The absurdly premature 2010 playoff picture: Week 8

• I had already decided going into the Steelers-Saints Sunday nighter that if the Steelers lost in prime time, on Halloween, in New Orleans, that I wasn't going to hold it against them. So I won't, but I do want to note that offensively, the Steelers were a big pile of ick. Again, I'll chalk it up to the Dome and the crazy atmosphere, but I'm looking for them to rebound this week against the Bengals.

• The Patriots have jumped back atop the AFC East, and I'd like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all the New England fans who emailed to express confidence in their team, which none of them did in a whiny, insulting, petulant, annoying way. Thanks! For me, it came down to a decision of which I hate the least: the Patriots passing defense or the Jets passing offense. For now, the Pats have the slightest of edges.

• The Jets did come in as a wild card, though, bumping Tennessee. I'm not down on Tennessee, and I thought Vince Young(notes) looked sharp for most of Sunday. It's their inconsistency and up-and-down nature that bugs me, and the Jets have more "should win" games left on the schedule than do the Titans.

• Kansas City remains atop the AFC West, but I feel like Oakland warrants a mention. Seriously. The Raiders are just one game back, and they're riding consecutive blowouts, which is not something that happens often at the professional level. And I'm not writing off the Chargers, either, as I still think they're the best football team in this division. But their schedule doesn't do them any favors, and I don't believe Kansas City is going to fold.

• Green Bay gets back the top spot in the NFC with their road shutout against one of the AFC's better teams. The Giants were off, and I sort of hate everyone else in the NFC right now.

• The Saints bumped the Bucs out of a wild-card spot. It's a similar situation to the Titans in the AFC. I'm not down on the Bucs, but if the Saints are finally going to get their act together, you have to take the Saints over the Bucs, right? Even if I think the Bucs are legit and that Josh Freeman(notes) is a good quarterback, and that their defense is sound, and that they're not going away, talent and experience still has to steer me toward the Saints. It was a close call this week. I expect it will be next week, too. Three playoff teams from the NFC South isn't something I'd rule out.

• The Rams are once again the choice in the NFC West, and they even got an unofficial "solidly in place, can afford to look bad for a week or two, and they'll still be there" status. I have zero faith in anyone else in the West to do anything other than embarrass the entire league on a weekly basis.

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