By Fred Schawger.
What if the NFL season ended today? Seeing as that is guaranteed not to happen, it seems like a silly question. But this is where the NFL really gets exciting.
Now it’s no longer one or two matchups per week that stand out and have immediate impact. The playoff race is in full swing, and this is where teams that can do the unexpected end up in the playoffs, as opposed to others just being a feel-good first half story.
How the playoffs would look, if the season ended today:
Indianapolis Colts, AFC South (11-0)
Cincinnati Bengals, AFC North (8-3)
San Diego Chargers, AFC West (8-3)
New England Patriots, AFC East (7-4)
Denver Broncos, wildcard (7-4)
Jacksonville Jaguars, wildcard (6-5)
New Orleans Saints, NFC South (11-0)
Minnesota Vikings, NFC North (10-1)
Dallas Cowboys, NFC East (8-3)
Arizona Cardinals, NFC West (7-4)
Philadelphia Eagles, wildcard (7-4)
Green Bay Packers, wildcard (7-4)
This is a South and North season: Both conferences are topped by an undefeated team from the conference’s division for southern representatives. Indianapolis (AFC South) and New Orleans (NFC South) combine for 22-0. Right behind them are the two division leaders hailing from the “North” divisions, with Minnesota and Cincinnati (the current No. 2 seeds), combining for an 18-4 record. East (New England and Dallas) and West (San Diego and Arizona) are tied for last at 15-7...