Projected Final Standings:
1. Houston Texans
The Texans have a relatively easy schedule ahead of them, and they have the best chances of earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Texans likely field the most complete and balanced team in the NFL, and when both sides of the ball are clicking, the Texans are nearly unstoppable.
2. New England Patriots
Why do I have the Patriots finishing over the Ravens? The Ravens have severe injury issues on their defense, and the anemic Joe Flacco cannot be depended upon to lead the Ravens to victory on a week to week basis. Brady, however, also has an easy schedule ahead of him, and if he and his team can manage to defeat the Texans or the 49ers, then it is extremely probable that they will jump ahead of the Ravens in the standings.
3. Baltimore Ravens
As mentioned above, I believe the Ravens' injuries to Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb on defense will stymie their chances of earning a bye. They still have a good enough team, though, to finish high in the AFC standings.
4. Denver Broncos
The Broncos, like the Patriots, have a very, very good chance of surpassing the Ravens in the standings. Peyton Manning is playing like the Manning of old, and if he keeps up his stellar play, there is an excellent chance that he will lead the Broncos to a much better place in the standings than where I have them right now.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers, like the Texans, have a very complete football team. If they did not play in the AFC North, then they would likely not be forced to duke it out with other prospective wild-card teams.
6. Indianapolis Colts
The surprise team of the season so far is who I have earning the final wild-card slot. The Colts have already amazingly jumped out to a 5-3 record, though many experts had predicted them to finish with even fewer wins on the entire season. The Colts have an extremely competitive team driven by their desire to win, and they will be a force to be dealt with very soon.