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Updated Playoff Odds for Every Team After NFL Week 7

Vincent FrankCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2012

Updated Playoff Odds for Every Team After NFL Week 7

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    It really is hard to believe that we have nearly completed seven weeks of the 2012 NFL regular season. I guess time flies when you are having fun. Any thought of an 18-game schedule has started holding more ground for me. 

    Anyway, back to the original point of this article. 

    In the next installment of a weekly Bleacher Report feature, ahead I'll give you updated playoff odds for each team in the NFL to this point of the season. 

    As I mentioned in previous weeks, there is some method to my madness. Six teams are guaranteed to make the postseason from each conference, so the odds for every team in each conference will add up to 600 percent.

    Moreover, if a specific division has a cumulative total of 180 percent, it means that I am giving them an 80 percent chance to have a wild-card team. Hopefully that helps with any possible confusion.

Denver Broncos

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    Record: 3-3

    Postseason Chances: 60 Percent

    The Denver Broncos were one of three AFC West teams on a bye this week, but they are definitely sitting pretty following their impressive comeback against the San Diego Chargers last Monday. 

    Peyton Manning has returned to 2010 form, throwing 11 touchdowns and just one interception over the last four games. If the future Hall of Fame quarterback continues to play like this, no other team in the division will have a shot against Denver. 

San Diego Chargers

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    Record: 3-3

    Postseason Chances: 35 Percent

    It has been a rather rocky week for the San Diego Chargers. First, they blew a 24-0 halftime lead and first place in the AFC West against the Denver Broncos. Then their PR guy sent out a curious letter that seemed to call out Chargers fans. Finally, it was reported that San Diego was being investigated for using Stickum—yes, that gooey substance. 

    Needless to say, things just aren't right in Southern California. 

    On the football field, it really isn't that much better. San Diego turned it over six times, all in the second half, en route to giving up 35 unanswered points to the Broncos. Philip Rivers made mistake after mistake as the play-calling was absolutely atrocious. 

    Not really sure what to say here.

Oakland Raiders

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    Record: 2-4

    Postseason Chances: 20 Percent

    Boy, that was an ugly performance by both the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. Penalties, turnovers and mistakes seemed to plague both sides as Oakland came away with a much-needed victory, only its second of the season. 

    Interestingly enough, the Raiders now sit just a game behind both the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers in the AFC West. 

    Despite the parity in this division, I have a hard time believing Oakland will stay in contention for too long. 

    Darren McFadden has put up just 156 yards on 59 carries for an average of 2.6 yards per attempt over the last three games. That just isn't sustainable if Oakland wants to be a surprise contender moving forward.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Record: 1-5

    Postseason Chances: 5 Percent

    It is getting to the point where the Kansas City Chiefs are thinking ahead to next April when they can select a quarterback of the future. This is a team that just continues to struggle in nearly every aspect of the game, to the point where they are not even competitive anymore. 

    Kansas City has now been outscored by 84 points in its five losses. That equates to about 17 points per loss. Even more disturbing, the team just isn't competing at home in front of the Arrowhead faithful. 

    Outside of the quarterback position, there are going to be massive changes in Kansas City if the Chiefs don't rebound soon. Romeo Crennel, whose interim tag was removed during the offseason, might find himself on the hot seat once again. 

    The Chiefs' season might be over before we know it. They have a huge four-game stretch against the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. Anything short of three wins during that span will put an end to their year.

Houston Texans

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    Record: 6-1

    Postseason Chances: 95 Percent

    That was a mighty impressive victory for the Houston Texans following their implosion against the Green Bay Packers just a week ago. 

    Coming off his worst performance of the season, Matt Schaub threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns as Houston put up 420 total yards against the Baltimore Ravens. In reality, the game was over by halftime after the Texans put up 20 unanswered second-quarter points. 

    Their defense didn't seem to miss much of a beat after losing stalwart Brian Cushing two weeks earlier with a season-ending ACL injury. The Texans forced two Joe Flacco interceptions and held Ray Rice to just 54 yards and 14 touches. 

    Houston is now, without any doubt, the clear favorite in an AFC mired in mediocrity.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Record: 3-3

    Postseason Chances: 30 Percent

    Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts didn't play their best football yesterday against the Cleveland Browns, but they still came away with a win. Indianapolis is now .500 for the first time since it was 10-6 following the final week of the 2010 season. 

    Impressive doesn't even begin to describe what Bruce Arians has done since Chuck Pagano left the team after being stricken with cancer a few weeks back. 

    While there are a ton of holes on this team and they aren't ready to compete on a consistent basis, we have to be surprised by what the Colts has done thus far this season.

Tennessee Titans

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    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 30 Percent

    It is important to take a wait-and-see approach as it relates to Chris Johnson's performance against a historically bad Buffalo Bills rush defense. The former NFL rushing champion needs to show this flash on a consistent basis before we get too excited. 

    Still, his 198-yard performance on 19 touches Sunday was extremely impressive. 

    Equally as important, Matt Hasselbeck did his job through the air, compiling over 200 yards and one touchdown without throwing an interception. 

    The other side of the ball now needs to get it together in relatively short order. Tennessee's defense has now yielded 30 points or more in six of its seven games, while giving up an average of over 400 yards per outing this season.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Record: 1-5

    Postseason Chances: 5 Percent 

    What a disastrous Sunday all around for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They lost Maurice Jones-Drew to a leg injury early in the first quarter, and Blaine Gabbert went down with an injury shortly thereafter. 

    Meanwhile, on the football field it wasn't much better. Chad Henne struggled to the tune of 9-of-20 for 71 yards as Jacksonville blew a 17-3 first-half lead. 

    Needless to say, this team is an absolute mess right now. 

    Head coach Mike Mularkey didn't indicate how long Jones-Drew will be out, but did say that the walking boot he was seen wearing on the sidelines was "precautionary." We will have a better idea as to the extent of the injury soon. 

    According to Mike Florio over at Pro Football Talk, Gabbert suffered an injury to his non-throwing shoulder and will have an MRI conducted Monday to check the extent of the injury. 

Baltimore Ravens

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    Record: 5-2

    Postseason Chances: 65 Percent

    That was definitely facepalm game for the Baltimore Ravens yesterday. Nothing went right as they were embarrassed by the Houston Texans to the tune of 43-13 on the road. Joe Flacco threw for just 147 yards on 43 attempts for an average of 3.4 yards per pass. 

    Meanwhile, Ray Rice ran the ball just nine times for 42 yards, once again bringing us back to Cam Cameron's questionable play-calling. 

    Defensively, it seems that Baltimore was missing Ray Lewis a great deal. It yielded 27 first downs and 420 yards of total offense, representing the third time in seven games that the Ravens defense has given up over 400 yards in a game. For comparison's sake, Baltimore's defense had yielded 400 yards five times over the course of the previous two seasons. 

    While the Ravens are clear front-runners in the AFC North, they are going to have to improve on both sides of the ball in order to be considered legit contenders in the conference. 

    The good news is that Baltimore has a bye next week and can lick its wounds against the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders in the weeks that follow.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 40 Percent

    This just isn't good. The Cincinnati Bengals have now lost three consecutive games against opponents they should have beaten, at least in terms of talent level. 

    Andy Dalton seems to be pressing a great deal in the passing game, going in the direction of A.J. Green too much. If the young receiver cannot find a seam, it makes more sense to look in another direction. 

    Meanwhile, the defense has been decent. The major area of concern on that side of the ball has to be pass defense, where they are relying on washed-up veterans to get the job done. 

    While I am extremely happy with the performance of Vontaze Burfict thus far, it does seem that the Bengals are regressing a great deal.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Record: 3-3

    Postseason Chances: 50 Percent

    Am I sold on the 2012 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers? Absolutely not. They don't have talent at positions you need in order to contend on a consistent basis. There is no semblance of balance on offense, and their secondary continues to struggle, most notably the overrated Ike Taylor. 

    The two constants as it relates to this team are Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger, two of the best at their positions, in football. Tomlin continues to call the right plan on a weekly basis, while Big Ben is proving his case as the most underrated quarterback in the NFL. 

    Those two individuals might be able to lead Pittsburgh to a postseason berth, but I am not sold on that idea, just as I wasn't at the start of the season. 

    Troublesome times in Western Pennsylvania.

Cleveland Browns

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    Record: 1-6

    Postseason Chances: 5 Percent

    As I have said in previous articles, the Cleveland Browns have remained competitive in nearly every game this season. Following their 17-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Cleveland's six losses have come by an average of seven points. 

    The Browns just continue to kick themselves by committing untimely mistakes and dropping an abnormally large amount of passes. Josh Gordon's huge drop of a would-be touchdown against Indianapolis was a prime example. 

    Meanwhile, Pat Shurmur continues to struggle with game management and understanding the actual nuances of a football game from the sideline. 

    One bright spot is the solid performance by rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who threw for over 260 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. 

    Either way, Cleveland has no shot at a postseason spot in 2012.

New England Patriots

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    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 75 Percent

    The New England Patriots were 1:56 from falling to last place in the AFC East before Tom Brady drove them down the field for a game-tying field goal as time expired. New England's defense then forced a Mark Sanchez fumble to pull out a three-point victory in overtime. 

    Things are still not right with the Patriots. Their offense continues to struggle with consistency, while their defense seems to have regressed a great deal over the course of the last few games. 

    Either way, there is little doubting New England's position as the favorites in what has quickly become a more competitive AFC East.

Miami Dolphins

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    Record: 3-3

    Postseason Chances: 40 Percent

    With losses of both the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, these Miami Dolphins now find themselves in sole possession of second place in the AFC East. There really isn't any indication that they are going to be giving it up anytime soon either. 

    In short, it is pretty darn clear that Miami is the second-best team in the division. 

    Ryan Tannehill continues to exceed any previous expectations for his rookie season, and he seems to be getting much more comfortable in the pocket. 

    While Miami's defense isn't playing great football, it is a unit that could and should improve moving forward. 

    The Dolphins now have a four-game stretch, and it is conceivable for them to tally at least three wins. They go up against the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans as well as the aforementioned Jets and Bills during that span. 

    Yes, I am giving this team a real shot at earning a postseason spot.

New York Jets

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    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 25 Percent

    Mark Sanchez being Mark Sanchez. Really no other way to put it. The enigmatic starting quarterback of the New York Jets fumbled away a game against the New England Patriots that they should have won. You simply cannot let the ball be stripped in overtime. 

    Inexcusable. 

    Either way, a matter of inches kept New York tied for last place in the AFC East. 

    I still just don't have confidence in the Jets sustaining success with their issues on both sides of the ball. Sanchez really doesn't have much talent to go to on the outside, while the Jets defense seems to be old and slow at this point.


Buffalo Bills

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    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 20 Percent

    I really wanted to give the Buffalo Bills a lesser chance at making the postseason, but then I realized they were still only one game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East. 

    Success isn't sustainable when you have a historically bad defense. This is the situation that Buffalo finds itself in right now. It has now yielded just over 234 rushing yards per game over the last four weeks after Chris Johnson went for 195 by himself on Sunday. 

    Buffalo's offense is good enough to get this team into the postseason, but it has one of the worst defenses that I have seen in the NFL over the course of the last decade or so. Really, it's that bad at this point.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Record: 5-2

    Postseason Chances: 70 Percent

    The San Francisco 49ers defense now ranks first in both per-game total yardage and passing yards against, and their scoring defense is second only to the Chicago Bears, giving up an average of 14.3 points per game. Talk about serious domination. 

    The one issue keeping San Francisco from being considered the favorites in an ultra-competitive NFC is the fact that its passing offense and play-calling on that side of the ball are questionable at best. 

    While Alex Smith is dealing with a finger injury to his throwing hand, the improved quarterback just needs to become a more consistent force and limit his mistakes. Smith has now thrown four interceptions in his last two games after being picked off just six times over the course of the previous 21 games. 

    San Francisco has only one game over the course of the next 20 days, which will give it time to get things figured out on offense. 

Arizona Cardinals

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    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 20 Percent

    Some may disagree with my notion that the Arizona Cardinals are as good as done this season, but all the indications seem to be that they were a fluke 4-0 team. Their quarterbacks have now been sacked a total of 35 times in seven games and are now on pace to go down a team-record 80 times this season. 

    I don't care who you have behind center, that just isn't sustainable at this point. 

    While the Cardinals are solid on the defensive side of the ball, they just have too many issues on offense to be considered serious contenders in a competitive NFC West.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 45 Percent

    It is nearly impossible not be impressed by the play of the Seattle Seahawks through the first seven games of the season, most notably on the defensive side of the ball. They play a hard-hitting, smash-mouth style that is similar to the ol' Black and Blue Division. 

    This will keep Seattle in contention throughout the duration of the regular season. 

    The major issues as it relates to this impressive team are on the offensive side of the ball. They are far too inconsistent in the Russell Wilson-led passing game. Without any balance on offense, Seattle could be in real trouble moving forward.

St. Louis Rams

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    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 10 Percent

    By my estimation, the St. Louis Rams are one of the most surprising teams in the National Football League this season. Wins and losses might tell us most of the story, but you have to look further before drawing a conclusion about this Jeff Fisher-led team. 

    Their average point differential was minus-13.4 in a two-win 2011 season. This indicated that the Rams just weren't competitive last year. 

    Things have definitely taken a turn for the better this season. The Rams' four losses have come by a combined 34 points, which indicates that Fisher has gotten his team fired up and ready to play on Sundays—something we couldn't have said last year. 

    More impressively, their defense has been among one of the top 10 units in the league through the first seven weeks of the season.

    It is still hard to envision St. Louis being able to compete with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks atop the NFC West. This team is probably a year or two away.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Record: 6-0

    Postseason Chances: 100 Percent

    The Atlanta Falcons' bye couldn't have come at a better time. Atlanta won its last three games against the Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders by a combined 12 points. Matt Ryan had easily his worst performance against Oakland, throwing a total of three interceptions. 

    Listen, the Falcons are still the best team in the NFL, as they're the only undefeated squad. However, this doesn't mean that they are not vulnerable in the NFC moving forward. Elite teams go up against inferior competition and blow them out. Atlanta didn't do this the last three weeks. 

    While Atlanta might have the NFC South wrapped up prior to December, the team needs to keep its eye on the prize.

New Orleans Saints

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    Record: 2-4

    Postseason Chances: 15 Percent

    The simple fact that the New Orleans Saints are currently in second place in the NFC South tells us more about the division than it does about this struggling franchise. Remember, they were 0-4 just a couple short weeks ago. 

    Of course, it doesn't hurt that the ghosts of replacement officials turned up at full force towards the end of their win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday. Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson was called for illegal touching after a Saints defender clearly made contact with him beyond the five-yard mark. More importantly, it does seem that Jackson regained control in the field of play before catching the ball. 

    I digress. 

    Drew Brees is clearly putting this team on his back, and he won't go down without a fight. Brees threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone against Tampa on Sunday. That is some amazing stuff right there. 

    Meanwhile, New Orleans continues to be historically bad on the defensive side of the ball. It gave up 513 yards to a pedestrian Buccaneers offense, marking the sixth consecutive games that its defense has given up over 420 yards this season. More importantly, the Saints have now yielded 30 points per game thus far this season. 

    That's why they are going to miss the postseason.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Record: 2-4

    Postseason Chances: 10 Percent

    That was a difficult game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. It was probably their best all-around game of the season, though they struggled a great deal on the defensive side of the ball against Drew Brees and company. 

    Of course, it doesn't help that Tampa was screwed out of a late touchdown that would have sent the game into overtime. 

    This team still has a lot of maturing to do before it can be considered contenders for a postseason spot. Josh Freeman remains way too inconsistent, and the defense just isn't that good. 

    Two good notes: Rookie running back Doug Martin has improved in each of the last couple games, while Vincent Jackson broke a single-game franchise record with 216 receiving yards. Solid building blocks right there.

Carolina Panthers

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    Record: 1-5

    Postseason Chances: 5 Percent

    Talk about regression. The Carolina Panthers lost a game to a Dallas Cowboys team that continues to struggle making plays on the offensive side of the ball. 

    Cam Newton seems to be mired in a slump that has many believing his rookie season was nothing more than a fluke. You simply cannot make mistakes in the red zone and expect to come away with wins a vast majority of the time. Interceptions in the end zone have to be considered the worst possible mistake a quarterback can make. 

    More importantly, maturity seems to be missing here. Players aren't sold on Newton as a leader, while there remains a ton of issues with regard to both coaching and game management. 

    Carolina might not be as bad as its 1-5 record seems to indicate, but it is nowhere near the six-win team we saw in 2011.

Chicago Bears

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    Record: 5-1

    Postseason Chances: 70 Percent

    It is becoming readily apparent that the Chicago Bears are one of the best all-around teams in the National Football League. They dominated the Detroit Lions on Monday night, holding what had been a stellar offense to zero points up until the final minute of the game. 

    Jay Cutler showed tremendous grit returning to the game and is now starting to show signs of the quarterback we saw breakthrough a few years back with the Denver Broncos. His favorite target, then and now, is Brandon Marshall. The Pro Bowl wide receiver is quickly becoming one of the best No. 1 wide receivers in the league. 

    Moreover, Chicago now boasts the best all-around defense in the league. It is giving up less than 13 points a game and continues to dominate in the trenches. 

    Watch out rest of the NFC, this team is definitely conference championship contenders. 

Minnesota Vikings

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    Record: 5-2

    Postseason Chances: 45 Percent

    Do you believe? I am pretty damn sure the Minnesota Vikings do right about now. They have now won five of their first seven games and been incredibly impressive in the process. It is a story you just cannot write without taking a step back and looking at where they were last season. 

    Adrian Peterson tore apart his knee late in the year, Christian Ponder seemed to be regressing a bit, Percy Harvin was dealing with injuries as well as inconsistency, and the defense was an utter mess. 

    In the matter of a calendar year, this team has turned the pages from a disastrous 2011 performance and is now a serious contender to make the postseason in 2012. 

    Matt Kalil has added stability to the offensive line, Percy Harvin should be in the running for league MVP, and Christian Ponder has made incredible leaps from his rookie season. 

    While it is hard to believe that Minnesota is serious playoff material, at some point we just have to start believing. 

    As it is, we won't have a real idea as to whether this is a playoff team until the end of the season. The Vikings go up against the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers twice each over the course of the final six games.

Green Bay Packers

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    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 60 Percent

    Watch out, NFL; the Green Bay Packers are back. I could just envision Aaron Rodgers pulling out "back, back again" before dropping the mic. Seriously, this has to be one of the most dangerous teams in the league right now. 

    Many of us just couldn't point a finger at what was wrong with the Packers offense. They couldn't go downfield because Rodgers wasn't getting clean pockets or the time to pass. Balance was also an issue due to their inability to run. 

    When all is lost, why not rely on the reigning NFL MVP? This is what Green Bay did over the course of the last two weeks, and it has worked out like gold. In that time, Rodgers has completed over 76 percent of his passes for nearly 700 yards and nine touchdowns compared to zero interceptions. 

    Do I really need to say anything else? After all, my fingers are getting a bit tired at this point.

Detroit Lions

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    Record: 2-4

    Postseason Chances: 10 Percent

    Things just aren't right with the Detroit Lions. Both of their wins have come late in the fourth quarter or in overtime. This is a team that continues to struggle out of the gate and seems to have no identity on either side of the ball. 

    Matthew Stafford has now thrown less touchdown passes this season than Blaine Gabbert. That just goes to tell you how bad he has been after a stellar 2011 performance. Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson has been uncharacteristically inconsistent. He dropped multiple passes last night against Chicago and came down with just three receptions. 

    At this point it is hard to imagine Detroit mounting any type of comeback in what is a really good NFC North. Look for them to miss the playoffs this season. 

New York Giants

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    Record: 5-2

    Postseason Chances: 60 Percent

    Let me get one thing straight: The New York Giants are by far one of the most inconsistent regular-season teams in the NFL. They went into San Francisco and laid the smackdown on the 49ers last week, but they barely eked out a victory against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. 

    However, they are the defending Super Bowl champions, and they stand at 5-2 after the first seven weeks of the season, winning five of their last six games. Not too shabby. 

    This team simply cannot rely on Eli Manning to pull rabbits out of his hat in the postseason once again. Well, maybe they can. Still, it is important that this team starts to play more consistent football. 

    The talent is there; that isn't even in question.

Philadelphia Eagles

31 of 33

    Record: 3-3

    Postseason Chances: 30 Percent

    Andy Reid and Michael Vick have about three weeks to prove their worth to the Philadelphia Eagles. During that span, Philadelphia goes up against the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys. Anything less than two wins will put both firmly on to the hot seat. 

    Turning the ball over at the rate that Vick is right now just isn't sustainable if you want to be a playoff team. Continuing to ignore LeSean McCoy in the run game in order to feature the turnover-prone Vick makes no sense. 

    The decision to fire Juan Castillo won't fix these issues either. Philadelphia's major problem is on the offensive side of the ball, and Reid needs to understand that. 

Dallas Cowboys

32 of 33

    Record: 3-3

    Postseason Chances: 30 Percent

    The Dallas Cowboys just aren't a good football team right now. Let me rephrase that: The Cowboys offense just isn't that good. Their defense is among the best in the NFL following the additions of both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in the secondary. 

    Let me also make a point as it relates to the Cowboys passing game. They seriously need to consider trading Dez Bryant before the deadline. The young receiver simply doesn't seem like he gives a flying heck on the football field, continually looking for flags after the ball slips between his hands. Man up and play football, dude. 

    On that note, Dallas is actually in position to finish Week 8 in first place in the NFC East when it goes up against the New York Giants. 

    Let's see what the Cowboys have to offer then.

Washington Redskins

33 of 33

    Record: 3-4 

    Postseason Chances: 20 Percent

    Man, that Robert Griffin III character is pretty impressive.

    The Washington Redskins are not currently contenders to make the playoffs, but they were a close loss against the New York Giants away from grabbing sole possession of first place in the NFC East. 

    Imagine that. 

    Again, it is all about maturity here. 

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