At the midpoint of the 2017 NFL season, our analysts refresh their predictions on the major individual awards and forecast the entire playoff field. Check back Friday for Championship Sunday/Super Bowl LI outcomes.
Click here to glance back at our analysts’ preseason predictions.
Judy Battista: Philadelphia Eagles. The rapid improvement of Carson Wentz has the Eagles poised to dominate this division.
Jeffri Chadiha: Eagles. Life will be tougher without left tackle Jason Peters, but the Eagles look legit.
Gil Brandt: Eagles. Losing Jason Peters hurts, but Philly has a hot quarterback (Carson Wentz) and a 2.5-game lead in the division. The front seven is very good, with secondary help (Ronald Darby, nearing a return to health) on the way.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Eagles. The Eagles are in the driver’s seat and won’t give it up.
Steve Wyche: Eagles. Loved them in preseason and I love them more now. Countless NFL execs are drooling over Carson Wentz — except in Cleveland.
Ike Taylor: Eagles. Playing like a veteran, Carson Wentz deserves a snowy home game in January.
Charley Casserly: Eagles. Wentz is for real and the defense keeps improving.
Heath Evans: Eagles. My initial pick (Giants) didn’t pan out so well in the first half. The Eagles will keep hold on to their division lead.
Adam Schein: Eagles. They were my preseason pick, and behind Carson Wentz, nothing is changing.
Reggie Wayne: Eagles. The Eagles are overachieving while the other three teams are underachieving.
Alex Gelhar: Eagles. Carson Wentz‘ stellar play and a dominant front seven carry the Eagles to a postseason bye.
Adam Rank: Eagles. Carson Wentz is the real deal. And any time I see Mike Trout out there in the end zone rooting the team on, I believe the Eagles can do anything. And getting Jay Ajayi makes them even stronger.
Judy Battista: Minnesota Vikings. Aaron Rodgers‘ injury opened the door wide here, and the Vikings‘ defense is enough to push them to the top.
Jeffri Chadiha: Vikings. With Aaron Rodgers sidelined in Green Bay, the Vikings are in prime position to capitalize..
Gil Brandt: Vikings. Despite plenty of questions on offense, the Vikings have the NFL’s third-ranked defense, as well as an excellent pass rush.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Vikings. Case Keenum‘s doing a good job in place of Sam Bradford, and the defense is scary good.
Steve Wyche: Vikings. Yep. With Aaron Rodgers out, the Lions inconsistent and Bears developing, Minny’s defense takes it to the top.
Ike Taylor: Vikings. Mike Zimmer’s defense leads the Vikings to the top.
Charley Casserly: Vikings. The best defense in the division will win it for Minnesota despite questions at QB.
Heath Evans: Vikings. I love Zimmer and what he does with the defense. If Sam Bradford comes back, this team could go deep in the playoffs.
Adam Schein: Vikings. Best D in the division. Sad for football fans that Aaron Rodgers got hurt.
Reggie Wayne: Vikings. With Rodgers out, Minnesota wins this one by default.
Alex Gelhar: Vikings. Teddy Bridgewater returns and does enough to steal this division away from the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers.
Adam Rank: Vikings. Minnesota had a great shot at this division, even before Aaron Rodgers was injured. The Vikings‘ defense has been great for a while and I still believe Case Keenum can guide them far.
Judy Battista: New Orleans Saints. Finally, a defense to complement Drew Brees.
Jeffri Chadiha: Saints. The Saints have learned a valuable lesson lately: They’re a lot better when they run the ball more and play a little defense.
Gil Brandt: Saints. Unlike in previous years, the Saints can pass and run, and they boast the second-best offense in the NFL. With five home games and five divisional games left on their schedule, they can dictate their own fate.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Saints. I didn’t see this coming, but the Saints are playing much better than the rest at the midway point. It’s going to be a close race.
Steve Wyche: Saints. The offense will score and the defense is playing better than good enough.
Ike Taylor: Saints. Drew Brees (a.k.a. Mr. 5,000) outscores everyone.
Charley Casserly: Saints. They finally have a defense to go with the potent offense.
Heath Evans: Saints. Sean Payton and Drew Brees have been here before, and the Saints might be the most consistent team in the division.
Adam Schein: Saints. Surprise! The saints are playing defense and running the ball. And Drew Brees is an MVP dark horse.
Reggie Wayne: Saints. I saw this division playing out differently, but the Saints have surprised. They could be a threat if they keep improving.
Alex Gelhar: Saints. Drew Brees takes a back seat as the running game and surprisingly frisky defense help him secure a division title.
Adam Rank: Saints. Drew Brees might not be vintage Drew Brees, but Mark Ingram has been great (save two fumbles against the Bears) and now they have a legit defense backing them up again. And remember, the last two NFC representatives in the Super Bowl were from the South. #trendz
Judy Battista: Los Angeles Rams. Playmakers on both sides of the ball and a compelling, young coach make the Rams a potential force for years to come.
Jeffri Chadiha: Seattle Seahawks. They’re a second-half team. They’ll be that again.
Gil Brandt: Seahawks. The ‘Hawks lack a reliable running game, but they have an outstanding quarterback (Russell Wilson) and a plus defense. And they traded for Duane Brown to shore up the offensive line. Seattle has four home games left, including one against the Chargers in Week 15.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Rams. I like what I’m seeing. This team is coming together at the right time.
Steve Wyche: Seahawks. They hit their stride a little early, although the lack of a running game is still a potential pitfall.
Ike Taylor: Seahawks. I don’t think the Rams can hold the division lead. ‘Hawks win fourth title in five years.
Charley Casserly: Seahawks. Their first win over the Rams will loom large in December.
Heath Evans: Seahawks. After a slow start, the Seahawks always turn it on down the stretch.
Adam Schein: Rams. This is the Sean McVay impact!
Reggie Wayne: Seahawks. The Rams don’t have enough experience to hold their lead.
Alex Gelhar: Seahawks. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks heat up late in the season, as usual, to outpace the Rams thanks to their win in L.A.
Adam Rank: Rams. This one is going to be close. Obviously, I’m a huge believer in McVay and Goff. But Wade Phillips has that defense coming around and they can limit some of those high-powered offenses in the NFC.
NFC WILD CARD 1
Judy Battista: Seattle Seahawks. That defense makes them dangerous once they get in.
Jeffri Chadiha: Los Angeles Rams. Sean McVay would be Coach of the Year if it weren’t for Doug Pederson.
Gil Brandt: Rams. They have a tough schedule, but very good players on defense. Excellent coaching will make the difference in the end.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Atlanta Falcons. This team will get back to the playoffs. Then anything can happen.
Steve Wyche: Rams. With solid offensive and defensive lines and playmakers at nearly every skill spot, this could be a dangerous team in postseason.
Ike Taylor: Detroit Lions. They’ve stumbled, but get back on track in November and December.
Charley Casserly: Rams. They have a playoff offense and an improving defense.
Heath Evans: Rams. They fall off a bit, handing the division to Seattle, but they are still good enough to secure a wild-card spot.
Adam Schein: Seahawks. Love the Duane Brown deal. Love Russ. And wouldn’t be surprised if they won division.
Reggie Wayne: Dallas Cowboys. Even with Zeke out (at least for the moment), Dak Prescott can keep them afloat.
Alex Gelhar: Rams. Sean McVay’s first season in Los Angeles is a massive success, as the Rams secure the top wild-card spot.
Adam Rank: Seahawks. They still can’t run the ball, which is going to be very important down the stretch. And hopefully that defensive performance against the Texans was a one-game blip.
NFC WILD CARD 2
Judy Battista: Carolina Panthers. Three of their final four games are at home and that catapults them into the final playoff spot.
Jeffri Chadiha: Dallas Cowboys. They’ll have to prove themselves while facing a tough second-half schedule.
Gil Brandt: Cowboys. Quarterback Dak Prescott is playing well, and he’ll help push Dallas forward, no matter what happens with Ezekiel Elliott. The defense, especially the pass rush, has improved a lot.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Seattle Seahawks. They aren’t as good as they’ve been with this core group, but still good enough to represent the NFC in the postseason.
Steve Wyche: Atlanta Falcons. They struggled early, but there is too much talent to totally face-plant.
Ike Taylor: Falcons. If the Falcons don’t make the playoffs, a lot of fingers will be pointing at Steve Sarkisian.
Charley Casserly: Falcons. Atlanta’s balance of offense and defense helps them edge out Carolina for the last wild-card spot.
Heath Evans: Falcons. It’s hard to imagine the postseason without last year’s Super Bowl runner-up.
Adam Schein: Falcons. I’m so disappointed in the hung over Falcons, but not ready to completely give up. This team is still loaded.
Reggie Wayne: Falcons. There are so many players on this roster who can take over a game — Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Vic Beasley, etc. I need to see them in January.
Alex Gelhar: Cowboys. Dak Prescott plays out of his mind and the pass rush stays fierce enough for the Cowboys to edge the rest of the pack.
Adam Rank: Cowboys. Dak Prescott has shown me that he can weather any sort of storm throw in front of this team. Though they do kind of hang on…