A flurry of upsets and two major developments off the field scrambled the playoff races as the teams neared the halfway mark after eight weeks of play.
Tennessee seemed a lock to win the AFC South after it beat the Colts but then learned after the game that Derrick Henry will undergo foot surgery and be lost for the rest of the regular season. The Titans signed Adrian Peterson to see if he has something left in the tank.
But the Titans are no longer a lock despite their three game lead over the Colts.
Meanwhile, the Rams gave up second- and third-round picks next year to trade for Von Miller to add him to a defense that already includes Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald.
It remains to be seen whether Miller is still at the top of his game. The Rams are tossing draft picks around like confetti because they are all in trying to win this season.
The Rams are tied in the NFC West with Arizona at 7-1. Green Bay has the same record in the NFC North but it has a three-game lead. Dallas, after beating Minnesota Sunday, has a 6-1 mark but a four-game lead in the NFC East.
So the Packers and Cowboys seem locks to win their division races while the Rams and Cardinals are likely to both make the playoffs, one as a division winner and the other as a wild card team.
So at the eight-week mark, here is a look at the two conference races:
Four teams — Tennessee, Buffalo, Baltimore and Las Vegas — are all 5-2 with Buffalo having a two-game lead over the surprising Patriots. Baltimore is a game ahead of Cincinnati after the Bengals were stunned by the Jets and the Raiders are a game up in the loss column over the Chargers, who were upset by the Patriots, and two games up on the Chiefs, who struggled to beat the Giants on Monday night.
The Titans’ fate depends on how they overcome the loss of Henry and whether the Colts can regroup and Carson Wentz stops throwing interceptions.
There are three 4-3 teams, Chargers, Steelers and Bengals who will be looking for wild card spots if they don’t win their division race. The four 4-4 teams, Browns, Patriots, Chiefs and Broncos, have uphill climbs trying to get wild card spots, and the Broncos appeared to write off this year when they traded Miller.
Only six teams have winning records and seven make the playoffs. Four teams, Cowboys, Packers, Arizona and Rams all have one loss and Bucs and Saints have two.
Assuming those six get in, there will be a wild race for the seventh slot.
Three teams have four losses and four have five losses and one has to get in because seven teams make the playoffs.
It is the downside of having seven teams in the playoffs. Even a team with a losing record can make it.