The 2015 NFL regular season is getting close to the halfway point, meaning that we have a pretty good idea about teams but at the same time meaning that there's a lot of football left to be played. It might be too early to start talking playoffs, but how do things look right now as we near the end of week eight in the AFC?
The top three are clearly above the others, and it will probably stay that way for the rest of the season. Right now, the Broncos would hold the number one seed, the Patriots the number two seed, and the Bengals the number three seed - though all three are currently undefeated. The fourth seed, then would belong to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are 3-4 and very well could be 3-5 after tonight, which would put them in a tie for first place in the dismal AFC South with the Houston Texans. Since the Colts defeated Houston earlier this year already, however, they would hold the tiebreaker at this point.
As a division winner, the Colts would host a playoff game even if they finish with a losing record (yeah, that's crazy). And if the playoffs started today? They'd be hosting the Oakland Raiders in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
The Raiders haven't made the postseason since the 2002 season, but this year they look to have a good shot at doing so. They are 4-3 and have back-to-back wins over the San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets (who would currently be the sixth seed). Their quarterback, Derek Carr, has followed up a nice rookie season by playing at a very high level so far this year, completing 65.5% of his passes for 1,793 yards (7.8 yards per attempt), 15 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for a 105.7 passer rating.
In actuality, the Raiders might actually be favored in that game if it took place today, as the Colts have struggled quite a bit this year and haven't defeated anyone outside of the AFC South. Of course, so much of it depends on how quarterback Andrew Luck plays, but at this point, the Colts don't look like the fourth-best team in the AFC.
It seems likely that the Colts will get the number four seed in the playoffs and host a Wild Card game as long as they can hold on to the AFC South, and it could very well be against the Oakland Raiders. There's still a lot of football left to play, however, so things can and will certainly change over the coming months.