The NFL playoff picture is far from set in stone heading into the final two weeks of the regular season, as there are a bevy of teams that still have hopes of making a run at the playoffs.
More than a handful of teams are hovering around the .500 mark, and that usually wouldn't be grounds for making a late push at the playoffs. But with top teams getting upset with the frequency of what seems like every week, these middle-of-the-road teams still have life.
Some very talented teams are currently on the outside looking in, but that could all change with a strong finish to the season in Weeks 16 and 17.
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers are a very talented team. Unfortunately, they play in the same division as the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs.
This will make a run at the playoffs very difficult.
To their credit, the Chargers have helped themselves with a Week 15 win over the Broncos on Thursday night. This should give them hope heading into their Week 17 matchup against the Chiefs. That game could have major playoff implications and will likely determine whether or not the Chargers get to play more football or go golfing.
The Oakland Raiders in Week 16 shouldn't be too tough of a test, especially considering the 56-31 beatdown Kansas City just put on them. That being said, Oakland bested San Diego in Week 5.
As volatile as they have been this season, the Chargers are in a decent position to make the playoffs. Beating the Chiefs won't be easy, but a win against the Broncos should give them the necessary confidence to succeed.
Green Bay Packers
Don't look now, because the Green Bay Packers are still very much alive in the NFC. Matt Flynn led the Packers to a historic comeback victory against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15, and he kept the team's divisional hopes alive in the process.
At 7-6-1, the Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears to finish out the season. Naturally, their game against the Bears will likely decide the Packers' fate.
While Flynn was great in the second half against Dallas, Aaron Rodgers is clearly a necessity for this team. With him under center, they instantly become a dangerous NFC team.
Whether or not Rodgers will play remains to be seen, but it looks like it was a good decision to not shut him down a few weeks ago. If he can play in a week or two week's time, then Green Bay would be wise to get him back into action.
Imagine a scenario where Rodgers comes back for Week 17 and wins to send his team to the playoffs. He won't win MVP because he didn't play a good portion of the season, but that hypothetical has "Most Valuable Player" written all over it.
The Detroit Lions will be in direct competition with the Packers in the NFC North and for the final spot in the NFC playoffs, although their remaining schedule is a cakewalk compared to Green Bay's.
In Week 16, Detroit will take on the New York Giants. The Giants are the only team to be shut out this season, and they've been shut out twice. Detroit should handle them easily.
Which team makes the playoffs?
Week 17 brings Detroit to Minnesota to face the Vikings. Despite a surprising win against the Philadelphia Eagles this week, the Vikings are not a team that should intimidate the Lions. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will pick apart the defense and put points on the board.
The potential impact of Rodgers makes the Packers a real threat to the Lions, but without him, Detroit should be able to coast into the playoffs. In fact, they even have a chance to catch the 8-6 Bears.
With games against the Eagles and Packers to close the season, they're no sure bet for the division either. The NFC North is officially a three-horse race.