NFL midseason contenders and pretenders among teams with best records

Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NFL pretenders contenders
Green Bay Packers (Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) /

Which NFL teams are contenders and which ones are pretenders at the halfway mark of the season?

Through eight weeks of NFL action, 11 teams have a record of 5-2 or better. With the expanded playoff format, 14 total teams get into the playoffs, but there’s still only two teams who make it to the Super Bowl.

On the AFC side, there’s the Bills, Chiefs, Colts, Ravens, Steelers and Titans with the best records and on the NFC side, we have the Buccaneers, Cardinals, Packers, Saints and Seahawks who are playing the best football so far.

Out of all of these teams, who are actual contenders when it comes to making the Super Bowl and who are the teams that we know will bow out early come the postseason?

As of now, the Bills, Chiefs, Steelers and Titans would win their respective divisions in the AFC while the Eagles, Packers, Saint, and Seahawks would be crowned division champions on the NFC side of things.

The Eagles aren’t included in this group because they currently have a record under .500, so it’s pretty obvious that they’re pretenders in the grand scheme of things.

Let’s take a look at the pretenders and contenders at the halfway point of the season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) – NFL Contenders

I’ll admit that I was hesitant about the hype surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading into this season, as I wouldn’t have been surprised to see it go as poorly as the Browns’ experiment did a season ago. The difference here is coaching, as Freddie Kitchens’ name shouldn’t even be uttered in the same sentence as Bruce Arians.

Tom Brady continues to prove that Father Time isn’t undefeated just yet and the Bucs defense is for real, leading the league in total yards per game and rushing yards allowed per game. The offensive line has its moments but has mostly been playing well in recent weeks. That was one of the team’s biggest weaknesses heading into the season.

Tampa winning the NFC South could very well make them the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but let’s see how this team does in the playoffs. The Bucs haven’t been to the postseason since the 2007 season.