October Games That Shaped the NFL Playoff Picture

By Geoff Magliocchetti
Houston Texans vs Kansas City Chiefs
Houston Texans vs Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/Getty Images

The NFL playoff picture continues to take shape, as we're able to separate teams into the sweet, chocolaty playoff side, while casting teams like the Dolphins and Bengals into the dumpster next to the black licorice.

Which teams earned playoff tricks or treats in October? These four games could well shape the final photo...

Week 5: Seahawks 30, Rams 29
The NFC West shockingly belongs to San Francisco thus far, as the 49ers have continue their perfect start. San Francisco's undefeated mark has sentenced the Seahawks and Rams to the crowded NFC wild card picture, and this win gave the Seahawks a precious tiebreaker in the proceedings.

Seattle (6-2) also allowed itself to control their divisional destiny with this win. The Seahawks will face the 49ers twice over the second half of the season, including a Monday night matchup in two weeks.

Week 6: Texans 31, Chiefs 24
In what is certainly a surprise development to many, the Chiefs (5-3) would currently be the AFC's fourth seed. A loss to Green Bay Sunday night was certainly forgivable considering the Chiefs were without Patrick Mahomes, but the Texans game is one the Chiefs should've had. Instead, they let a 17-3 lead go to waste by allowing 20 points in the second quarter, in addition to a whopping 35 first downs in the game.

If Houston wins the South and possibly secures a bye over Kansas City, the Chiefs will truly be kicking themselves over this defeat.

Week 7: Colts 30, Texans 23
Aaaaaand, thud. The Texans appear on this list twice, and not in the way they were anticipating. Indianapolis beat Kansas City then officially announced their candidacy for the AFC South crown with a convincing home win over Houston. Jacoby Brissett introduced himself as a legitimate threat with 326 yards and four scores as he gave the Colts what could end up being a precious tiebraker over the Texans.

Taking care of divisional foes is something the Colts have been skilled at since realignment at the start of the decade. This win could come up huge as they look to stave off upstart efforts in Tennessee and Jacksonville.

Week 8: Eagles 31, Bills 13
It's rare you find such an impactful interconference game, but Week 8 brought an exception. The Bills had set themselves up nicely with an early 5-1 record, while the Eagles were on the verge on spinning into oblivion after a blowout loss to the Cowboys. A strong defensive showing got them back on track and has Buffalo feeling a bit unsure of itself second half.

This victory was especially important for Philadelphia (4-4), who likely won't have the luxury of leaning on a wild card spot this winter. They're now a half-game behind the idle Cowboys for the East title.