With the 2013 NFL regular season just around the corner, there's never been a better time to assess where all 32 teams stand as far as making it to the postseason.
While some teams enter the season as near-locks to make it to the playoffs and are the subject of all sorts of championship banter, others are simply hoping to prove critics wrong and make an improbable run of their own.
Let's take a look at each team's chances of making the playoffs in 2013.
Week 1 NFL Power Rankings
|1||San Francisco 49ers||4-13|
|5||Green Bay Packers||4-13|
|6||New England Patriots||1-7|
|11||New Orleans Saints||2-3|
|13||St. Louis Rams||3-1|
|17||New York Giants||1-1|
|20||Kansas City Chiefs||5-2|
|22||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11-4|
|29||San Diego Chargers||11-4|
|31||New York Jets||7-1|
Playoff odds via Bovada
Denver Broncos: 1-10
However, star linebacker Von Miller will be unable to anchor that stingy Broncos defense for the first six games of the season as he'll sit out for violating the league's substance abuse policy, per Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
Add that to the odd departure of Elvis Dumervil this offseason and Champ Bailey's injury problems, and Denver's swarming defense is searching for a new identity and new players to step up in Miller's absence.
The fusion of one of the top offenses and top defenses in the league is what made Denver the most dangerous team in the NBA heading into the 2012 postseason, but a lot of that is now gone with so many question marks on the defensive side of the ball.
Still, it's hard to bet against Manning, with his stacked receiving core, putting up more points than most—if not all—of the Broncos' opponents. If rookie Montee Ball can play beyond his years and Miller can get back to 2012 form upon his return, they should run away with the AFC's top seed.
New York Giants: 1-1
Isn't it weird to see the Giants—with a two-time Super Bowl champion at quarterback and just one season removed from a championship—with even odds of making the playoffs?
Not as weird as you may think. Yes, the G-men won it all in 2007 and 2011, but the regular season from those campaigns was underwhelming. They went 10-6 in 2007 and 9-7 in 2011, just squeaking into the playoffs before tearing through the postseason.
So, take their playoff odds with a grain of salt. The Giants are still a championship contender, and we've learned the hard way not to count them out if they limp into the playoff picture at the last second.
As long as Eli Manning is the quarterback and targets Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks stay healthy, the Giants have a shot at getting back to the Super Bowl and excelling just enough in an up-and-down NFC East.
Cincinnati Bengals: 4-5
In two seasons, quarterback Andy Dalton has helped Cincinnati fans forget about Carson Palmer in a hurry and has quickly made the playoffs a reasonable expectation year in and year out.
A huge part of that resurgence has been wide receiver A.J. Green, who has quickly emerged as one of the NFL's top receivers. With 97 grabs for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns a year ago, the Bengals may not need another receiver.
One of the Bengals' biggest storylines this season will be if Dalton can incorporate more receivers into the fold on a regular basis to help keep things less predictable. Mohamed Sanu should slide into the No. 2 spot, while Andrew Hawkins is an increasingly reliable option in the slot.
Just as well, the run game has some questions that need answering. Rookie Giovani Bernard has made a splash in training camp and should tussle with BenJarvus Green-Ellis—who eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards and scampered for six touchdowns a year ago—for reps.
If Sanu, Hawkins and Bernard can come into their own this year and Dalton continues to progress, this team's expectations will soar higher than simply making the playoffs.