Week 8 is rapidly coming to a close and over a third of NFL teams have passed through the halfway mark of their schedule. We’ve got a long way to go until the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, but the playoff picture is starting to come into focus.
The NFL is expanding the playoff pool this year, adding a wild card team to each conference to bring the total to 14 teams. The No. 1 seed in each conference will get a first round bye. The opening round will feature the three division winners facing the three wild card winners (2/7, 3/6, 4/5).
The big game of Sunday saw the Steelers outlast the Ravens and remain unbeaten. Pittsburgh now has a firm two-game lead in the AFC North with a win in hand over Baltimore. Meanwhile, the Titans lost a stunner to the Bengals and has dropped into a first place tie with the Colts in the AFC South. Over in the NFC, Seattle moved a full game up on Arizona in the West and the Eagles added some padding to their lead in the East.
We have a host of huge matchups in Week 9, notably opening with the 49ers hosting the Packers and Sunday closing with the Bucs hosting the Saints. In between we get Ravens-Colts, Seahawks-Bills, and Bears-Titans. All could have significant playoff implications.
Here’s a look at what the playoff picture looks like heading into Monday Night Football to close out Week 8.