Updated Playoff Odds for Every Team After NFL Week 8

Vincent Frank@VincentFrankNFLCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2012

Updated Playoff Odds for Every Team After NFL Week 8

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    As we inch closer to the halfway mark in the 2012 NFL regular season, things are starting to fall into place for teams around the league. 

    Sunday's slate of Week 8 games gave us a lot to think about and raised even more questions. Are the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts legitimate playoff contenders in the AFC? Are Andy Reid and Norv Turner firmly on the hot seat? 

    More importantly, who is going to challenge the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC? Which team is the best in the AFC? 

    While I can't answer all these questions here and won't even try, I will provide you with my weekly postseason odds for each NFL team. 

Denver Broncos

1 of 32

    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 70 percent

    Just take a look at this stat line for a second: 75.3 completion percentage, 1,289 yards, 12 touchdowns, one interception and a 127.9 quarterback rating. 

    Those are Peyton Manning's numbers over the course of the Denver Broncos' last four games. Without looking much further, one could easily draw the conclusion that the Broncos are contenders in the AFC with the future Hall of Fame quarterback playing this way. 

    More importantly, Denver has only one game remaining against a team that currently has a winning record. An 11-5 or 12-4 record isn't looking too far out of the realm of possibility here. 

San Diego Chargers

2 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 30 percent

    At some point it becomes apparent that what you are doing just isn't working. It seems like we reached that point this season with the San Diego Chargers. How long can we use Norv Turner as an excuse? Is Philip Rivers ever going to lead them to the ultimate goal of winning a championship? 

    One question might be answered in short order, while the other should drag on for quite a while. 

    Good teams don't go into Cleveland and lose to the Browns. Good offenses don't put up six points against a Cleveland defense that had yielded an average of 25.7 points in its first seven games. 

    San Diego now finds itself right back at square one. The Chargers are a talented team without an identity and a head coach who is just waiting for his walking papers. 

    San Diego now takes on the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, a really quick turnaround for two struggling football teams. A loss to the Chiefs could lead to speculation about Turner's job heading into a difficult five-week stretch. 


Oakland Raiders

3 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 25 percent

    Yes, the Oakland Raiders are just one game out of first place in the AFC West following the first eight weeks of the season. 

    No, they are not serious contenders to win the division or make the playoffs. 

    At this point I am not even sure that beating the Kansas City Chiefs should be considered a win against an NFL team. Still, Oakland did go into Arrowhead and lay down the hammer against a division opponent. 

    Darren McFadden returned to form by accruing 137 total yards on 33 touches. Oakland's defense forced four Kansas City turnovers and held Dwayne Bowe to just three catches on six targets. 

    While two consecutive wins does mean that this team has rebounded nicely from a slow start, it is important to note that those wins came against teams with a combined record of 2-12. 

    Following a winnable game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week, Oakland has a difficult three-game stretch against the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals. We will have a better idea then where it stands in the playoff picture. 

    I wouldn't hold my breath. 


Kansas City Chiefs

4 of 32

    Record: 1-6

    Postseason Chances: Five percent

    Pathetic doesn't even begin to describe the performance of the Kansas City Chiefs. According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Network, Kansas City is the first team since 1940 "not to lead a game in regulation through seven games." 

    They have now lost all four of their home games by a combined 46 points. More importantly, Kansas City has turned the ball over 25 times in seven games. 

    Less than a calendar year after having his interim tag removed, it appears that Romeo Crennel is firmly on the hot seat as the Chiefs' head coach. He is leading a team that just doesn't compete on a consistent basis.

    Expect Kansas City to continue this downward spiral and attempt to get an actual franchise quarterback next April. Until then, there are going to be a lot of images like the one embedded above at Arrowhead. 



Houston Texans

5 of 32

    Record: 6-1

    Postseason chances: 95 percent

    The Houston Texans enjoyed a bye in Week 8 after destroying the Baltimore Ravens last week. It was a perfect time for the best team in the AFC to take a week off. They now look to get healthy for the remainder of the season.

    Despite the New England Patriots' impressive victory over the St. Louis Rams in London on Sunday, there is no question in my mind that Houston is favorite to capture the AFC Championship this season. 

    J.J. Watt, who has 9.5 sacks and 10 passes defended, is a primary reason for this. Now we have to see how the rest of Houston's defense will perform without Brian Cushing in the middle of the field.


Indianapolis Colts

6 of 32

    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 45 percent

    How about these Indianapolis Colts? They have now won twice as many games as last season through just the first eight weeks of the season. More importantly, Indianapolis is in the thick of the playoff race as we enter November. 

    Many had high expectations for Andrew Luck, the individual player, but no one really expected Indianapolis to be this competitive this quickly. 

    The Colts still have issues on both sides of the ball. Indianapolis lacks a true standout on the offensive line, a consistent running game and is pedestrian at best in the defensive secondary. 

Tennessee Titans

7 of 32

    Record: 3-5

    Postseason Chances: 15 percent

    The Tennessee Titans could have made an emphatic statement with a win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Instead it was their defense that let the entire team down as it allowed a rookie quarterback to drive down the field for a game-winning touchdown. 

    The Titans now appear to be on the verge of being pushed completely out of the AFC playoff race.

    Teams just can't win in the NFL on a consistent basis with the horrendous play we have seen from the Titans' defense. The unit has yielded at least 400 yards in five of eight games this season, surrendering an average of 32.1 points per outing. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

8 of 32

    Record: 1-6

    Postseason Chances: Five percent

    That was an inspired effort by the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. But mediocre teams simply can't afford to make mistakes and expect to win. 

    The Jaguars committed seven penalties and had to rely on three Josh Scobee field goals from in or near the red zone. It goes without saying that won't get it done. 

    At 1-6, Jacksonville is clearly out of the playoff race and looking to the future. The only drama here is how Blaine Gabbert will perform the remainder of the season and where the Jaguars will select in the top five  of the 2013 NFL draft. 


Baltimore Ravens

9 of 32

    Record: 5-2

    Postseason Chances: 60 percent

    What better time for the Baltimore Ravens to have a bye week following their disastrous performance against the Houston Texans last week. This is a team that not only needs to right the ship on both sides of the ball, but get healthy as well. 

    It seemed like a foregone conclusion just a few weeks ago that Baltimore would win the AFC North going away. Now that it has struggled and the Pittsburgh Steelers have played some solid ball recently, I am not too sure. 

    Joe Flacco needs to wake up from his recent funk in relatively short order for the Ravens to right the ship. More importantly, their defense needs to get over the loss of Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis for the season. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

10 of 32

    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 55 percent

    Following a surprising loss to the Tennessee Titans a few weeks back, the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be right again. They took care of the Cincinnati Bengals last week and pretty much dominated a talented Washington Redskins team on Sunday. 

    Ben Roethlisberger continued his stellar play by throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has now thrown 14 touchdowns compared to three interceptions through the first seven games of the season. Equally as important, he was only sacked once against Washington on Sunday. 

    The Steelers, who were all but written off in the division race a couple weeks ago, now stand just one game behind the Baltimore Ravens, who they host in a few weeks. 


Cincinnati Bengals

11 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 35 percent

    Three consecutive losses and the Cincinnati Bengals now sit in the not-so-enviable position of looking up at both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North. You simply cannot afford a losing streak like that in such a tough division. 

    Andy Dalton, who started out the season strong, has thrown five touchdowns compared to six interceptions during the three-game losing streak, compiling a 71.2 quarterback rating. The main difference here is that the young quarterback has had to put the ball up more than Bengals' offensive coordinator Jay Gruden would like. 

    Cincinnati needs to get back to its winning ways to remain in the playoff picture following its Week 8 bye. 

    Five of the Bengals' next seven games are against opponents that currently are under .500. They have a chance to right the ship. 


Cleveland Browns

12 of 32

    Record: 2-6

    Postseason Chances: Five percent

    The Cleveland Browns have been much more competitive than many experts believed they would be at the start of the season. The most recent evidence of this is their 7-6 win against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. 

    Inclement weather affected the play of both teams, but Cleveland was able to pull out the low-scoring affair. Rookie running back Trent Richardson continued his stellar play by going for 122 yards on 24 rushes against a tough Chargers defense. 

    Meanwhile, Cleveland didn't turn the ball and committed only four penalties.

    It is pretty obvious that the Browns are not contending for a postseason spot in 2012, but at least they have a young core upon which to build a winning team. That's all you can ask for at this point. 

New England Patriots

13 of 32

    Record: 5-3

    Postseason Chances: 80 percent

    That was a mighty impressive win Sunday for a New England Patriots team that was coming off a subpar performance against the New York Jets a week prior. 

    Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns, while Stevan Ridley added another 127 yards on the ground in their 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams. Showing everyone that the Patriots have created a scary sort of balance on offense, Ridley is now fourth in the NFL in rushing. 

    If New England can continue this type of balance on offense, it is going to be incredibly hard to beat.

    However, it is important to note that Sunday's win isn't going to make the Patriots' season. They have games remaining against the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans. Those will be true tests for the defending AFC champions. 

Miami Dolphins

14 of 32

    Record: 4-3

    Postseason Chances: 50 percent

    The Miami Dolphins have been trending upward in my odds for the past few weeks, and for good reason. This is a team that could conceivably be 6-1 if it had better fortune in overtime. 

    The latest chapter in what is becoming a surprising story was Miami's 30-9 destruction of the New York Jets on Sunday. 

    Ryan Tannehill, who has been very impressive this season, did suffer a thigh bruise and hyper-extended left knee in the win, according to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. The Dolphins will wait for results of a MRI on Monday before drawing any conclusions about the severity of Tannehill's injury.

    Matt Moore was called on to replace the rookie and led Miami to an impressive win. 

    Whether it is Tannehill or Moore behind center, Miami has the talent on both sides of the ball to remain in the playoff picture. In fact, the Dolphins could become the real surprise team in the NFL when all is said and done. 

    What an amazing job first-year head coach Joe Philbin has done. 


Buffalo Bills

15 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 15 percent

    It isn't realistic to believe that the Buffalo Bills have a shot at earning a playoff berth this season. Their defense has simply destroyed any hope of continued success. 

    The Bills have now yielded nearly 950 rushing yards the last four games, representing one of the worst stretches for any team in the modern history of the NFL.

    I don't care if you have Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith on offense, consistent success just isn't sustainable under these conditions. 

    Meanwhile, Buffalo has to take on the Houston Texans and New England Patriots in its next two games. A 3-6 record after that stretch would leave this team bordering on irrelevance for the remainder of the season. 


New York Jets

16 of 32

    Record: 3-5

    Postseason Chances: 10 percent

    Is it Tebow time yet? That is a question that I have refused to buy into thus far this season. It is also a question that needs to be asked at this point in the year. 

    The New York Jets are getting nowhere fast with Mark Sanchez behind center. The enigmatic quarterback is a non-factor right now. He has now compiled a quarterback rating of less than 70 in five of his eight starts this season. That just isn't going to get it done. 

    More importantly, New York just doesn't seem to have the talent necessary to compete for a postseason spot. It now has a bye in Week 9 before having to travel to take on the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams. 

    The Jets could be out of the race before we know it, if they aren't already. 


San Francisco 49ers

17 of 32

    Record: 6-2

    Postseason Chances: 80 percent

    That was one impressive victory for the San Francisco 49ers on Monday. They completely destroyed the Arizona Cardinals 24-3 on the road in what was a battle for first in the NFC West. 

    Alex Smith was 18-for-19, which broke an NFL record for the most pass attempts with just one incompletion. Meanwhile, both Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss came through at wide receivers, recording three touchdowns combined. 

    San Francisco's defense didn't allow a touchdown for the fourth time in five games. It is now No. 1 in both overall and scoring defense. 

    The 49ers now enter their bye with a strong two game lead in the NFC West and two wins against their closest competitors. 




Seattle Seahawks

18 of 32

    Record: 4-4

    Postseason Chances: 35 percent

    The Seattle Seahawks will not contend for a playoff spot in the NFC this season unless they find a way to win on the road consistently. Seattle is now a horrendous 6-15 away from home under Pete Carroll. 

    We already know that Seattle has one of the best defenses in the NFL. However, it struggled a great deal against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Seahawks yielded 26 first downs and 415 yards, while allowing Matthew Stafford to drive Detroit down the field for a game-winning score in the final minute. 

    Good news alert. Seattle plays five of its final eight games at home, which bodes well for it to finish with a minimum of eight wins. Still, the Seahawks are going to have to grab one or two wins on the road to even have a shot in the NFC West. 

Arizona Cardinals

19 of 32

    Record: 4-4

    Postseason Chances: 20 percent

    Monday separated the contenders from the pretenders. Unfortunately for the Arizona Cardinals, they are nothing more than pretenders at this point in the same. 

    They were absolutely destroyed by a vastly superior San Francisco 49ers team at home last night to the tune of 24-3. 

    Arizona recorded a total of seven rushing yards, its lowest  individual game output in nearly 50 years. Moreover, John Skelton was sacked another four times as the Cardinals offensive line continued to struggle. 

    They have now lost four consecutive games and are two games behind San Francisco in the NFC West. 

St. Louis Rams

20 of 32

    Record: 3-5

    Postseason Chances: 10 percent

    For the first time this season, the St. Louis Rams failed to compete on the football field. They were blown out 45-7 by a vastly superior New England Patriots team. In a reversal of fortune from previous games, the Rams' defense struggled a great deal against Tom Brady and company, yielding 29 first downs and 473 yards. 

    Meanwhile, Sam Bradford struggled finding receivers down the field after hitting Chris Givens on a 50-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. 

    St. Louis, now in last place, must go up against the San Francisco 49ers following its Week 9 bye. Let's see the result of that game before completely counting the Rams out, but it isn't looking good right now. 

Atlanta Falcons

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    Record: 7-0

    Postseason Chances: 100 percent

    After three consecutive mediocre performances, the Atlanta Falcons came out firing on all cylinders against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. They opened up an early 14-0 lead as Matt Ryan started hot out of the gate. 

    In reality, Philadelphia was never really in this game on its home turf. 

    This is what great teams do. Go on the road against a solid opponent and come away with a convincing victory. 

    Atlanta now stands at 7-0 and four games ahead in the NFC South through the first eight weeks of the season. There is absolutely no reason to believe that it is going to fall back to the massive pile of mediocrity that exists within the rest of the division. 

    With only two games remaining against teams currently with a winning record, it might be time to talk about the unmentionable.

    Will Atlanta go undefeated? 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 20 percent

    Greg Schiano has his team playing some good football right now. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a dominating 36-17 win against the Minnesota Vikings on the road Thursday evening. 

    Doug Martin, who I had pegged as a Pro Bowl-caliber player this season, had his coming-out party. The talented rookie from Boise State compiled 214 total yards on 32 touches. If Martin can continue this kind of stellar play, the Buccaneers will definitely be in a good position on offense.

    Despite recent success, Tampa is still behind the proverbial eight-ball. Assuming that it will take 10 wins to earn a playoff spot in the NFC, the Buccaneers need to go 7-2 over their final nine games. That's definitely a tough task, considering they have to face the Atlanta Falcons twice. 



New Orleans Saints

23 of 32

    Record: 2-5

    Postseason Chances: 10 percent

    What a disastrous loss for the New Orleans Saints Sunday night. They had hoped to get back into the NFC playoff race in front of a national television audience. Well, it couldn't have turned out worse.

    Drew Brees struggled a great deal in the passing game as the Saints' defense was torn apart once again. 

    In the end, this game proved what many of us had already come to realize: New Orleans just isn't prepared to contend in 2012. It fell behind 34-7 before a garbage-time touchdown pass from Brees. 

    The Denver Broncos ended up with 530 total yards, representing the third time that New Orleans has given up at least 500 yards. Even more disturbing, its defense has yielded a minimum of 420 yards in each game this season. 

    Time to turn the page and look ahead. 


Carolina Panthers

24 of 32

    Record: 1-6

    Postseason Chances: Five percent

    Even without a rooting interest, I found myself rooting for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. They were going into Soldier Field to take on a heavily favored Chicago Bears team that had dominated its past few opponents. 

    Cam Newton and company came out inspired and ready to go. The Panthers opened up a 19-7 lead after three quarters, but just couldn't hold on to steal a victory from the Bears. 

    Carolina has now lost five consecutive games and sits with the worst record in the NFC through the first eight weeks of the season. That's definitely a far cry from what many of us expected at the start of the year. 

    In short, Carolina's season is pretty much over at the halfway mark. It is now all about moral victories and progression from the young core. 

Chicago Bears

25 of 32

    Record: 6-1

    Postseason Chances: 80 percent

    Call it uninspired football. Maybe a case of overlooking a lesser opponent. Either way, the Chicago Bears looked anything but top contenders in the NFC in Sunday's 23-22 win over Carolina. 

    Jay Cutler was sacked six times as Chicago's offensive line failed to hold up against a Carolina defense that had recorded a total of 14 sacks in its first six games. If Chicago wants to go deep in the playoffs, they must protect the quarterback better. 

    In the end, Cutler came through, leading Chicago on a last-minute scoring drive to grab a victory against a one-win team at home. 

    While Chicago has to be considered favorites to win the NFC North, it has to go up against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans later this season. 

Minnesota Vikings

26 of 32

    Record: 5-3

    Postseason Chances: 35 percent

    Even at 5-3, the Minnesota Vikings are in a precarious position. They are coming off a disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home and have one heck of a schedule ahead.

    Minnesota has to take on both the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears twice, as well as the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans in the second half of the season. Do you really see them going 5-3 during that span? This is what it is going to take to make the playoffs in the NFC. 

    Christian Ponder simply needs to start playing better football. He has now thrown seven interceptions in the last four games after not throwing a single one during the first four games of the season. That's definitely not a good sign for a team that was hoping he was going to progress. 


Green Bay Packers

27 of 32

    Record: 5-3

    Postseason Chances: 60 percent

    That was one ugly victory for the Green Bay Packers at home against one of the worst teams in the NFL. It took a strong second-half performance to outlast the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. 

    Green Bay wasn't able to get anything going on the ground against a defense that had yielded an average of 147 rushing yards in its first six games. The Packers gained 66 yards on 26 rushes. Aaron Rodgers and the passing game were barely good enough to overcome the ground game issues.

    Green Bay needs more balance on offense.

    Defensively, it wasn't much better. Blaine Gabbert recorded his first 300-yard passing game and actually outperformed Rodgers in passing yards and quarterback rating. That's not a good sign for this defense. 

    At 4-3, Green Bay is right in the middle of the playoff race, but it is far from certain to grab one of the six spots. There just seems to be several issues holding back this team. Sunday's lackluster performance against Jacksonville magnified that. 


Detroit Lions

28 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 20 percent

    That might have been a season-saving victory for the Detroit Lions against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. It took yet another Matthew Stafford comeback to get it done, but the Lions are now 3-4 and just one game out of the final playoff spot. 

    That's not bad considering how this team has played thus far this season. 

    There are still a lot of issues on both sides of the ball, none more glaring than the meager production from Calvin Johnson, who has only six receptions in the last two games. The bread and butter of this team is that Stafford-to-Johnson connection. If Detroit can't get that figured out, I just don't see it winning on a consistent basis. 

    A tough second-half schedule featuring the Green Bay Packers (twice), Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans won't help the Lions' efforts. 


New York Giants

29 of 32

    Record: 6-2

    Postseason Chances: 75 percent

    I was not impressed by the New York Giants' narrow victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. They forced six turnovers, including four Tony Romo interceptions, but only came away with a five-point victory after blowing a 23-0 lead. 

    Eli Manning hit on just 15-of-29 passes, continually looking lost in the passing game. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks combined for six catches on 15 targets as well. 

    Red-zone offense was a major problem on Sunday. New York recorded just one touchdown on four trips near or inside the Cowboys' 20. If it were able to score another touchdown or two, this game wouldn't have been close at the end. 

    In what has been a common theme for this team throughout the last couple seasons, New York just seems to be far too inconsistent during the regular year. 

    That being said, the Giants are still 6-2 and have a comfortable lead in the NFC East. They are almost a  lock to earn a postseason spot and vie for another Super Bowl. 

Dallas Cowboys

30 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 20 percent

    A disastrous start, a valiant comeback attempt and then a disastrous finish. This seems to sum up the Dallas Cowboys under Tony Romo. 

    They turned the ball over four times in the first half Sunday against the Giants and fell behind 23-0 before taking the lead 24-23 in the third quarter. Two more turnovers, one a Felix Jones fumble and the other a desperation heave by Tony Romo, sealed the Cowboys' fate. 

    You simply can't turn the ball over six times if you want to win in the NFL. 

    As much as I want to place blame on the rest of the team, Romo has now thrown 10 interceptions in the last four games. 

    Dallas is now 3-4 through the first eight weeks of the season and has to take on the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles in its next two games. We could be looking at a team that is nearly out of the playoff race halfway through October. 

    Is it time to talk about the job security of Jason Garrett and Romo? Well, Dallas might just think about blowing it up after the season. 

    Either way, it isn't in a good place right now. 


Philadelphia Eagles

31 of 32

    Record: 3-4

    Postseason Chances: 20 percent

    At some point, Andy Reid is going to have to take responsibility for what is happening with the Philadelphia Eagles. They have lost four of their last five games and consistently struggle making plays at the right time. 

    Multiple news outlets reported Sunday night that Reid is contemplating benching Michael Vick in lieu of rookie Nick Foles. This would be the latest in a series of cop-outs that started with the firing of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo last week. 

    Vick had the following to say about the possibility of being benched:

    It's tough when you know everything is up in the balance, but that's the decision that coach is thinking about making, and I'm going to fight until he says, 'Come on out,' and he takes me out of the game. Despite everything that's been said the last couple weeks, I still continue to put in the hard work and the effort and try to do everything I can to prepare and win football games, man. I can't do it by myself. I would love to stay in there and finish what I started. It would mean the world to me. But, hey, that's not my decision right now.

    Either way, the Eagles are not looking like contenders in the NFC this season.



Washington Redskins

32 of 32

    Record: 3-5

    Postseason Chances: 10 percent

    The Washington Redskins are close, really close. They just aren't quite there yet. Robert Griffin III continues to play good football, but wasn't helped out by his receivers on Sunday. By my estimation, they dropped a total of 10 passes. That just isn't going to work moving forward. 

    At 3-5, Washington isn't currently in the playoff picture. The remainder of the 2012 season will be all about progressing on both sides of the ball. The Redskins want to see both RGIII and Alfred Morris continue to play at a high level. 


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