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Welcome to the halfway point of the 2023 NFL season. Week 10 kicked off with the Chicago Bears defeating the Carolina Panthers 16-13, but that outcome did not affect the playoff picture we all should be paying attention to.

In the AFC, all four teams in the AFC North would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. As for the NFC side of things, the San Francisco 49ers are back in front in the NFC West, and the New Orleans Saints have claimed the top spot in the wide-open NFC South. How could the top seven seeds in each conference change over the next nine weeks?

Below, we will take a look at the current playoff picture, and then discuss some bubble teams. Who is currently on the outside looking in that will make the playoffs? And who is currently in that won't be when the regular season is over? 

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook

AFC Playoff PictureNFC Playoff Picture

1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2) 1st in AFC West

1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) 1st in NFC East

2. Baltimore Ravens (7-2) 1st AFC North

2. Detroit Lions (6-2) 1st in NFC North

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-2) 1st in AFC South

3. San Francisco 49ers (5-3) 1st in NFC West

4. Miami Dolphins (6-3) 1st in AFC East

4. New Orleans Saints (5-4) 1st in NFC South

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) 2nd in AFC North

5. Seattle Seahawks (5-3) 2nd in NFC West

6. Cleveland Browns (5-3) 3rd in AFC North

6. Dallas Cowboys (5-3) 2nd in NFC East

7. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) 4th in AFC North

7. Minnesota Vikings (5-4) 2nd in NFC North

On the bubbleOn the bubble

8. Buffalo Bills (5-4) 2nd in AFC East

8. Washington Commanders (4-5) 3rd in NFC East

9. Houston Texans (4-4) 2nd in AFC South

9. Atlanta Falcons (4-5) 2nd in NFC South

10. Los Angeles Chargers (4-4) 2nd in AFC West

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) 3rd in NFC South

11. New York Jets (4-4) 3rd in AFC East

11. Green Bay Packers (3-5) 3rd in NFC North

12. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) 3rd in AFC South

12. Los Angeles Rams (3-6) 3rd in NFC West

13. Las Vegas Raiders (4-5) 3rd in AFC West

13. Chicago Bears (3-7) 4th in NFC North

14. Tennessee Titans (3-5) 4th in AFC South

14.  New York Giants (2-7) 4th in NFC East

15. Denver Broncos (3-5) 4th in AFC West

15. Arizona Cardinals (1-8) 4th in NFC West

16. New England Patriots (2-7) 4th in AFC East

16. Carolina Panthers (1-8) 4th in NFC South


No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) 2nd in AFC North

The Steelers are the first team in NFL history with a winning record through eight games despite being outgained in each contest. Mike Tomlin is one of the best in the business, and this defense -- while not statistically elite -- possesses plenty of talent. They don't look like a 5-3 team, but the fact is that they own the top wild card spot in the AFC halfway through the season. They are similar to last year's Vikings team, as the Steelers have now won eight straight one-score games. 

It would be easier to have more confidence in this team if the offense wasn't the fourth-worst unit in the NFL. How often does a team averaging 16.6 points per game make the postseason? Looking at Pittsburgh's schedule, it's possible the Steelers finish 9-8, and should be right on the bubble. The Steelers have an interesting matchup with the Packers this week, the Browns in Week 11 and the Bengals twice -- including in Week 12. The end of the regular season is going to be pivotal, as Pittsburgh plays Cincinnati, Seattle and Baltimore to close out the year. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes +120/No -150
  • Prediction: No playoff berth

No. 6 Cleveland Browns (5-3) 3rd in AFC North

The Browns kept their head above water to say the least without Deshaun Watson in the lineup. They handed the 49ers their first loss of the season, and won a thriller in Indianapolis. The $230 million man returned last Sunday, and threw two touchdowns in a blowout victory over the Cardinals. How Watson performs is still the X-factor for this team, but the defense is why Cleveland is currently in the playoffs. 

The Browns defense is one of the best units in the league. The 234.8 yards allowed per game ranks best since the 1991 Eagles, their 12.7% sack rate is the highest since the 2000 Saints, the third-down percentage of 26% is the best since the 2019 Patriots and the three-and-out percentage of 56.6% is the best since at least 2000. Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Myles Garrett is a huge reason for their success as he has become the most-feared pass rusher in the NFL this year. I'll take this team to make the playoffs. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes -175/No +150 
  • Prediction: Playoff berth

No. 7 Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) 4th in AFC North

Everyone would take the Bengals to make the playoffs today. Joe Burrow and the boys shook off a 1-3 start to win four straight games, including contests over the Seahawks, 49ers and Bills. Cincy is known for hot streaks late in the year, as the Bengals are 9-0 from November to January since the start of last season. That's tied for the best mark with the 49ers. 

The Bengals have the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL, according to Tankathon, but their system classifies the Steelers and Vikings as "tough opponents," which could be subjective. I'm taking the Bengals to retain their playoff spot. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes -300/No +240 
  • Prediction: Playoff berth

No. 8 Buffalo Bills (5-4) 2nd in AFC East

The Bills have struggled through the first stage of the 2023 season, but are they due for a bounce-back second half? Josh Allen has thrown an interception in five straight games, and Buffalo has struggled away from home. The Bills are 4-0 in Buffalo, and 1-4 on the road or in London. They are averaging 16.7 more points scored at home compared to on the road. 

The defense has been a major talking point, but the Bills allow just 17.8 points per game, which ranks No. 5 in the NFL. Sure, I wish Matt Milano, DaQuan Jones and Tre'Davious White were healthy, but Rasul Douglas could be one of the most important trade-deadline additions. The Bills have not missed the postseason since 2018, and while they haven't looked great, I'll take them to find a way in. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes -125/No +105 
  • Prediction: Playoff berth


No. 4 New Orleans Saints (5-4) 1st in NFC South

We didn't talk about a division leader in the AFC, but I want to talk about the Saints briefly. They are in the division lead after the Falcons suffered two straight upset losses, and the way the schedule lines up, I think Derek Carr and Co. hold onto this No. 4 spot. 

New Orleans' defense is still a top-10 unit, and the Saints don't face another "star quarterback" for the rest of the regular season. Jared Goff and maybe Matthew Stafford are the best, with others such as Bryce Young, Tommy DeVito and Taylor Heinicke/Desmond Ridder thrown in. I don't view the Saints as Super Bowl contenders, but I think they beat out the Falcons for the NFC South crown. Tankathon says the Saints and Falcons have the easiest remaining schedules, and if you look at the opponents, I would argue New Orleans' is easier. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes -325/No +250 
  • Prediction: Playoff berth

No. 5 Seattle Seahawks (5-3) 2nd in NFC West

I'm not going to overreact to the Seahawks' terrible loss to the Ravens. Baltimore is a top-three team, while the Seahawks are not. That doesn't mean they are "bad." The Lions got destroyed in Baltimore, too, but they are going to win the NFC North. 

Once again, Seattle's young talent is going to carry the Seahawks to a wild-card spot. Rookie wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba accounted for 63 of Seattle's 157 receiving yards last week, and rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon is allowing 4.1 yards per attempt when targeted in coverage, which is second best in the NFL behind Jaylon Johnson of the Bears. 

Seattle's remaining schedule is very middle of the road, but it hasn't faced San Francisco yet. Still, I'll take Geno Smith, Kenneth Walker and the defense that just added Leonard Williams in the middle to make the playoffs. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes -325/No +250 
  • Prediction: Playoff berth

No. 6 Dallas Cowboys (5-3) 2nd in NFC East

The Cowboys have the No. 10 offense, No. 3 scoring offense, No. 3 defense and No. 6 scoring defense. Dak Prescott had a solid game against Philly last week, but how the contest ended, of course, is the headline. Dallas had three scoreless drives in the fourth quarter that ended inside the Eagles' 30-yard line, and the Cowboys outgained the Eagles by 149 yards in that final quarter. Dallas lost by five points.

Are the Cowboys the same team they've been over the past few years, where they win plenty of regular-season games but can't put together a playoff run? That's to be determined, but Dallas should make the playoffs. Just look at those odds below. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes -2000/No +1000 
  • Prediction: Playoff berth

No. 7 Minnesota Vikings (5-4) 2nd in NFC North

The legend of Joshua Dobbs was born last week. The recently acquired quarterback led a game-winning drive to defeat the Falcons in Atlanta, even though he was with his new team for just five days! Dobbs didn't know his teammates and didn't know the playbook, but it didn't even matter. I think he's a great addition to a team that didn't want to completely give up on the season with Kirk Cousins going down, but can he carry Minnesota to the postseason? That would be the story of the year. 

The Vikings are one of just four NFL teams to have scored at least 17 points in every game this season, but they have an interesting stretch coming up with the Saints at home, and then the Broncos in Denver in prime time. The Vikings also haven't played the Lions yet this season, which is a tough matchup. I'm going to say the Vikings end up losing their playoff spot, but maybe counting Dobbs out is foolish. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes +120/No -150 
  • Prediction: No playoff berth

No. 9 Atlanta Falcons (4-5) 2nd in NFC South 

So, we have the Seahawks and Cowboys taking two of the three wild-card spots in the NFC. Who takes the third? This final playoff spot could potentially come down to the Falcons or Commanders. If it does, I'm siding with Atlanta. Wouldn't that be something? Heinicke vying for a postseason spot against his former team? 

Why do I like the Falcons more even after they lost to the Commanders a couple weeks ago? Well, Tankathon says they have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, and there's no doubt their division is easier. Sam Howell is an underrated quarterback, but his offensive line has struggled to protect him, and Washington's schedule includes five matchups with teams currently above .500. Washington has defeated a team above .500 just one time all year. 

  • Odds to make playoffs: Yes +110/No -140 
  • Prediction: Playoff berth