Listed below are the top teams in each conference that would be on the outside looking in come playoff time. The number attached is their current seeding.
7. Miami Dolphins (6-6)
Joe Philbin’s club became the latest team to take advantage of the generosity (three turnovers) of the reeling New York Jets. Of course, it is also something the Dolphins have been better at this season. Miami has totaled 21 takeaways in a dozen games, five more (16) than it managed in 2012.
Remaining Schedule: at Steelers (5-7), Patriots (9-3), at Bills (4-8), Jets (5-7)
8. Tennessee Titans (5-7)
Their recent struggles within the division (0-4 in 2013) continue to be a stumbling block for the Titans, who held the Indianapolis Colts to one touchdown on Sunday but came up short, 22-14. And it is even harder to win when your quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) commits four turnovers.
Remaining Schedule: at Broncos (10-2), Cardinals (7-5), at Jaguars (3-9), Texans (2-10)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7)
Ben Roethlisberger and Co. saw their three-game winning streak end in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night despite giving up just one touchdown to the defending Super Bowl champions. Mike Tomlin’s team likely needs to run the table if it is to reach the playoffs.
Remaining Schedule: Dolphins (6-6), Bengals (8-4), at Packers (5-6-1), Browns (4-8)
10. San Diego Chargers (5-7)
The Bolts ran into one of the league’s better defenses in the Cincinnati Bengals, who handed Mike McCoy's team a 17-10 loss on Sunday. Meanwhile, San Diego allowed 164 rushing yards and committed three turnovers.
The Chargers’ conference record is a dismal 3-6. That's not good considering the logjam that is the AFC wild-card picture.
Remaining Schedule: Giants (5-7), at Broncos (10-2), Raiders (4-8), Chiefs (9-3)
11. New York Jets (5-7)
Will we see Geno Smith versus the Oakland Raiders this coming Sunday? The rookie quarterback was yanked on Sunday in the team’s 23-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the third straight setback for Rex Ryan’s club. Of course, backup Matt Simms didn’t fare much better, as the Jets managed just 177 total yards and had as many turnovers as points.
Remaining Schedule: Raiders (4-8), at Panthers (9-3), Browns (4-8), at Dolphins (6-6)
7. Philadelphia Eagles (7-5)
Chip Kelly’s team did what it had to do on Sunday in a key 24-21 win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Nick Foles hasn’t thrown an interception this season and is a key part of an Eagles team that has committed just 15 turnovers in 12 games. That’s quite a change from recent seasons, as the Birds gave up the football a combined 75 times in 32 games from 2011-12.
Remaining Schedule: Lions (7-5), at Vikings (3-8-1), Bears (6-6), at Cowboys (7-5)
8. Arizona Cardinals (7-5)
After throwing just two interceptions in his previous four games, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw a pair of picks and lost a fumble in Sunday’s crucial loss to the Eagles. Bruce Arians’ team still has three games vs. its NFC West rivals remaining, and that’s not promising considering Arizona’s record within the division (0-3) this season.
Remaining Schedule: Rams (5-7), at Titans (5-7), at Seahawks (11-1), 49ers (8-4)
9. Chicago Bears (6-6)
Marc Trestman’s club not only had its chances on Sunday at Minnesota, but it has had opportunities all season as well to establish a foothold. The Bears have dropped six of their last nine games following that 3-0 start. The Chicago defense has allowed a whopping 504 yards rushing in its last two games alone.
Remaining Schedule: Cowboys (7-5), at Browns (4-8), at Eagles (7-5), Packers (5-6-1)
10. Green Bay Packers (5-6-1)
Never say never when it comes to the NFL, but the Pack will be hard-pressed to get back to the playoffs thanks to this current 0-4-1 run, which includes a humbling 40-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. And will we actually see quarterback Aaron Rodgers again in 2013?
Remaining Schedule: at Falcons (3-9), at Cowboys (7-5), Steelers (5-7), at Bears (6-6)