NFL: The 5 Toughest Remaining Schedules

Brandon ReiterCorrespondent IINovember 3, 2011

NFL: The 5 Toughest Remaining Schedules

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    Halfway through this NFL season, there are still a number of teams in the playoff hunt. While some teams are considered contenders, others are thought to be pretenders. There are some teams that have an easy walk to the playoffs from here, but others are not so lucky.

    This list examines the five toughest NFL schedules and how well the teams will fare against them.

Honorable Mention: Miami Dolphins

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    Notable Remaining Games:

    @ Kansas City 

    @ Buffalo 

    vs Oakland 

    vs Philadelphia 

    @ Buffalo 

    @ New England 

    vs Jets

    Although the Dolphins are not in the playoff hunt, they get an honorable mention because they still have to face tough teams and a road to get that first win. They compete every week but unfortunately fall short every week; they are simply not a fourth-quarter team. I do think they have the capability to pull out one game this year.

    Prediction: 1-15

5. Cincinatti Bengals

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    Notable Remaining Games:

    vs. Pittsburgh

    @ Baltimore

    @ Pittsburgh

    vs. Houston

    vs. Baltimore

     

    The Bengals are surprisingly 5-2. I say surprisingly because, on paper, they shouldn't be 5-2; they have a rookie quarterback and a struggling running game, but their defense has been very impressive.

    They have a good shot at making the playoffs right now, but they will have to play at their maximum if they want to seal it. They have to play both the Steelers and the Ravens twice, plus a game versus the red-hot Texans at home.

    Prediction: 10-6

4. New York Jets

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    Notable Remaining Games:

    @ Buffalo

    vs. New England

    vs. Buffalo

    @ Philadelphia 

    vs. NYG

     

    The Jets haven't played well this season, but they haven't played that poorly either. Decent is how you can label their 2011 season so far, I guess. Their defense isn't playing tremendous, and their offense is struggling to say the least. 

    Gang Green has a tough road to the playoffs, as they have two games against Buffalo, a game versus New England at home, at Philly and a game versus the Giants, which is technically a home game, but it is really neutral. 

    It is no doubt that the Jets will have to play better if they want to make the playoffs.

    Prediction: 9-7

3. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Notable Remaining Games:

    @ New England

    vs. Pittsburgh

    @ Chicago

    @ NYJ

    vs. GB

    vs. Oak

     

    After a rough start, the Chiefs have been one of the most impressive teams, winning their last four games. They upset the Chargers on MNF and look to keep their winning streak alive.

    But that will be hard to do.

    The Chiefs have to go into New England face the always-tough Patriots. They have the Steelers at home, one of the best teams in the league. Then they have to go on the road again and face the Bears and the Jets. If the Chiefs keep playing the way they are right now, they still have a shot at the playoffs, with large help due to the lack of power in their conference.

    Prediction: 9-7

2. San Diego Chargers

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    Notable Remaining Games:

    vs. Green Bay

    vs. Oakland

    @ Chicago

    vs. Buffalo

    vs. Baltimore

    @ Detroit 

    @ Oakland

     

    That's a very tough schedule to say the least.

    After embarrassing themselves on MNF, the Chargers do not face an easy road to the playoffs, as they have tough road games at Chicago, Oakland and, now the loudest place on earth, Detroit.

    They have the undefeated Packers coming in to play them this week, and in a couple weeks, they have the red-hot Bills coming to town. 

    With all of the criticizing that Rivers has endured between Monday night and the Jets game last week, this schedule does not seem promising for Chargers fans.

    Prediction: 7-9 

1. New York Giants

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    Notable Remaining Games:

    @ New England

    @ San Francisco

    @ New Orleans

    vs. Philadelphia

    vs. Green Bay

    @ New York Jets

     

    I would call the Giants the worst best team in the NFL this season.

    They have been winning games, but they have been making it way too close for comfort in almost every game. They struggled early versus Miami, and they have been plagued by injuries—Giants players just love to tear their ACLs. Regardless, Eli Manning has actually been elite this year. If Aaron Rodgers didn't exist, he would have my vote, and that of many others as well, for MVP.

    The Giants face a very, very, very tough schedule ahead of them. Luckily for them, they have won early in the season to help out their chances for the playoffs. After going to Foxborough this week, the Giants have to face both Green Bay and the 49ers (a combined record of 13-1) on the road. They also have to play New Orleans in the Super Dome and Dallas in the huge stadium. They also have the Jets in a "road" game.

    The Giants need Eli Manning to stay where he is right now, at the top of his game, in order to make the playoffs. Also, the return of some of their injured players could fare well for them as the season progresses.

    Prediction: 10-6