NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Which Teams Still Have a Shot at the Playoffs?

Bryant West@bswest5Correspondent INovember 9, 2011

NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Which Teams Still Have a Shot at the Playoffs?

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    The NFL playoffs begin in two months, and for the most part, there's still plenty of time for teams to earn spots in football's second season.

    Some teams have all but punched their tickets for the playoffs, and some are all but guaranteed to be sitting at home come January. But for most of the league, there is still plenty of opportunity—and plenty of work left to do—to secure a postseason berth.

    Which of the NFL teams still have a shot at making the playoffs? Let's take a look.

    Slides are in order according to ESPN's playoff standings

Indianapolis Colts

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    Peyton Manning could return completely healthy this Sunday, and it would still be nearly impossible for the Indianapolis Colts to get into the playoffs.

    That's what happens when you start 0-9.

    Playoff Chances: Zero percent

St. Louis Rams

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    The St. Louis Rams have only looked good for six quarters this season: the opening half of their Week 1 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, and their surprising upset of the new Orleans Saints in Week 8.

    Of course, six quarters of decent football won't get you into the postseason, especially not when the Rams have otherwise been one of the NFL's most horrific teams.

    It's a sad state of affairs for a team that many expected to win the NFC West.

    Playoff Chances: Zero percent

Miami Dolphins

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    The Miami Dolphins finally got their first win of the season last week when they demolished the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs in a 31-3 rout.

    It wouldn't be surprising if that was Miami's only victory this season. Its schedule only gets harder from here, with two games against the Bills and matchups against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.

    The only effect of the lone Dolphins win was it may have cost them Andrew Luck.

    Playoff Chances: Zero percent

Carolina Panthers

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    The Carolina Panthers don't need the playoffs to be excited. The season, no matter how it ends for Carolina, will be deemed a complete success thanks to the emergence of Cam Newton.

    Newton has been nothing short of amazing considering the question marks surrounding him out of college. 

    The Panthers, though, sit at 2-6 and have some difficult games ahead against the Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and Saints. We may be talking about Carolina in the playoffs in a season or two, but it won't happen this year.

    Playoff Chances: Zero percent

Arizona Cardinals

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    The two Arizona Cardinals wins have come against the Panthers and the Rams, both of whom sit lower in the NFL standings.

    It isn't like Arizona has had a difficult schedule, either—it's lost games to the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, all of whom won't be seeing the postseason either.

    And bad news for Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals—the schedule only gets tougher. A game in Philadelphia and two contests against the San Francisco 49ers will most certainly doom Arizona to another dismal season.

    Playoff Chances: Zero percent

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Perhaps if the Jacksonville Jaguars could play the Baltimore Ravens all 16 games of the season, they might be able to sneak into the postseason.

    The Jaguars win against Baltimore in Week 7 was impressive, even if the Ravens beat themselves. And Jacksonville is likely to snag another win this weekend when it faces the winless Colts. But playoffs? Nearly impossible with a 2-6 record.

    Playoff Chances: Zero percent

Minnesota Vikings

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    The Vikings are good when they play bad teams, and bad when they play good teams.

    They may be better than their 2-6 record indicates—they did give the champion Green Bay Packers a run for their money in a 33-27 loss in Week 7—but the Vikings are a few years and a few good players away from challenging for anything.

    Playoff Chances: Zero percent

Seattle Seahawks

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    Technically, if the Seahawks win every game from here on out, and the 49ers lose every game, Seattle could still win the division title.

    But with Tarvaris Jackson and an incredibly weak offense, chances of that happening are virtually nil. Seattle needs a ton of talent before it can get back into the Super Bowl hunt.

    Playoff Chances: .01 percent

Cleveland Browns

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    With the Madden curse's successful destruction of Peyton Hillis, and no help from his receivers, Colt McCoy's offense is utterly dismal in Cleveland.

    The Browns defense is fairly decent, although you wouldn't have known that from the 30-13 beatdown they suffered against the Texans last week. If the offense starts clicking and Hillis returns to true form, Cleveland could possibly make a run at an AFC wild-card spot.

    But realistically, it isn't happening.

    Playoff Chances: One percent

Denver Broncos

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    The Denver Broncos are just a game out of the AFC West division lead. The Broncos have already upset one division rival in the Oakland Raiders, and they will look to pull off another when they face Kansas City this week.

    If the Broncos can continue to win games despite/thanks to Tim Tebow, they could certainly make a run at the most wild-open division in the NFL. 

    Playoff Chances: 25 percent

Washington Redskins

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    The Redskins are beat up and injured, and even while playing John Beck at quarterback, they still managed a close game against San Francisco last week.

    Washington may not be as bad as its 3-5 record indicates, but its offensive struggles combined with an incredibly tough NFC wild-card race makes its playoff hopes minimal.

    Playoff Chances: Five percent

Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Eagles fell to 3-5 this week with a loss at home to Chicago on Monday night. After two straight victories against the Redskins and Cowboys, Eagles fans hoped Philadelphia could gain momentum and become the team most expected to challenge Green Bay for the NFC title. 

    Philadelphia is incredibly erratic and has the most turnovers in the league with 19. It also doesn't have an easy schedule, with contests against both New York squads and the Patriots.

    Still, if Michael Vick could return to last season's form, and if the Eagles rush defense could begin containing the run, they could make a push for a wild-card spot.

    Playoff Chances: 30 percent

Oakland Raiders

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    The Carson Palmer deal has so far been an utter disaster for the Oakland Raiders. Palmer has thrown six interceptions in two games with Oakland, and the Raiders defense was torched by Tim Tebow (of all people) in their 38-24 loss to Denver last week.

    The injury to Darren McFadden is a huge blow for the Raiders, but they could still easily win their struggling division if they manage to sweep their two games against San Diego.

    Playoff Chances: 25 percent

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    After the bright season Tampa Bay had last year, the Bucs have taken a nosedive back into mediocrity. They sit at 4-4 on the year and still have games left against Green Bay, Dallas and Atlanta.

    Josh Freeman has taken a huge step back this season, and with him, the whole Tampa Bay offense. They are just a game out of a wild-card spot, but when teams like Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta are fighting for a wild-card spot as well, Bucs fans shouldn't get their hopes up.

    Playoff Chances: 25 percent

San Diego Chargers

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    The San Diego Chargers were supposed to run away with the division. Instead, they've been as inconsistent as Philip Rivers this season.

    Rivers has a league-high 14 interceptions on the season, and until he starts playing more consistently, the Chargers will be just another mediocre team in the AFC West.

    They still have two games against struggling Oakland, but they also have to face the Bills, Ravens and Lions, so it won't be easy for them.

    It's probably easy for the Chargers (or any AFC West squad) to win their division rather than get in as a Wild Card—the AFC is far tougher on the whole than the AFC West.

    Playoff Chances: 25 percent

Tennessee Titans

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    Considering how disappointing Chris Johnson has been this season, it's fairly impressive that the Titans are 4-4. 

    They currently sit behind just Buffalo and the Jets for an AFC wild-card spot, ahead of San Diego and Oakland. They really only have three excellent teams left to face—away games at Atlanta, Buffalo and Houston.

    If Johnson can return to the dominance he showed last season, a playoff spot for Tennessee isn't completely out of the question. 

    Playoff Chances: 25 percent

Dallas Cowboys

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    The Dallas Cowboys needed a bounce-back performance after their 34-7 dismantling by Philadelphia in Week 8. Still, their 23-13 win over Seattle was anything but convincing.

    They still have some easy contests left, with games against Washington, Miami and Arizona. But they also have to face the Giants twice, and unless Tony Romo suddenly becomes a top-five quarterback again, their playoff hopes aren't anything special.

    Playoff Chances: 30 percent

Buffalo Bills

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    The Buffalo Bills started their season hot, winning four of their first five games. Since then, they have lost two of their last three contests, including one to their wild-card rival Jets.

    Fred Jackson has powered the Bills offense, and their tenacious defense produces the most turnovers in the league. They won't likely steal the AFC top from New England or maybe even New York, but they're certainly one of the top six teams in the AFC and deserve a shot at a wild-card slot.

    Playoff Chances: 50 percent

Atlanta Falcons

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    The Atlanta Falcons have a fairly easy schedule to end the season, with only three games (two contests against the Saints and one at Houston) looming dangerously between them and a wild-card spot.

    The NFC South belongs to the Saints, but Atlanta can certainly contend for one of the two NFC wild-card slots currently held by Detroit and Chicago. The bad news for Atlanta—Chicago's schedule down the stretch is incredibly easy.

    Playoff Chances: 50 percent

New York Jets

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    Two weeks ago, fans and the media alike were claiming the Jets were grounded. Now, they are possible playoff hopefuls.

    The AFC wild-card race will be tough, and the Jets will have to keep up a consistent offense if they want a chance at the second season. Their defense is spectacular, as they proved in their 21-11 dismantling of Buffalo in Week 9. Their offense needs to remain at a high level, though.

    Playoff Chances: 45 percent

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Things are looking a bit bleaker for Pittsburgh nowadays. The Ravens have beaten them twice so far this year, and Baltimore isn't even at the top of their division. Even if Cincinnati falls from the AFC North peak, Pittsburgh will have a hard time catching up to the Ravens.

    Fortunately for them, they have two contests against the young and inexperienced Bengals in which they could—again—remind us they aren't too old to compete. But if they lose against the Bengals, or drop any of the easier games left on their schedule (two against Cleveland), they could possibly lose their wild-card slot to the Jets or the Bills.

    Playoff Chances: 60 percent

Chicago Bears

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    After their 30-24 win in Philadelphia on Monday, the Chicago Bears currently hold an advantage for a wild-card spot over Atlanta, which also has a 5-3 record.

    The Bears defense is proving to be one of the NFL's best, and Matt Forte is arguably the league's best runner. If Jay Cutler can continue to play minimal-mistake football, Chicago has an excellent chance of maintaining its wild-card standing. 

    The Bears have a moderate schedule from here on out, with contests against the Raiders, Broncos, Seahawks and Vikings. Only Week 10's matchup against Detroit and a Week 16 game in Green Bay look incredibly dangerous for Chicago. 

    Playoff Chances: 55 percent

Baltimore Ravens

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    The Ravens have won two contests against the rival Steelers so far this season, and if they can at least split their two games against Cincinnati, they could certainly reclaim the AFC North title.

    Aside from the disastrous Week 7 loss to Jacksonville, Baltimore has been very solid this season. Its defense has been fantastic as expected, and Ray Rice has given the team a dangerous running game.

    Aside from their two games against the Bengals, and a home matchup on Thanksgiving against the 49ers, the Ravens schedule looks fairly clear. At the very least a wild-card spot seems more than likely. 

    Playoff Chances: 75 percent

Detroit Lions

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    Detroit won't be competing with Green Bay for the division, but it has shown so far this season that it will most certainly be competing for a playoff spot.

    Unfortunately for the Lions, their schedule is tough. They have a game in Chicago this week against a hot Bears squad, and then end the season with a game at New Orleans and two games against the Packers.

    We'll see just how tough these Lions really are, as they enter the toughest stretch of their schedule.

    Playoff Chances: 55 percent

Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Kansas City Chiefs had a great opportunity to leap ahead of all the other AFC West teams last week, and instead they laid a stinker against a winless Miami team.

    Now they'll have to win their division the old-fashioned way—by wrestling it from their division rivals with games against the Broncos (twice) and Raiders.

    They also have tough matchups against the Packers and Steelers, but they can't rely on a wild-card spot. If they want a shot at the playoffs, they need to regain their momentum and win the division.

    Playoff Chances: 25 percent

New Orleans Saints

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    The New Orleans Saints have had moments where they looked like contenders (dominating wins over Chicago and Houston), and times where they looked utterly mediocre (losses against Tampa Bay and St. Louis).

    With Drew Brees, they are certainly the favorites to win their division, and even if Atlanta steals it from them, it is very unlikely they would miss the playoffs. Still, their schedule won't be easy with games against Atlanta and home matches against the New York Giants and Detroit. 

    No matter their schedule, chances of them missing the playoffs are nearly nonexistent. 

    Playoff Chances: 95 percent

New England Patriots

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    The Patriots have now lost two straight, dropping games against the Steelers and the Giants. They now travel to New York to face the Jets and still have games against the Eagles and the Bills on the board. 

    Could the Patriots possibly miss the playoffs? Most likely not.

    They have quite a few easy contests against teams like Kansas City, Indianapolis, Washington and Denver still to play. It's hard to imagine Tom Brady letting the division lead slip away, let alone a wild-card spot to boot.

    Playoff Chances: 95 percent

New York Giants

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    Give the Giants credit. In a division that most expected to be dominated by Philadelphia and Dallas, the Giants have a 5-2 record with injuries to Ahmad BradshawBrandon Jacobs and Hakeem Nicks.

    Eli Manning has been fantastic and has finally become a top-five quarterback in the league. But New York enters a rough stretch in its schedule, with games at San Francisco, in New Orleans and home for the Packers over the next four weeks.

    Can the Giants keep the momentum and win the division? It seems very likely as they can only get healthier from here.

    Playoff Chances: 80 percent

Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans have been on and off all season but shouldn't have any difficulty wrapping up a rather weak AFC South. With Arian Foster finally healthy, the Texans offense can hopefully continue to build some consistency and easily lock up a playoff berth.

    The only three games that look dangerous for the Texans are a home game against Atlanta and a road game against Cincinnati.

    Still, the Texans have been trying to earn a postseason bid over the past few years, and they won't get an easier shot than this one.

    Playoff Chances: 90 percent

San Francisco 49ers

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    After two straight games against weaker opponents (home for Cleveland, at Washington), the 49ers have a tough test this Sunday against the New York Giants.

    Yet a majority of San Francisco's remaining games should be fairly easy. They have two games against the Cardinals, two games against the Rams and a game in Seattle.

    Only a Thanksgiving matchup in Baltimore and a home contest against Pittsburgh look challenging for the 7-1 49ers.

    With how weak the NFC West is and with how strong the 49ers have been so far this season, the prospect of San Francisco fumbling its division at this point seems near impossible.

    Playoff Chances: 99 percent

Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Cincinnati Bengals currently sit at the top of the AFC. Yes, Cincinnati. The Bengals. They sit at the top of the AFC. Not just their division, the whole American Football Conference. Those Bengals.

    Pretty good for the fourth-worst team in 2010, especially considering they started the season 1-2. They've rattled off five straight victories and deserve their position.

    But can they hold it?

    Rookie Andy Dalton has played spectacularly, and the Bengals have one of the league's most consistent defenses. They are young but poised beyond their years.

    Still, looking at their schedule, you have to wonder if the youthful Bengals can maintain their division lead, let alone their conference lead. They have home-and-away games against both the Ravens and the Steelers left on the schedule, and a game at home against the Texans.

    This team is good enough to secure a wild-card spot and challenge whoever they play in the playoffs. But with both the Ravens and the Steelers nipping at their heels, a division lead will likely be too hard to maintain.

    They control their destiny, but a tough schedule and a tougher AFC wild-card race could doom their playoff hopes.

    Playoff Chances: 85 percent

Green Bay Packers

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    The Packers are the best team in football and have virtually no chance of missing the playoffs. Unless Aaron Rodgers is injured, that is.

    Rodgers is having one of the greatest quarterback seasons ever with 24 touchdowns, a 72.9 percent completion percent and a 129 quarterback rating.

    They haven't missed a step since winning the Super Bowl last season and are easily the favorites to repeat this season.

    Green Bay has a fairly easy schedule, and only two games against the Lions and a contest in New York against the Giants could really pose a threat to the Packers' hopes for a perfect season.

    Playoff Chances: 100 percent