By Alex Wong / @steven_lebron

You know that the NFL season is headed into the home stretch when you start to check the playoff standings and analyze all the tie breakers that go into deciding the wild card or even division title spots.

We’re here now. For the first time this season, I clicked on the playoff standings yesterday.

Football as a land of parity is a well-trotted-out narrative — because it’s pretty much true. Even within the construct of a particular season, things are always changing. The things we think we know heading into the season are usually crushed by the end of the early games in Week 1. Most of the things that we’ve gathered from the first nine weeks of the season will not be true or even matter by the end.

But the midpoint is a good spot to figure out what to look for in the second half. If only because the previous two Super Bowl winners had the following records during the season: 6-6 (2011 New York Giants), 8-6 (2010 Green Bay Packers).

So no, the Falcons aren’t going to romp to an undefeated record and have a playoff cakewalk on their way to the Lombardi Trophy. Nine weeks in, the groundwork’s been laid but the story lines are still to come. It could be these …