the other bye. Baltimore should indeed leapfrog the Steelers, who will likely lose to the Pats and Saints, while I’m envisioning a Tennessee home victory over Indy in Week 17 giving the Titans that No. 6 seed. Adios, Steelers.

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

Sure feels like these six teams are locked in, although there’s still a chance for the Panthers, Eagles, Redskins, or Packers to run the table and steal one of those wild-card spots. Problem is all of those teams have been moving in the wrong direction. The key is the race for the top seed, although the byes look to be pretty secure and Chicago and Dallas are basically cemented in those other two spots.

NFC projection
1. Saints (14-2)
2. Rams (14-2)
3. Bears (11-5)
4. Cowboys (9-7)
5. Seahawks (11-5)
6. Vikings (9-6-1)

The Saints and Rams should be able to win out. The Cowboys could stumble but the rest of that division ain’t catching up, meaning the NFC East will go a 14th consecutive season without a repeat champion. Seattle’s Monday night win basically locks it into the No. 5 spot, while the Vikings are still pretty safe. Vikings-Bears and Seahawks-Cowboys would make for a fun NFC wild-card weekend.

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.