For some NFL teams, all hope is not yet lost, but it's getting pretty close.
That's why this point in the season is so important. With most teams having already bypassed their bye weeks and delved into the second half of their schedules, we're well into make-it-or-break-it time.
This week could represent one of a few things for some of those teams that are still on the bubble: The week their season turns around, the week they delay their fate for a little while longer or the week their season officially begins to crumble.
Here's a look at some of the teams in the latter categories.
New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons - Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. ET
Given where the Saints were a little over a month ago, they've definitely made drastic improvements, but they're not quite out of the woods yet. And they may never be.
Aside from all of the personnel drama currently dominating the New Orleans-related dialogue, there's the fact that they have a date with the mighty Atlanta Falcons coming up this week and another one on Thanksgiving. And also, matchups against San Francisco and New York.
It's all good and well that they've won three of four since starting off the season 0-4, but maybe a 2012 playoff berth just isn't meant to be for them this year. To get one, they're going to have to keep winning, and to keep winning, they're going to have to beat some of the NFL's best teams—not just the Chargers, the Bucs and the Eagles.
The Falcons may not finish the season perfect, but they're probably not going to suffer their first loss to the up-and-down Saints.
Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans - Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. ET
Obviously, lingering at .500, the Dolphins are on the verge of being either a good team capable of achieving something or a team that is going to fall short yet again.
Nobody really expect much out of this team with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill leading. And anyone who did expect something expected even less after this team got off to a 1-3 start, but ever since then, the Dolphins have gone 3-1 and are right behind the Patriots in second place in the AFC East.
Hope is certainly not lost for the Dolphins. If anything, it's kind of surging. Sunday's game against the Titans is a big deal, though, because it provides them with an opportunity to climb up above .500 once again.
The Titans, at 3-6, are a very beatable team. However, even if they win this one, the Dolphins still have four division games left this season, two of which will come against the Patriots. On top of that, they face Seattle and San Francisco in the next eight weeks.
The second half doesn't look to promising for the upstart Dolphins, even if they escape this week with a win.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles - Sunday, Nov. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
The Cowboys' 3-5 record certainly doesn't provide much confidence, but the only reason their season isn't a wash already is because the rest of the NFC East—aside from the New York Giants—is proving to be equally or more futile. The Eagles are also 3-5, and the Redskins are 3-6.
The Cowboys have four remaining division matchups, all against the bad teams in the division, which theoretically could provide ample opportunity to grab a few wins. Except that even if the Cowboys do manage to rise from the dead and win five or six of their remaining games—which is a bit of a long shot, considering how inconsistent this offense has been in the first half—it's still incredibly unlikely that they will be able to trump the Giants in the NFC East standings.
The end for the Cowboys may not come this week—they have a gift on their schedule in the form of the struggling Eagles—but it will soon enough.