Before the season began, I predicted the records for all 32 teams, with playoff standings and results predicted accordingly. I had some exact hits, some close predictions, and some flat-out wrong ones.

Here’s a sneak preview of the laughably wrong ones: I had the Chicago Bears beating the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game. I couldn’t have been much more off in that regard.

For all eight divisions, I’ll re-count my preseason prediction, show the current standings, and offer my updated prediction for how the standings will finish. Which teams will make a playoff push in the season’s second half, and which teams will fade away?

AFC East

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Can the Patriots can 16-0? Yes. Will they? I’m not sure. (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Preseason Prediction

  1. New England Patriots (12-4) (2nd seed)
  2. New York Jets (7-9)
  3. Buffalo Bills (5-11)
  4. Miami Dolphins (2-14)

Current Standings

  1. New England Parriots (8-0) (1st seed)
  2. Buffalo Bills (5-2) (5th seed)
  3. New York Jets (1-6)
  4. Miami Dolphins (0-7)

Updated Prediction

  1. New England Patriots (14-2) (1st seed)
  2. Buffalo Bills (9-7) (6th seed)
  3. New York Jets (3-13)
  4. Miami Dolphins (1-15)

The New England Patriots are dominating the AFC East as expected, but I didn’t see them being undefeated this far into the season. Then again, maybe I didn’t pay attention to who they’d be playing in those eight weeks.

The Buffalo Bills have exceeded expectations, though they have some offensive concerns. I see them sputtering to the finish but still wining nearly half their games, going 4-5 the rest of the way. It could be enough for a playoff berth depending on the rest of the conference shakes out.

I overrated the New York Jets, thinking they’d be semi-competitive with 7 wins. Sam Darnold’s absence played a big role, but this team isn’t all that good right now. Same goes for the Miami Dolphins: who may not finish winless?

AFC North

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It’s Lamar Jackson’s division to lose, and I don’t think he will. (Photo: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports)

Preseason Prediction

  1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) (3rd seed)
  2. Cleveland Browns (10-6) (6th seed)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)

Current Standings

  1. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) (3rd seed)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4)
  3. Cleveland Browns (2-5)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)

Updated Prediction

  1. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) (2nd seed)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-10)
  3. Cleveland Browns (5-11)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (1-5)

The Baltimore Ravens cruise to an AFC North title, with no other teams finishing above .500. A fiesty Pittsburgh Steelers team has emerged in Ben Roethlisberger’s absence, but it won’t be nearly enough to challenge Baltimore in the standings. I was way too high on the Cleveland Browns: and the worst thing is I knew it. I thought 10 wins was “tampering expectations.”

Nailed the prediction of the Cincinnati Bengals being one of the worst teams in the NFL.

AFC South

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Can the Colts stay atop a tightly contested AFC South? (Photo: via Indy Star.com)

Preseason Prediction

  1. Houston Texans (10-6) (4th seed)
  2. Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)
  4. Tennessee Titans (5-11)

Current Standings

  1. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) (2nd seed)
  2. Houston Texans (5-3) (6th seed)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
  4. Tennessee Titans (4-4)

Updated Prediction

  1. Indianapolis Colts (10-6) (3rd seed)
  2. Houston Texans (9-7) (5th seed)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)
  4. Tennessee Titans (6-10)

The AFC South is the tightest division in football, with all four teams holding four to five wins. The Indianapolis Colts are in the driver’s seat, but the Houston Texans can still challenge for the crown. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans could claim the automatic playoff berth with a strong second half to the season. I don’t see it, but I also didn’t see either team starting 4-4.

I have the Colts holding on to the division’s best record, but the Texans also qualifying for the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

AFC West

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The Chargers have failed to live up to expectations they set for themselves last season. (Photo: via BsnDenver.com)

Preseason Prediction

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) (1st seed)
  2. Los Angeles Chargers (11-5) (5th seed)
  3. Denver Broncos (7-9)
  4. Oakland Raiders (4-12)

Current Standings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) (4th seed)
  2. Oakland Raiders (3-4)
  3. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)
  4. Denver Broncos (2-6)

Updated Prediction

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) (4th seed)
  2. Los Angeles Chargers (6-10)
  3. Oakland Raiders (5-11)
  4. Denver Broncos (4-12)

The Kansas City Chiefs suffered a scare with Patrick Mahommes knee injury, but are still firmly in control of the AFC West. I vastly overrated the Los Angeles Chargers, though in the season’s second half I have them elevating to second place in the division. But while I once thought the AFC West would send two teams to the playoffs, now the division winner is likely to be the 3rd or 4th seed.

NFC East

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The winner of the NFC East will be decided in the season’s final weeks, and one more head-to-head matchup. (Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Preseason Prediction

  1. Dallas Cowboys (10-6) (4th seed)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
  3. New York Giants (6-10)
  4. Washington Redskins (6-10)

Current Standings

  1. Dallas Cowboys (4-3) (4th seed)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
  3. New York Giants (2-6)
  4. Washington Redskins (1-7)

Updated Prediction

  1. Dallas Cowboys (9-7) (4th seed)
  2. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
  3. New York Giants (5-11)
  4. Washington Redskins (2-14)

The preseason predictions match the current standings, which match the updated prediction, which matches the 2018-19 standings for the NFC East. Not much movement at all. At the top is the Dallas Cowboys, good enough to beat anyone but not consistent enough. The Philadelphia Eagles are in a similar boat, but with even less margin for error. The Eagles and Cowboys should be fighting down to the wire for the division crown and conference’s 4th seed.

The New York Giants are pretty mediocre, and 0-4 in their lasy four games, and the Washington Redskins are just flat-out bad.

NFC North

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The Packers have taken the NFC North by storm, while the defending champion Bears are struggling to stay afloat. (Photo: USA Today)

Preseason Prediction

  1. Chicago Bears (11-5) (3rd seed)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
  3. Green Bay Packers (8-8)
  4. Detroit Lions (6-10)

Current Standings

  1. Green Bay Packers (7-1) (3rd seed)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (6-2) (6th seed)
  3. Detroit Lions (3-3-1)
  4. Chicago Bears (3-4)

Updated Prediction

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-3) (2nd seed)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (12-4) (5th seed)
  3. Chicago Bears (8-8)
  4. Detroit Lions (7-9)

What a tough division. The Green Bay Packers only have one loss: but would be the third seed in the NFC if the season ended today. The Minnesota Vikings have just two losses, but would be the NFC’s 6th seed.

I expect the standings to pretty much hold, with the Chicago Bears perhaps finishing higher than the Detroit Lions. I wouldn’t count on anything special from the Bears, who were embarrassingly my preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. I knew the defense would be good, but I thought the offense would be able to do enough to support consistent winning.

NFC South

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The Saints are running away with the NFC South, and are very in play for the NFC’s top seed. (Photo: Derick E. Hingle)

Preseason Prediction

  1. New Orleans Saints (12-4) (2nd seed)
  2. Atlanta Falcons (11-5) (5th seed)
  3. Carolina Panthers (7-9)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)

Current Standings

  1. New Orleans Saints (7-1) (2nd seed)
  2. Carolina Panthers (4-3)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (1-7)

Updated Prediction

  1. New Orleans Saints (14-2) (1st seed)
  2. Carolina Panthers (9-7)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (2-14)

I had, and still have, the New Orleans Saints as the best team in the NFC South. I was wrong on the ordering of the other three teams: the Carolina Panthers have exceeded expectations with Kyle Allen under center, while the Atlanta Falcons have flopepd tremendously. I had the Falcons in the NFC Championship…

NFC West

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The defending NFC champions are struggling, while the 49ers are one of only two unbeaten teams at 7-0. (Photo: Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

Preseason Prediction

  1. Los Angeles Rams (13-3) (1st seed)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) (6th seed)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
  4.  Arizona Cardinals (3-13)

Current Standings

  1. San Francisco 49ers (7-0) (1st seed)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (6-2) (5th seed)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1)

Updated Prediction

  1. San Francisco 49ers (13-3) (1st seed)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) (6th seed)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (9-7)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1)

Don’t count out the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West, who have just one less win than the San Francisco 49ers so far. I do have the 49ers holding on, but it could be an interesting race down the stretch. It will also be a three-team race, with the Los Angeles Rams attempting to catch a wildcard berth. If things shake out the way I see them, the defending NFC champs will fail to reach the playoffs this season.

The 49ers already have one more win than I predicted they would get for the entire season. I severely underrated them and they’re among the best teams in the NFL. I do see them losing a few games, with the Saints, Seahawks, Rams, and Packers all being tough opponents.

AFC Playoff Picture

Preseason Prediction

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)
  2. New England Patriots (12-4)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
  4. Houston Texans (10-6)
  5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-5)
  6. Cleveland Browns (10-6)

Current Standings

  1. New England Patriots (8-0)
  2. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)
  5. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
  6. Houston Texans (5-3)

Updated Prediction

  1. New England Patriots (14-2)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
  5. Houston Texans (9-7)
  6. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

A bit boring perhaps, but I don’t have any changes in the six AFC playoff teams from now until the end of the season. The standings shuffle ever so slightly, but the same six teams are likely to reach the postseason.

The most potential for intrigue comes from the AFC South, which houses the 7th and 8th best records in the AFC from the Jaguars and Titans. Besides that, no sub-.500 team is coming back to make the playoffs (barring a major injury to a division leader.)

NFC Playoff Picture

Preseason Prediction

  1. Los Angeles Rams (13-3)
  2. New Orleans Saints (12-4)
  3. Chicago Bears (11-5)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
  5. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)

Current Standings

  1. San Francisco 49ers (7-0)
  2. New Orleans Saints (7-1)
  3. Green Bay Packers (7-1)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (6-2)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

Updated Prediction

  1. New Orleans Saints (14-2)
  2. Green Bay Packers (13-3)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
  5. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)

Just like in the AFC, I have the six teams currently projected to make the playoffs ultimately qualifying for the postseason. You may be wondering “why am I reading this if there’s no predictions of any changes?”

First of all, if you’re reading this, pretty deep into the article, thank you. League-wide analysis articles like these take forever to write, and it’s nice to know some people actually take the time to read them.

The intrigue comes from the battle for seeding in the NFC. The Saints, Packers, and 49ers all have a shot at the best record in the conference, with the Seahawks and Vikings holding an outside chance if they can supplant their division leaders.

I have the currently undefeated 49ers finishing the season with a few blemishes. One could be against the Packers in a couple weeks, a loss that would hurt them in head-to-head tiebreaker scenarios.

AFC Playoff Predictions

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Along with the Chiefs, the Patriots and Ravens are among the top three contenders to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. (Photo: via NBC Sports)

Preseason Prediction

Wildcard Round: #5 Chargers defeat #4 Texans, #3 Ravens defeat #6 Browns

Divisional Round: #1 Chiefs over #5 Chargers, #3 Ravens over #2 Patriots

Conference Championship: #1 Chiefs over #3 Ravens

Updated Prediction

Wildcard Round: #4 Chiefs over #5 Texans, #3 Colts over #6 Bills

Divisional Round: #1 Patriots over #4 Chiefs, #2 Ravens over #3 Colts

Conference Championship: #2 Ravens over #1 Patriots

In my original predictions, the Chiefs reached the Super Bowl after getting the big benefit of not having to play the Patriots. The Ravens dispatched them in that scenario, and they do it again in my updated predictions, this team reaching the Super Bowl. Depending on when you’re reading this, Baltimore and New England may have already squared off in Week 9. That game will give us a more concrete answer, but on paper, I like the Ravens chances against the Patriots. But if we’re being completely honest, I don’t like my chances betting against the Patriots.

NFC Playoff Predictions

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All six NFC playoff teams will have a shot at the Super Bowl, but the Saints, 49ers, and Packers stand above the rest of the pack. (Photo: via NBC Sports)

Preseason Prediction

Wildcard Round: #3 Bears over #6 Seahawks, #5 Falcons over #4 Cowboys

Divisional Round: #5 Falcons over #1 Rams, #3 Bears over #2 Saints

Conference Championship: #3 Bears over #5 Falcons

Updated Predictions

Wildcard Round: #3 49ers over #6 Vikings, #5 Seahawks over #4 Cowboys

Divisional Round: #1 Saints over #5 Seahawks, #3 49ers over #2 Packers

Conference Championship: #1 Saints over #3 49ers

Once again, just for laughs: my preseason prediction saw the Chicago Bears defeating the Atlanta Falcons to reach the Super Bowl.

My updated prediction has Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints outdueling Jimmy G and the San Francisco 49ers to reach their first Super Bowl since 2009. The wildcard teams, the Vikings and Seahawks, have chances to go deep in the playoffs, but just run in to overpowering oppponents.

Super Bowl Predictions

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The Ravens return for the first time since 2013, while the Drew Brees and the Saints are back 11 years after their 2009 appearance. (Photo: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Preseason Prediction

Chiefs over Bears, 24-17

Updated Prediction

Saints over Ravens, 27-23

The Kansas City Chiefs still have a legit shot at the Super Bowl when Patrick Mahommes returns to the field. The Chicago Bears could still theoretically make the playoffs, but they aren’t beating any elite teams in January.

I have the Saints emerging out of the NFC, with the Packers and 49ers falling short of high expectations now set for them.

I know it’s a longshot to bet against Brady and Belichick in the playoffs, but I have the electric Lamar Jackson and the Ravens coming out of the AFC.

You’d think the Patriots would be Baltimore’s biggest test, but the Saints are able to outlast the Ravens in Super Bowl 54. Jackson and Brees trade blows, and the game is decided in a nail-biting fourth quarter.

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