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What Week 8 means for the 2020 NFL playoff picture

The playoff picture is slowly rounding into form as October ends. We break down what the playoff picture looks like heading into Week 8, and what the schedule offers.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season is now approaching the halfway point, and though we’re not quite to the point of talking about teams locking down spots or being eliminated from playoff contention, the races are starting to take shape. Remember too, that there’s an extra postseason spot for teams this year, making the playoff race that much more interesting to watch as we get into the back half of the 2020 season.

One game that could go along way toward shaping the final picture in the AFC is Sunday’s is the divisional matchup between the Steelers and the Ravens. The last undefeated squad in the NFL, a win would give Pittsburgh a big edge toward winning the AFC North, while keeping them in the top seed. If the Ravens win, they’ll take the lead in the division, which would make their Thanksgiving Day rematch a potentially deciding game.

The Chiefs could jump into the top spot this week if the Steelers lose. Kansas City is virtually guaranteed a win against the Jets on Sunday.

Another pivotal game in the AFC is the Raiders at Browns. With the Colts favored to beat the Lions, a Browns loss would drop them into the seventh spot, with the Raiders close behind at 4-3 in that scenario. The Chargers really need to beat their Broncos this weekend too, if they’re going to stay in the chase. Ditto the Dolphins who face the Rams this week.

If the Packers can’t beat the Vikings (unlikely, but just in case) the Buccaneers have a chance to vault into the No. 1 seed with what should be an easy win over the Giants on Monday night. That would also depend what happens between the 49ers and Seahawks. If Seattle and Green Bay both win, the top two seeds stay the same, for now. If Seattle can’t beat San Francisco, the NFC West race could be thrown into chaos, especially if the Rams beat the Dolphins. If that happens, Los Angeles would take the lead in the division with Arizona on a bye.

AFC playoff picture

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-0 — @ Ravens
2. Kansas City Chiefs: 6-1 — vs. Jets
3. Tennessee Titans: 5-1 — @ Bengals
4. Buffalo Bills: 5-2 — vs. New England
5. Baltimore Ravens: 5-1 — vs. Steelers
6. Cleveland Browns: 5-2 — vs. Raiders
7. Indianapolis Colts: 4-3 — @ Lions

In the hunt: Miami Dolphins (3-3), Las Vegas Raiders (3-3), Los Angeles Chargers (2-4), Denver Broncos (2-4), New England Patriots (2-4)

Patriots (2-4) @ Bills (5-2)
Raiders (3-3) @ Browns (5-2)
Colts (4-2) @ Lions (3-3)
Rams (5-2) @ Dolphins (3-3)
Steelers (6-0) @ Ravens (5-1)
Chargers (2-4) @ Broncos (2-4)

NFC playoff picture

1. Green Bay Packers: 5-1 — vs. Vikings
2. Seattle Seahawks: 5-1 — vs. 49ers
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-2 — @ Giants
4. Philadelphia Eagles: 2-4-1 — vs. Cowboys
5. Chicago Bears: 5-2 — vs. Saints
6. Arizona Cardinals: 5-2 — BYE
7. Los Angeles Rams: 5-2 — @ Dolphins

In the hunt: New Orleans Saints (4-2), San Francisco 49ers (4-3), Detroit Lions (3-3)

Colts (4-2) @ Lions (3-3)
Rams (5-2) @ Dolphins (3-3)
Saints (4-2) @ Bears (5-2)
49ers (4-3) @ Seahawks (5-1)