There is one week left in the 2011 NFL season.
At this point almost every team knows their destiny. Some are playoff-bound while others are thinking to draft day.
Then there are seven teams on the bubble. They will live or die in Week 17. Here are those teams and their chances of making the NFL version of the Big Dance.
NY Jets clinch a wild-card spot:
1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie
2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie
It is safe to say that the Jets will be watching the playoffs from the comfort of their own home. Gang Green need to beat a hot Miami team, have the Bengals lose to Baltimore, the Titans fall to Houston and Oakland/Denver to lose.
That is a lot of losing that needs to happen and the reality is that it won't happen. Right now, the moon is closer then the playoffs for New York.
Tennessee clinches a wild-card spot:
1) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + OAK loss or tie
2) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + DEN loss or tie
3) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ loss or tie + OAK win + DEN win
Again this is a team that needs almost everything to go their way. First, the Titans have to beat Houston. That is a challenge in itself.
Then they need Cincy, Oakland and Denver to lose. But their best bet looks like the Ravens beating the Bengals, Oakland and Denver winning and New York losing. That situation seems plausible.
But the Titans are hinging their playoff hopes on other teams. This could turn out like a sad country song.
Oakland clinches AFC West Division:
1) OAK win + DEN loss or tie
2) OAK tie + DEN loss
Oakland clinches a wild-card spot:
1) OAK win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie
2) OAK win + CIN loss + NYJ win
If you haven't guessed by now, relying on other teams is never the way to go. Sadly that is exactly what the Silver and Black will have to do. Oakland needs to beat a reeling San Diego team.
Then they need Denver to lose to Kyle Orton and the Chiefs. If that doesn't happen, Cincinnati needs to lose and either the Jets win or Tennessee loses.
Carson Palmer and Company are stuck in a sticky situation.
Win and In
It's that simple. But a win is much easier said than done. Remember, this a team that lost three of their lost four.
Now they have to go into New York and beat Big Blue with everything on the line. Somehow I'm not buying a Dallas win. It will be close but the Giants are too good of a team to just be sitting come January.
Eli Manning has played in bigger games. Everyone outside of Texas will agree that Manning is more clutch then Tony Romo. I'm not a "hater." It's a fact.
Then again, it's not over until it's over. Romo and Company will march into MetLife Stadium and give it all they've got. But it won't be enough.
Cincinnati clinches a wild-card spot:
1) CIN win
2) CIN loss + NYJ loss + tie and OAK loss + tie
3) CIN loss + NYJ loss + tie and DEN loss + tie
Forget the other three situations. All the Bengals have to do is win at home. Oh yeah, and their opponent is the Baltimore Ravens. Is it possible? Of course.
The Bengals have won five of their last six against the Ravens at home. This year they lost to Baltimore by a touchdown on the road.
Andy Dalton could deliver a playoff berth to Cincy by outdueling Joe Flacco. This will be one for the ages.
Win and In
Just beat your arch rival with everything on the line in front of your entire fanbase.
New York is a good team but to win on Sunday night, they need to be great. The Giants have to show up like they did against the New York Jets.
At the first snap, New York has to reintroduce themselves to Dallas. They need to show the Cowboys that they aren't messing around.
That may be corny and directly taken from the notepad of a high school coach, but its true.
What a way to end the season!
Denver clinches AFC West Division:
1) DEN win
2) DEN tie + OAK loss or tie
3) OAK loss
All Denver has to do is beat a 6-9 team at home. But if they lose, then that's okay as well. If Oakland also loses, then the Broncos are January-bound. They really have it easy.
You might have heard some crazy story about Kyle Orton getting revenge on his former team. That's just the media being the media. After all, this is Kyle Orton we're talking about.
The Broncos have a stout defense that should shut Kansas City up. Then Tim Tebow and Willis McGahee can put the game away.
It shouldn't be that hard. And at the end of the day, if Denver can't beat 6-9 Kansas City then they have no business being in the playoffs.
- New England (13-3)
- Pittsburgh (12-4)
- Houston (10-6)
- Denver (9-7)
- Baltimore (11-5)
- Cincinnati (10-6)
- Green Bay (14-2)
- San Francisco (13-3)
- New Orleans (13-3)
- New York (9-7)
- Detroit (11-5)
- Atlanta (10-6)