Syndication: The Post-Crescent

We are now at the point in the NFL season where teams will start to get eliminated from the playoffs while others are facing clinching scenarios. 

But then there are the teams towards the middle. Some have winning records and are heading for the playoffs but may not be as good as they seem, while others have losing or .500 records yet may be better than they appear.

We picked out the best teams .500 and under and the worst teams .500 and over and deciphered why their record does not tell the whole story. 

Best teams .500 and under

Packers (6-6)

Jordan Love
GB • QB • #10
View Profile

The Packers stand right at .500 at 6-6, and their recent play shows they may be among the better even teams. Green Bay was on a two-game winning streak heading into this week, with wins over the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Chargers, and the Packers were faced with arguably their toughest opponent yet: the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

They kept the winning streak alive with a 27-19 victory over the Chiefs. Packers quarterback Jordan Love went 25 of 36 with 267 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense held Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to just one touchdown while picking off the defending MVP and sacking him three times. 

Green Bay has won four of its past five games and could continue this trend, with three very winnable games in front of them. The Packers' next opponents are the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.

The Packers would be the No. 7 seed in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Rams (6-6)

Matthew Stafford
LAR • QB • #9
View Profile

Another team on a win streak is the Los Angeles Rams, who currently have three victories in a row. They beat the Cleveland Browns, 36-19, this week behind a big performance for their offense against a good Browns defense. Quarterback Matthew Stafford went 22 of 37 with 279 yards and three touchdowns, Puka Nacua had four receptions for 105 yards and a score, and leading rusher Kyren Williams had 21 carries for 88 yards and one TD. 

The two weeks prior, they defeated the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks

Los Angeles is currently right outside the playoff picture at No. 8, so a postseason bid is not out of the question yet.

Bengals (6-6)

Jake Browning
CIN • QB • #6
View Profile

The Bengals are without Joe Burrow for the rest of the season but have done an admirable job without him, considering what a loss it was for the offense. On Monday night, Cincinnati defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, who only had three losses heading into the contest, by a score of 34-31 in overtime.

Jake Browning, starting only his second NFL game, went 32 of 37 with 354 yards and one touchdown in the win. The offense also had wide receiver Tee Higgins back after he missed four games due to injury. He's a big addition for the offense going forward. And of course, the team still has star wideout Ja'Marr Chase, who said the team is still playing "Cincinnati football."

Worst teams .500 and over 

Steelers (7-5)

Kenny Pickett
PIT • QB • #8
View Profile

The Steelers are 7-5 after a 24-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, who were 2-10 heading into the game. 

The offense was mostly run with Mitch Trubisky in at quarterback, and he went 11 of 17 with 117 yards and one touchdown. Kenny Pickett went 7 of 10 for 70 yards before he exited due to an ankle injury that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks.

All of their wins have all been by seven points or fewer, with a collective 14 more points than their opponents in the last three victories. They have yet to make a big statement in their wins.

Falcons (6-6)

Desmond Ridder
ATL • QB • #9
View Profile

Atlanta is at the top of its division, but before you get too impressed, the rest of its division is all teams with losing records. The New Orleans Saints are on a three-game losing streak and the Panthers are on a five-game losing streak. Getting to play these teams twice a piece helps the Falcons' playoff chances significantly.

Their 13-8 win against a New York Jets team that does not know what they are doing at quarterback is far from anything to marvel at. Two weeks ago they lost to the Cardinals, who only had one win going into the game. 

Jaguars (8-4)

Trevor Lawrence
JAC • QB • #16
View Profile

Jacksonville has one of the best records in the AFC and could end up with the No. 1 overall seed, but of all of those top teams in the conference, they are among the weaker squads. 

The Jaguars lost in overtime on "Monday Night Football" to the Bengals, who were 5-6 heading into the matchup and were playing a backup quarterback starting just his second game. 

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence got injured in the game, and head coach Doug Pederson said it is a high-ankle sprain. The team will continue to assess him as the week goes on, but it does not put the Jags in the best spot possible.