NFL Division winner predictions


Arjun Srivatsa, Samuel Du, and William Li


East: Philadelphia Eagles 

The race for the highly contentious NFC East division playoff spot is currently between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys with a shared record of 6-7. The Cowboys’ loss to the Bears in Week 14 demonstrated key flaws within their defense. Much of their confidence has been lost and their chances of making the playoffs are slim, as they have to win all their upcoming games against some good teams like the Rams If they suffer a single loss in the coming weeks, their chances for securing a playoff spot drop significantly. The Eagles, however, have an easier path forward, having to face off against lower-ranked opponents like the Redskins. As they play the Cowboys at home, this game could be a possible tiebreaker, giving the Eagles a chance to take over the NFC East. 


NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

Similar to the situation in the NFC East, the race for the West is between two closely -ranked teams in the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. Though both teams are highly ranked, the 49ers hold the superior record of 11-2. The Seahawks are directly behind, with a record of 10-3. Going forward however, the 49ers have a tougher schedule than the Seahawks as the 49ers have to face the Rams while the Seahawks face the Cardinals. Each team must win all of their games to clinch the playoffs, and for the 49ers, the Rams could pose a major obstacle for their hopes for the playoffs. The biggest game for each team would be their last games because they face off against each other and it could possibly serve as a tie-breaker. In that game, the Seahawks have home-field advantage providing them a slight upper hand over the 49ers.


NFC North: Minnesota Vikings

The race for the North is again between two teams: the Vikings and Packers. The Packers are currently in defensive slump, along with having a tough time moving the rock down the field, but they’re still at the top of the North with a record of 10-3. The Vikings, who have played much more consistently than the Packers, are right behind them with a record of 9-4. It’s vital for each team to win all their games, especially the Vikings as they have a lower record than the Packers. However, both teams have a tough schedule as both teams have to face the Bears. Taking on the Packers at home will be an important game as it could break their tie and give the Vikings the top position. The Lions are an unpredictable team and may upset the Packers. Ultimately, it will all boil down to the team who has the most confidence and momentum, which are the Bears, but because they are too behind in this race, it would have to default to the Vikings. 


NFC South: New Orleans Saints

Unlike the other three regions in the NFC, the South has a team which has already clinched the top position in their conference and a spot in the playoffs in the New Orleans Saints. They lack major competition as the other 3 teams in their conference (the Panthers, Falcons, and Buccaneers) have consistently dealt with many problems ranging from injuries to a complete collapse of offensive and defensive systems.



East: New England Patriots

Since the beginning of the season, it was clear that the Patriots would clinch the top spot of the AFC East. However, after some offensive issues and a couple of bad losses, the race for the top spot has become much closer between the Patriots and the Bills. The Patriots still hold the top spot of the East with a record of 10-3, while the Bills have a record of 9-4. The Patriots have to take on the Bengals, who have the worst record in the NFL. Another one of their remaining games is against the Dolphins, sporting a 3-10 record, the third worst in the NFL. The Patriots have an easier path to the top position compared to the Bills as they have to take on two lower-ranked teams which have struggled to get wins. On top of that, the Patriots also host the Bills in Week 16 and the result of that game will determine which team will take the East, and in their last meeting the Patriots came out on top. As the Patriots have home-field advantage in a divisional game and an easier schedule than the Bills, they should have enough to remain at the top. 


West: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have already clinched the top position of the AFC West and, thus, guaranteed a seed in the playoffs. The Raiders are behind the Chiefs by three games and it will be close to impossible for the Raiders to win all their games and the Chiefs to win theirs. The Broncos and the Chargers are currently competing for the third spot in the division and their records are at 5-8. The Chiefs have to take on the Broncos, Bears, and Chargers.


North: Baltimore Ravens 

With the addition of the Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have completely surprised many NFL fans. They have the best record in the league of 11-2, allowing the Ravens to clinch a position in the playoffs. However, they haven’t clinched their division as they have previously lost to the Steelers and there is a slim possibility for the Steelers to win all three of their games and the Ravens to lose all of theirs. The Ravens have to take on the Jets, Browns, and Steelers next. The second biggest surprise is the comeback of the Steelers. After a very slow start, they started to come back and currently have a record of 8-5 with a chance to secure a wildcard spot and perhaps even the division. 


South: Houston Texans

The Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans are currently tied for the highest record in the South with 8 wins and 5 losses. In other divisions they have two teams in the race for the top spot, and it all comes down to their last divisional game against each other. However, in the AFC South, though it is two teams competing for the division, these two teams have two games left against each other. Excluding their divisional games, the Texans have an easier schedule than the Titans as they have to take on the Saints. The Texans, on the other hand take on the Buccaneers. It’s vital for both teams to win all their games, but in the case of the Titans, it would be very tough for them to defeat the Saints. So it will come down to the two games against each other and the winner of those games will continue on to the playoffs. However, because the Titans play the Texans at home, they have a better chance of winning, but the following week, their odds of winning fall significantly, while the Texans eye a relatively easy matchup against the Bucs. After these two weeks, these two teams will likely share the same record, and it will come down to the very last game to determine the winner of this division. But as this game is being held at Houston, the Texans would have home-field advantage which should be enough for them to secure a win and regain their top position in the South.