We're near the halfway point of the NFL season, which means the playoff picture is slowly starting to come into focus.
To be clear, there's plenty of football left to be played and Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans don't need to be reminded of how quickly things can change. The Bucs started the season 3-1 and owned sole possession of first place in the NFC South, but are 0-3 since their bye week and have been outscored 60-37.
All of that has sunk the Bucs hopes of running away with the division, as the team dropped to third place after the way things ended up in Week 8. Atlanta lost, but the Saints won which means the NFC South remains wide open.
The good news is that means the Bucs are still very much alive, but the bad news is the team is trending in the wrong direction.
Updated NFC Playoff Picture after Week 8
Tampa Bay's loss on Thursday night, combined with the rest of Sunday's results, dropped them out of the playoff picture. It's still a bit wonky to figure everything out since not every team has gone a bye week yet, which is making the difference between the Bucs and teams like the Saints and Vikings.
Minnesota leaped the Bucs to jump into the final Wild Card spot, but the Saints are still on the outside looking in. The first place Falcons are the only NFC South team in the playoffs right now, but they're tied with New Orleans at 4-4 and only a game up on Tampa Bay.
Here's how things stack up right now in the NFC.
- Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)
- Seattle Seahawks (5-2)
- Detroit Lions (5-2)
- Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
- Dallas Cowboys (5-2)
- San Francisco 49ers (5-3)
- Minnesota Vikings (4-4)
Minnesota is a prime example of a team that hasn't gone on its bye week complicating the standings. The Bucs have the tiebreaker, so if both teams end up tied at the end of the season Tampa Bay leaps the Vikings. Because Minnesota has played one more game than the Bucs, the math works out that they get the No. 7 seed right now -- which will obviously change once more of the season is played.
Tampa Bay isn't the only team that is on a three-game losing streak. San Francisco has lost its last three games, something that flipped the NFC West standings. Tampa Bay heads out west to face the 49ers in three weeks -- so buckle up for that.
The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions still need to play, but neither of those games will have much of an impact on the Bucs standing.
Updated AFC Playoff Picture after Week 8
Since we're talking playoffs, things in the AFC got a little crazy this weekend as well. Take what is happening in the NFC South and throw good teams into the mix and you have a perfect picture of what's happening with the AFC Playoff Picture.
The Kansas City Chiefs lost in Denver -- which was the first road divisional loss of Patrick Mahomes' career -- which tightens the race for the No. 1 seed. Miami and Jacksonville both won convincingly, while the Ravens and Bills aren't far behind.
Buffalo is just a game behind Miami for the AFC East lead, and
- Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)
- Miami Dolphins (6-2)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2)
- Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
- Buffalo Bills (5-3)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
- Cleveland Browns (4-3)
Cleveland has the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals -- two arguably better teams -- right on its heels for that No. 7 seed in the AFC.