Talk to NFL people, and they’ll all tell you the same thing. The season starts at Thanksgiving.

Well, sit down and enjoy some turkey this Thursday, knowing the race for the postseason is upon us.

Going into the final seven weeks of the regular season, the playoff picture is both muddled and clear, depending on your area of focus. The Chiefs, Ravens, 49ers, Eagles and Lions are clear contenders. The Dolphins, Cowboys and Jaguars are also almost certain for the postseason and could make deep January runs.

Amon Ra-St. Brown and David Montgomery celebrate the Lions' come-from-behind win over the Bears.

Junfu Han/USA TODAY Sports

Beyond that? Chaos.

Let’s look at where things stand headed into the holidays.

AFC: Who's In

If the season ended today, here’s who would make the playoffs:

No. 1: Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 7–2, first, AFC West

The Chiefs are in an excellent position to finish with the AFC’s top seed. While they do have games against the Eagles (Monday Night Football) and Bills remaining, both are at Arrowhead. Kansas City’s remaining games are against the Patriots, Packers, Chargers, Bengals and Raiders twice. Also, the Chiefs only have one conference loss.

No. 2: Baltimore Ravens

Jackson threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals on Thursday night to keep the Ravens on the heels of the Chiefs for the top seed in the AFC.

Matt Rourke/AP

Record: 8–3, first, AFC North

After beating the Bengals, it’s hard to believe the Ravens won’t win the AFC North. The main question is can Baltimore find its way to the conference’s top seed for the first time since 2019? The loss of tight end Mark Andrews doesn’t help, while Baltimore’s schedule still includes trips to Jacksonville and San Francisco.

No. 3: Jacksonville Jaguars

Record: 7–3, first, AFC South

The Jaguars showed who they are after getting handled by the 49ers last week. But with a 34–14 win over the Titans, Jacksonville maintained a one-game lead in the AFC South over the Texans, who they visit next Sunday. It’s a massive divisional game, especially considering Houston already beat Jacksonville in Week 3.

No. 4: Miami Dolphins

Record: 7–3, first, AFC East

Miami played ugly football Sunday, missing a field goal while turning the ball over three times. However, the Dolphins still beat an outclassed Raiders team to improve to 7–3, and still have a nice cushion in the AFC East. Miami should only extend its division lead in the coming weeks, facing the Jets, Commanders, Titans and Jets over the next month.

No. 5: Cleveland Browns

Record: 7–3, second, AFC North

The Browns have had to start three quarterbacks this season in Deshaun Watson, PJ Walker and now Dorian Thompson-Robinson. While the latter couldn’t manage 4.0 yards per attempt Sunday, Cleveland still won because the defense held the Steelers to 10 points. The big question is whether that unit can essentially win three more games. Up next, the Broncos and Rams on the road.

No. 6: Houston Texans

Record: 6–4, second, AFC South

The feel-good story of the season is starting to become a force in the NFL. The Texans handled the Cardinals at home despite three C.J. Stroud picks, and are now two games over .500 for the first time since the 2019 season. The Texans host the Jaguars next Sunday looking for the season sweep, with the Broncos coming in after that.

No. 7: Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 6–4, third, AFC North

Kenny Pickett continues to be a blight on the Steelers’ playoff push, throwing for fewer than 100 yards in a loss to the Browns on Sunday. Pittsburgh probably needs to find four wins in its last seven games, and that quest is possible with the Cardinals and Patriots coming to Acrisure Field, along with two games against the Bengals. Still, nothing is easy with this offense.

In the Hunt

Buffalo Bills (6–5): The Bills finally did what they should have done, beating a bad team with ease. Now they have consecutive road games against the Eagles and Chiefs.

Indianapolis Colts (5–5): If the Colts are going to push for the playoffs, they have to come out of their bye and beat the Buccaneers before road tilts with the Titans and Bengals.

Cincinnati Bengals (5–6): The Bengals remain mathematically alive, but their chances are slim without Joe Burrow. There’s virtually no world where the Bengals find their way in with Jake Browning.

NFC: Who’s in

If the season ended today, here’s who would make the playoffs:

No. 1: Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 8–1, first, NFC East

Philadelphia was hoping for a surprise loss from the Lions on Sunday against the Bears, but Detroit narrowly avoided the upset. Now, the Eagles look to do what the Lions did earlier this year by going into Kansas City and beating the Chiefs in primetime.

No. 2: Detroit Lions

Record: 8–2, first, NFC North

It was anything but pretty, but the Lions—8–2 for the first time since 1962—beat the Bears despite four turnovers. Detroit is in phenomenal shape for its first division crown since 1993, when it won the NFC Central. With the Packers coming to Ford Field on Thanksgiving, the Lions can clinch consecutive winning seasons, something they haven’t done since 2016–17.

No. 3: San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey scored touchdowns against the Buccaneers.

Record: 6–3, first, NFC West

The 49ers continued their resurgence Sunday, easily handling the Buccaneers to stay atop the NFC West. For San Francisco, the meat of the schedule now begins with games against the Seahawks two of the next three weeks, including a Thanksgiving night contest at Quest Field. 

No. 4: New Orleans Saints

Record: 5–5, first, NFC South

The Saints were able to sit through their bye week with no stress. New Orleans maintained its No. 4 seed after the Buccaneers fell a full game back in the NFC South with their loss to the 49ers. Coming off their break, the Saints take on the Falcons before a three-game homestand against the Lions, Panthers and Giants.

No. 5: Seattle Seahawks

Record: 6–4, second, NFC West

Seattle has one of the league’s toughest remaining schedules. Losing on Sunday and swept in the season series by the Rams is a tough blow. The good news? The Seahawks can bounce back on Thanksgiving and take the division lead with a win over the Niners.

No. 6: Dallas Cowboys

Record: 7–3, first, NFC East

Dallas’s assignment Sunday was to avoid a trap game against the Panthers. Mission accomplished. The Cowboys won 33–10 in Charlotte, continuing to solidify their playoff positioning. Now Dallas has a quick turnaround with the Commanders coming to AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving, with Washington fresh off a loss at home to the Giants.

No. 7: Minnesota Vikings

Record: 6–4, second, NFC North

Minnesota plays the Broncos on Sunday night, and this space will be updated after the game.

In the Hunt

Atlanta Falcons (4–6): The Falcons got some help during their bye week after losses by the Buccaneers and Seahawks. Now, they’ve got to string some wins together.

Green Bay Packers (4–6): Green Bay essentially saved its season by beating the Chargers. Unfortunately, its next two games come against the Lions and Chiefs. Not easy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4–6): The Buccaneers are only a game back in the NFC South, which is good, because getting a wild-card spot could be tough.