NFL Playoff Picture Week 8: Bills Rebound, Jaguars Surging, Then 49ers and Chiefs Both Get Stunned

Week 8 witnessed some stunners and new movers in the race for the playoffs. What do the standings look like now? Who's moving up and down?

Now nearing the halfway point of the 2023 NFL season, the playoff picture is starting to become more clear. While we still have nine games left, we are starting to get an idea of who might be in contention and who will likely be focused on their 2024 NFL Draft picks before long. Let’s take a look at the AFC and NFC playoff pictures during Week 8.

AFC Playoff Picture

1) Kansas City Chiefs 6-2
2) Miami Dolphins 6-2
3) Jacksonville Jaguars 6-2
4) Baltimore Ravens 6-2

5) Buffalo Bills 5-3
6) Pittsburgh Steelers 4-3
7) Cleveland Browns 4-3

In the hunt:

8) New York Jets 4-3
9) Cincinnati Bengals 4-3                                                                                            10) Houston Texans 3-4
11) Tennessee Titans 3-4
12) Los Angeles Chargers 3-4
13) Las Vegas Raiders 3-5
14) Indianapolis Colts 3-5
15) Denver Broncos 3-5
16) New England Patriots 2-6

Buffalo Bills Rebound in Struggle Versus Buccaneers While Chiefs Get Stunned

The Bills needed to find a way to rebound right away from, arguably, their worst loss of the 2023 season by falling to a previously 1-5 New England team.

Buffalo, though, had to watch a botched Hail Mary attempt fall incomplete to ensure they wouldn’t have a letdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bills, even with escaping Thursday night with a win, have now struggled for consecutive weeks and could consider themselves lucky to have gone 2-2 in that stretch. The win over the Bucs, though, leapfrogged the Bills into the leader at the top wildcard spot in a competitive AFC.

MORE: NFL Bye Weeks Schedule 2023

The most red-hot team in the AFC, though, is the Jaguars — now the winners of five straight and officially in control of the third seed. This time while dealing with cold elements, the Jaguars left the Steelers out in the cold with a convincing 20-10 win. The Jags defense produced a stellar afternoon of three sacks, two interceptions, and holding the Steelers to just 70 rushing yards.

As for a team the Bills have had some recent epic postseason battles with, and a team that’s been the mountain to scale, the Chiefs suddenly looked like a shell of themselves in the Rocky Mountains.

Facing a struggling Broncos team that once surrendered 70 points to one other high-powered offense in the Dolphins, the Broncos looked Orange Crush-like on defense by snatching two Patrick Mahomes interceptions and preventing a single touchdown in the 24-9 Chiefs loss to Denver. Now, the Chiefs and ‘Phins find themselves with identical 6-2 records before their highly anticipated match in Frankfurt, Germany next Sunday.

Miami, meanwhile, handled its business at home versus an upset-minded Patriots team by winning 31-17. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 324 yards while Jaylen Waddle emerged as the top wideout with seven catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.

In the late-afternoon window, the Bengals took advantage of a suddenly struggling San Francisco 49ers team by putting together a 31-17 dismantling of the trending NFC favorite. The Bengals helped turn to defense by forcing three fourth-quarter takeaways of Brock Purdy.

Also in the late afternoon time slot, the Ravens dealt with a feisty Arizona Cardinals team that saw Joshua Dobbs throw for two touchdowns and hold Lamar Jackson to under 160 yards throwing. Baltimore, though, held on for the 31-24 road win behind three Gus Edwards touchdowns, and the Ravens’ defense watching Brandon Stephens and Geno Stone snatch interceptions.

As for the nightcap, the L.A. Chargers helped themselves immensely with a much-needed 30-13 romp of the Chicago Bears, which snapped a two-game losing skid. Two big ones loom for the Bolts with the Jets and an interconference showdown with the Detroit Lions on deck. By winning their next two games, playoff chatter will return for the Chargers.

NFC Playoff Picture

1) Philadelphia Eagles 7-1
2) Detroit Lions 6-2
3) Seattle Seahawks 5-2
4) Atlanta Falcons 4-4

5) Dallas Cowboys 5-2
6) San Francisco 49ers 5-3
7) Minnesota Vikings 4-4

In the hunt:

8) New Orleans Saints 4-4
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-4
10) Los Angeles Rams 3-5
11) Washington Commanders 3-5
12) Green Bay Packers 2-5
13) Chicago Bears 2-6
14) New York Giants 2-6
15) Carolina Panthers 1-6
16) Arizona Cardinals 1-7

What Has Happened to the 49ers? Current Skid Drops Them Further

The 49ers once looked indestructible at 5-0. Since then, they’ve self-destructed.

This time, Purdy’s trio of turnovers and being outscored 17-7 in the second half led to the 49ers’ third straight defeat versus the newly resurgent Bengals. But here’s what else San Francisco’s loss did: Seattle has now leapfrogged the Niners. At 5-2, the Seahawks now own the better record among NFC West teams. And with three losses now, the 49ers sink to the wildcard realm — at the sixth spot.

Who else ends up catapulting past the Niners? The team S.F. routed on Oct. 8 the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas rediscovered its explosive side on offense while also getting a pick six from DaRon Bland plus a safety from Sam Williams in the 43-20 rout of the Los Angeles Rams Sunday. The Cowboys have now positioned themselves at the fifth spot.

Meanwhile, the defending NFC champion Eagles erased an early 17-10 deficit at halftime to defeat the Washington Commanders 38-31. The Eagles relied on the arm of Jalen Hurts to deliver three second-half touchdown throws while D’Andre Swift stuck the dagger in with his seven-yard run. And with the win plus Kansas City’s loss, the Eagles now own the league’s best record at 7-1.

The biggest logjam in the NFC right now is the South division. The Falcons, Saints, and Bucs all have four losses each. It’s Atlanta, though, with the current lead-off of owning the better conference record at 3-2. The Saints, though, rebounded against the Indianapolis Colts to remain in the NFC South race.

Staying with bubble 4-4 teams, the Vikings also have this current title: Hottest Team in the NFC. The Vikes are the only NFC team to have won three games in a row, and their streak has lured them back into the playoff race. Next up for Minnesota? The 4-4 Falcons in an early pivotal showdown to stay in the postseason race.

Lastly, with the Lions’ 12-point Monday Night Football win, Detroit is now at the driver seat of the conference’s second seed, plus a game behind the conference leading Eagles. But following the victory over the Raiders, Detroit may have positioned itself to be at 12-2 before the Lions’ Christmas Eve matchup with the Vikings. The Lions’ next six opponents are teams at .500 or below. And that includes the upcoming Sunday game versus the 3-4 Chargers and two contests with the 2-6 Bears.

From the current NFL standings to team depth charts to coverage of every game in the 18-week NFL schedule, we have all the news from around the league to keep you up to speed!

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