Character can be judged by how teams bounce back following a loss. It's not a sprint; it's a marathon, especially in NFL football.
Sunday's Week 5 action saw poor performances from several playoff-caliber teams. Some came out on top and some suffered a loss.
Here are three teams that will show character in bounce-back performances.
The quarterback is one of the most pressure-packed positions in all of sports. They receive the brunt of the credit when they win and they receive the brunt of the blame when they lose. It's in the job description.
Eagles' quarterback Michael Vick has been turnover prone through five games this year. Six interceptions and several fumbles will put you under the microscope, especially in Philadelphia.
Will the Eagles make the playoffs?
Vick is certainly under the microscope following the Eagles 16-14 loss at Pittsburgh Sunday after coughing up the football twice; once while at the Steelers' goal line. His lack of ball security has been a theme in 2012, and it's something to watch going forward.
Philadelphia will quickly move its thoughts to Detroit—the Eagles next opponent. Luckily for the Eagles, they receive the Lions at home, a place where they are unbeaten on the season.
Vick and the Eagles' offense has been much better at home, scoring at a 21.5 points per game clip. Philadelphia has only averaged 13 points per game on the road.
Detroit isn't the same team as they were last year. They have started the season 1-3 while boasting a winless road record. Expect that trend to continue against a great home team in Philadelphia.
Eagles 30, Lions 24
Cincinnati lost a heartbreaking home game, 17-13, to the Dolphins Sunday. The loss will be a tough pill to swallow, but it has to be done.
The Bengals will turn the page with a trip to Cleveland for their second game against the Browns in five weeks. It makes no sense to play a team twice in six weeks, but the Bengals shouldn't be complaining about playing the winless Browns.
Will the Bengals make the playoffs?
With Pittsburgh lurking the following week, Cincinnati better not look ahead. Cleveland is a scrappy team that is on the edge of winning its first game of the season. If Cincinnati is the team some think they are, this is a game they must win.
Finishing drives, capitalizing in the red zone (1-for-2 Sunday), creating a rushing game (80 yards Sunday) and winning games against teams that are inferior to them are musts for the Bengals this season.
That didn't happen Sunday, but it better happen against Cleveland because the Browns are due for a win here in the upcoming weeks.
Bengals 17, Browns 16
Green Bay Packers
What in the world has happened to the Packers? Something seems off this year. The NFL has been full of parody this season (like usual) but things are coming more difficult this year than prior.
New England has two losses, Pittsburgh has two losses, San Francisco has an early loss, Baltimore could very easily have more than one loss and now Green Bay has three losses.
Will the Packers make the playoffs?
It's hard to believe and harder to understand. Green Bay (15-1 last year) lost to Indianapolis (2-14 last year) on Sunday via a late touchdown drive by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.
Green Bay has now endured two difficult finishes in three weeks. It won't get any easier, however, as Houston will be the Packers' next opponent.
Aaron Rodgers will prove why he is still the best quarterback in the league against a defense that has only been tested through the air once this year.
Houston has defeated Denver, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Miami this year. Peyton Manning is the only quarterback out of that bunch who is above average. Manning passed for 330 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in that contest.
Rodgers and the Packers' offense will expose the Texans' secondary in Week 6.
Packers 27, Texans 24