The playoff picture is solidifying for both conferences. In the meantime, here is a different sort of power rankings. Think of this as a sort of Vegas-like "Odds of Winning the SB" for seasons 2 through ~5-6. I accounted for user skill, proven GM ability, current roster talent/age, draft picks, as well as division (tougher paths to the SB = lower down in this rank). So the basic premise is: how safe a bet is a given team to become a perennial SB contender for the next several seasons? TIER ONE: CAN’T MISS 1. Baltimore Ravens · Sitting at 10-2 with a 4-game lead over a division they will likely win every season. Now add an extra 2nd & 3rd round pick this year plus an extra 1st & 3rd in 2017, the Ravens are easily the safest bet for year-in, year-out SB contention over the next few seasons. TIER TWO: PERENNIAL PLAYOFF TEAMS 2. Green Bay Packers · Nobody else in this division is better than 4-7, and the Pack have an extra 2nd round pick from St Louis this year. The Vikings/Bears/Lions all have some very close losses that could certainly swing to wins next year for a WC push, but the Packers look poised to comfortably win the division for the next few seasons. 3. Oakland Raiders · At 11-1 and with one of the scariest defensive front 7s in the league, the Raiders would be higher were it not for their brutal division & lack of 1st round pick in either of the next two drafts. Still, they have a bevy of 28-and-under stars and one of the top users in the league, so expect this team to be a SB contender every year—but they’re less safe of a bet to always get that valuable BYE week in this division. 4. Denver Broncos · Sticking with the AFC West, almost all of Denver’s top players are in their mid-20s, they have a top user, an elite young QB, and all of their key draft picks (plus an extra few 3rd/4th rounders to boot). The presence of Oakland & Kansas City means they’re not a safe bet to win the division every year, so they’ll likely have fewer chances at a “short” playoff path to the SB. TIER THREE: PLAYOFF REGULARS 5. Tennessee Titans · TEN has already built a stacked roster, with one of the best offensive lines in the league & a talented young secondary. But they did surrender a 1st & 2nd round pick to do it. The dividends are paying off early, with a 9-3 record and the AFC South in the bag. And they are the safest bet to take the division again the next year or two—but not that safe, as they split their series vs JAC and squeaked by HOU. With their user and GM ability, the bet here is they’ll continue to put up double-digit wins each season, but future dominance is not quite yet a sure thing. 6. Dallas Cowboys · They traded away their 1st & 2nd round picks this year for LeSean McCoy, but he’s only 27 and their offensive line is just so young & so dominant. This is easily one of the most stacked rosters in the league with a strong user at the helm and what has proven to be thus far one of the weaker divisions in HAW. The only thing keeping DAL from landing higher on this list is Tony Romo. He’s 35, and it’s unclear how much longer he’ll play. Dallas has the run game to weather a Romo retirement and still win this division, but the gap will shrink significantly when that happens. 7. Kansas City Chiefs · KC is also boasting a super strong under-29 core of stars and a top-level user. But as mentioned earlier, the AFC West is brutal, and while they may send three teams often enough, it’s hard to say they’re a sure thing to send three teams to the playoffs every year. I’ll put KC’s odds just a hair lower than OAK/DEN’s moving forward. 8. Atlanta Falcons · Despite sitting at 12-0 as arguably the favorite to win the SB this season, there are a few small chinks in the armor moving forward. Matt Ryan has the highest DAC in the league (hugely important in M16) and is on the wrong side of 30, as are a couple of other key starters. They also traded away their 2nd/3rd/4th round picks this season & their 3rd next season for win-now talent. Given their window, those were probably smart moves to make, and their CBs (also hugely important in M16) are young & completely unmatched. This team will remain strong, but 2015 may be the best version we’ll see for a few seasons. TIER FOUR: ON THE CUSP 9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Speaking of the NFC South, as Tampa Bay closes the talent gap between them & Atlanta, the Bucs should emerge as a contender to win the division. There isn’t a particularly deep field of NFC Wild Card contenders this season, which helps the Buc’s contention chances should ATL retain possession of the divisional throne for another year or two, but of course that could change next year. A sim season likely won’t be kind to this developing roster, but by season 3, two draft classes’ worth of talent should have TB in the mix on an every-season basis. 10. Buffalo Bills · Keller is in the midst of a crisis of confidence currently, to be sure. But the Bills are sitting on the largest pile of extra draft picks in the league: an extra pick in the 1st & two extra picks in the 2nd, plus all of their own. Despite their 4-8 record, the Bills already showed they could beat the division-leading Patriots, who are riding a 38 year old QB and a 28 year old HB. Add in the fact that their franchise QB/WR combo of Spriggs & Watkins are 23 & 22 years old, respectively, and you have a recipe for a regular playoff team & division winner potentially as early as next season. He's had a slow start in M16. I'm betting he figures it out. Keller will fight this top 10 ranking to the grave, but I'm right a lot more often than he is. TIER FIVE: A FEW PIECES AWAY 11. New England Patriots · At 7-4, they are the likeliest bet to win the division this year. Moving forward, their chances look solid, too, but as mentioned above they have some issues to address. First & foremost is replacing Tom Brady, who is among the most accurate & reliable QBs in the game. While it’s likely this team will sim very strong next season, they do have multiple 80+ OVR key vets turning 30 & over (Mayo, Edelman, Vollmer, Nicks, Ninkovich, Branch). This team has its full cadre of picks to smooth this transition—in the short term, this team will remain stacked, but can the Pats keep it up in the post-Brady era? 12. Jacksonville Jaguars · SB-winning user and a young team means this squad should continue to improve. They should be in the mix for the division given how they match up against TEN & HOU heads-up, but may be a couple seasons before the talent level can reach the point where they are winning each week consistently enough to be an every-year playoff team. They have all their picks save for a 3rd this year, and they’ll need to hit big on a few to really make that leap. 13. Houston Texans · There is some serious talent here on defense including possibly the best young D-line in the league. But Arian Foster turns 30 next season, a couple of other key stars (LT Duane Brown & CB Jonathan Joseph) are on the wrong side of 30, and above all they don’t have a reliable QB. But they are sitting on all their own picks plus a few extra mid-round selections, and Savage has developed from the worst starting QB in the league to merely a well-below-average one. Should they land a franchise player there or should Savage fully develop into a decent option, HOU could quickly become a regular playoff contender. 14. Carolina Panthers · A young superstud mobile franchise QB paired with an elite defense makes this team a user’s heaven. And they do have a nice under-28 core, but a couple of key starters are turning 30-31 next season (TE Olsen, C Kalil, DE Johnson). They have all their picks to begin replacing those guys, but in this division the odds are they’ll be battling for a wild card berth as their path to the playoffs for the next few seasons. 15. Philadelphia Eagles · The Iggles shipped out a number of key players this year (young AND old) to stock up on draft picks: they’re currently sitting on three extra 3rd round picks plus the Saints’ projected early 1st. Their core is almost exclusively under-28. Despite all those picks and youth, I’m not sure I love their odds over the next few seasons of overtaking the C’boys for the division, but the NFC wild card race is very much in play here. 16. San Francisco 49ers · Based on body of work as interim Bills HC & new 49ers owner, the 49ers have what it takes to win the division on a yearly basis. And the talent is definitely there, but there are some aging stars to worry about: 95 OVR Joe Staley, 92 OVR Vernon Davis, 88 OVR Antoine Bethea headline this group. SF has all their picks, so if they can replenish the talent supply as these stars leave, they have a shot to be a regular playoff team. 17. Arizona Cardinals · The Cards boast a very similar situation as San Fran: a new owner, a lot of defensive talent, and a few aging stars to replace. ARI suffered a nailbiter loss to SF, but the gap was narrow enough that this division moving forward is clearly up for grabs. Fitzgerald and DE Redding are the only impactful losses looming over the next couple of seasons (whether due to retirement or age) now that the team has formally made the head-scratching move away from talented vet Carson Palmer. TIER SIX: NEEDS TO MAKE SOME MOVES 18. New York Giants · The Giants are very much a Jekyll & Hyde team. Solid user skill but wickedly inconsistent, in-game and out. For the second straight cycle, JPP has been shipped out, but this time it was for two firsts—a king’s ransom, even for a player of JPP’s caliber. Time will tell if the trade was worth it, but hard to argue with the value. That leaves the G-men with four 1st round picks over the next two seasons, a handful of young superstuds to draft around…and a division in which they may still be the third-best all-around user. They’ll need to really up the team talent in order to make regular playoff pushes, but they have the picks to do just that. 19. Cincinnati Bengals · Based on pure team talent & user skill, the Bengals would normally land higher on this list—they are a quality team. But I can’t see them winning the division in the near future over the Ravens. Which will likely leave them regularly fighting for that rarest of things, an AFC WC berth, against the following teams: two of the OAK/DEN/KC trio, BUF/NE, TEN/JAC/HOU. Could definitely see them making some playoff waves in a given season, but that’s a tough field to top regularly with a few studs already 30+. 20. Miami Dolphins · This team came out strong to start the season before hitting a bit of a funk, but there have been some definite flashes. The AFC East is far from secured moving forward, but I like the Fins’ odds a bit less than NE & BUF at the moment. The #1 reason I could be eating these words in 2-3 seasons: they have the best QB moving forward of any team in the division. That matters. 21. Minnesota Vikings · As you saw above, I have GB pegged as the division winner for the immediate future, but the Vikes have played top tier teams a lot closer than their record may imply on more than one occasion (see: 3 point loss to OAK, 6 point loss to GB, 6 point loss to ATL). They have all of their picks, most of their D is very young, and they already have the absurd heir-apparent to Adrian Peterson in McKinnon. I like this team to challenge for the wild card soon and perhaps eventually for the division in the post-Rodgers era. 22. St Louis Rams · The win-now play for Peyton’s twilight run didn’t pan out, and the team is without a few early-round picks over the next two seasons. However, they are still sitting on a very young, very talented core, including three 90+ OVR 27-and-under defensive linemen. They have to hit on the remaining picks they have left, and the user skill (particularly on offense) has to improve—but the good news is that the rosters in this division are close enough that it’s really hard to bet on any one team to pull away from the pack. They are within striking distance. Is Foles their QB of the future? 23. Seattle Seahawks · Feels odd to be slotting them this low with how much talent is on this squad. Some long-time defensive stalwarts are approaching/turning 30, and they’re going to be hard to replace. Is Wilson enough to make up the difference? I don’t have a good read on user skill here, but the roster is still plenty good enough to compete. TIER SEVEN: ON THE RISE...? 24. Washington Redskins · With a strong performance the past four weeks (2-2 including two narrow losses to playoff contenders), the Skins may have begun righting the ship already. Too late for this season, but they have all their picks and a host of 85+ OVR players in their mid-20s. 25. Pittsburgh Steelers · Obviously Big Ben’s age is a concern long-term, but this team has a slew of 20-something studs already in place to build around. No rebuilding here, just reloading and trying to make a wild card push. The bet here is that the gap between them & BAL is too far to traverse in a single jump. But where there is talent, there is a chance to narrow that gap. 26. New York Jets · They do have a few more 30+ guys than you’d want on a rebuilding team, but they also have two very early 1st round picks courtesy of Indy, an experienced user who had to take some time during the season that cost him a few losses, a division for which they have the skill to challenge, and a core of top-tier defensive talent along the line. It’s an uphill road, but it’s doable. 27. Cleveland Browns · In terms of pure assets, they could easily be slotted a tier higher: they’re sitting on two firsts and a total of six picks in the first two rounds this year, plus an extra 2nd & 3rd next year. But they also gave up a young stud CB in Haden who they may have trouble replacing even with those high picks. The division moving forward is also an issue: BAL is a powerhouse and CIN is strong. CLE has not looked anywhere close to that challenge to this point outside playing OAK close early in the season. Reports coming out of CLE are that QB Mettenberger, one of the assets acquired for dealing Haden, is already out of management’s favor. 28. Detroit Lions · With how closely they’ve been playing their opponents nearly every week, I was tempted to slot them a tier higher, as well. But the reality is they need to find ways to win games, Calvin Johnson turns 30 next season, and I expect this division to be competitive moving forward. DET has a lot of talent, but they aren’t overloaded with picks. They should improve next season—a lot. But it’s hard to bet entirely on “should”—because they shouldn’t be 0-12 this season, either. TIER EIGHT: TOUGH DECISIONS 29. San Diego Chargers · The San Diego Super Chargers are at a crossroads. Rivers will be 34 next season, Weddle 31, Flowers and Dunlap and Johnson are all turning 30. Gates may retire. They have all their picks, thankfully—but is it time to officially cut losses & rebuild? 30. Chicago Bears · Another team with more key vets turning 30 next season than they’d like. Need a talent infusion and that’s likely not going to be a single-offseason process. 31. New Orleans Saints · Aging stars, missing some draft picks. They got Agholor, who is a beast, but is another WR really what this team needed? And is Garrett Grayson their answer at QB moving forward? 32. Indianapolis Colts · The Colts are, unfortunately, the most directionless team in the league as of present. They bet the farm on this season, sight unseen, yet sit at 3-9. They don’t own either of their next two 1st round picks, or their 3rd this year. They have several key starters well over 30 already. User skill is something that can and does improve—sometimes drastically. But GM missteps can set a team back multiple seasons, and these have. The only two remaining questions in Indy are the toughest of all: will they trade Andrew Luck?—and if so, can management stomach that degree of a rebuilding process before throwing in the towel altogether?