Projecting the teams most deserving of the playoffs and ranking them heading into Week 11.
1. New England (8-1)
They need to reset after their first loss with a bye week, but Andy Reid disciples, like Eagles coach Doug Pederson, always give the Patriots’ defense fits (see: Super Bowl LII).
This week: at Philadelphia (5-4). Last week’s ranking: 2.
2. San Francisco (8-1)
Some concerning play under pressure from Jimmy Garoppolo in the loss to Seattle should give everyone some pause.
This week: vs. Arizona (3-6-1). Last week’s ranking: 1.
3. New Orleans (7-2)
Losses don’t get more pathetic and embarrassing than mustering just three field goals at home to the one-win Falcons.
This week: at Tampa Bay (3-6). Last week’s ranking: 3.
4. Green Bay (8-2)
Not sure who has the worse resume to this point between the Packers and Patriots. The Panthers at home is a signature win?
This week: Bye. Last week’s ranking: 4.
5. Baltimore (7-2)
A very confident Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson and the Texans is the definition of must-see TV.
This week: vs. Houston (6-3). Last week’s ranking: 6.
6. Seattle (8-2)
Outside of his one brutal red-zone interception, Russell Wilson’s sterling play in beating the 49ers might have won him the MVP.
This week: Bye. Last week’s ranking: 7.
7. Kansas City (6-4)
If the Chiefs fail this season, allowing Ryan Tannehill to go 61 yards in four plays in 58 seconds with no timeouts for the game-winning score will be written on their tombstone.
This week: at L.A. Chargers (4-6), Monday. Last week’s ranking: 5.
8. Houston (6-3)
If Bill Belichick’s defense couldn’t stop Lamar Jackson, does anyone think Romeo Crennel without J.J. Watt will?
This week: at Baltimore (7-2). Last week’s ranking: 8.
9. Minnesota (7-3)
Is there a more nondescript “good” team in the NFL than the Vikings? Dalvin Cook’s exploits are keeping this team viable.
This week: vs. Denver (3-5). Last week’s ranking: 9.
10. Dallas (5-4)
Story of the Jason Garrett era for the Cowboys — had 10 men on the field and all their timeouts when Vikings had their longest play of the game.
This week: at Detroit (3-5-1). Last week’s ranking: 11.
11. Raiders (5-4)
Steelers technically have the last AFC spot over Raiders and Colts, but Raiders are the better team at the moment. Injuries, with Karl Joseph the latest, becoming an issue.
This week: vs. Bengals (0-9). Last week’s ranking: Not ranked.
12. Buffalo (6-3)
The exposure of the Bills started in loss to the Browns and could continue this week against the spunky Dolphins.
This week: at Miami (2-7). Last week’s ranking: 12
Dropped out: Indianapolis (5-4).
Knocking on the door: Eagles (5-4), Steelers (5-4), Rams (5-4), Panthers (5-4), Titans (5-5).