The 2020 NFL season his hitting its homestretch as Thanksgiving approaches, but this NFL season still feels as wide open as it ever has been. There does not seem to be a single standout favorite, and there are not even many division races that seem like one team is going to run away with it.
Today we take a look at the state of each division, and see where each race stands with seven weeks to play.
The NFC East is a disaster this season. The Philadelphia Eagles currently lead the division with a 3-5-1 record, and they look even worse on the field than their record would suggest. In Week 10 the Eagles fell to the New York Giants in a terrible game, as New York got to 3-7 as well, tying Philadelphia in wins thus far.
Do not count out the other two teams in the division either, despite the fact that both have started three or more different quarterbacks this season.
The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team are both 2-7. Dallas’ defense has struggled all season, and their offense has shriveled up since quarterback Dak Prescott went down with a season ending injury earlier in the season. Washington has one of the worst rosters in football. Somehow, both of these teams are a hot run of games away from a division title.
The West is the polar opposite of their counterparts out east. The division has three teams with 6-3 records, and the fourth is the defending division title winner who played in the Super Bowl last season. The latter of the group, the San Francisco 49ers, are likely out of the race at 4-6 as injuries have devastated them, but it is anyone's game for the NFC West title.
Russell Wilson has the Seattle Seahawks looking like a Super Bowl contender on a good day, but Seattle’s defense is among the worst in the NFL—maybe among the worst ever. The Los Angeles Rams are coming off of a huge win against Seattle to get to 6-3, but they are one of the more inconsistent teams in the league, and quarterback Jared Goff has a tendency to play worse as the weather gets colder.
And then there is the ultimate wild card, the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray’s squad got to 6-3 off of a miracle this week, defeating the Buffalo Bills on a last second hail mary catch by DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals are not quite the stacked top to bottom team you would expect to compete in the playoffs, but with stars like Murray, Hopkins and Budda Baker on defense, they have a chance to take down anyone on any given Sunday.
Even with the 49ers faltering, the NFC West still the best division in the league.
The Bills are 7-3 and being led by quarterback Josh Allen, who looks like he is finally realizing his potential. While the defense has taken a step back this season, the offense with Allen and star receiver Stefon Diggs has been good enough to make up for their failings and then some.
Miami is the NFL’s surprise contender this season. The Dolphins have won four straight, and five of the last six, to reach a 6-3 record. They are 2-0 since rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took over under center for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. While the rookie has not been perfect, he is clearly growing into the role and should only get better as the season continues.
Buffalo and Miami meet in Week 17 for a match up that may decide the AFC East, a sentence that would feel crazy to write only a week ago.
The Green Bay Packers (7-2) are two and a half games ahead of the Chicago Bears (5-5) — who have cooled off after a hot 5-1 start to the season. Their divisional lead feels relatively safe, though they still have to meet the Bears twice this season.
It is a two-horse race down south between the two oldest quarterbacks in the league. Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints (7-2) have already defeated Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) twice this year, and the second of the two games was a total beat down. Still, the Bucs are only a half game behind their rivals and could easily jump a top the division if the Saints slip up down the stretch. With Brees currently injured, that could certainly happen.
The Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) have a two-game lead on the Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) in the AFC West, though that one loss did end up coming against Las Vegas. The defending Super Bowl champions have a real chance at repeating this season, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes may win his second MVP honor in three years. The Raiders and Chiefs meet this week, with a chance for Las Vegas to play their way back into the divisional race.
The AFC North has three incredibly talented teams that could all compete in the playoffs, but the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0) might be so far ahead of the Baltimore Ravens (6-3) and Cleveland Browns (6-3) that no one can catch them. They have already notched wins against both of their divisional rivals, and despite doubts around them after a less-than-stellar win over the Cowboys, it does not look like the Steelers will let anyone catch them.
With the Houston Texans out of the picture, it is a two-team race in the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts (6-3) defeated the Tennessee Titans (6-3) in a blowout. The victory gives the Colts the lead in the division, but the Titans could snag the lead right back when the teams face off once again in Week 12.