Nine weeks into the season, the playoff picture for the NFL is already beginning to form. There are several teams that have a chance of making the playoffs while also being very close to missing the playoffs.
Which team(s) tied for first in the AFC East will advance to the playoffs? Which team(s) will miss the NFC Wild Card as the season nears its end?
Let's take a look and see which NFL teams should call it quits entering Week 10 of the NFL season.
Before we start with the teams that should begin to call it quits this week, here is a look at all of the teams that have already done so.
- Indianapolis Colts (0-9)
- St. Louis Rams (1-7)
- Miami Dolphins (1-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (2-6)
- Minnesota Vikings (2-6)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
- Carolina Panthers (2-6)
- Arizona Cardinals (2-6)
Most of the teams listed above are either teams that are currently in their rebuilding stages and could not manage to put together a decent season with their up-and-comers (i.e. Jaguars) or teams that had nice expectations coming into the season and have totally collapsed over the last nine weeks (i.e. Minnesota).
Within the first five weeks of the season, these teams showed that 2011 would be a long season filled with losses.
Not only is the list above of teams with terrible records and zero-percent chance of making the playoffs, it is also the standings for the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes, where the biggest loser will probably get the highly sought after draft prospect Andrew Luck out of Stanford.
Somehow, the Browns cannot catch a break.
In the last two years, each team in the AFC North besides Cleveland has made it to the playoffs, and things just keep getting worse.
Even though the Browns have a losing record of 3-5, they have managed well considering the several injuries they have had over the course of the season—the biggest blow being the loss of Peyton Hillis due to a contract dispute, ear infection and hamstring injury.
All in all, the Browns tried to keep close to the AFC North powerhouses of Pittsburgh and company, but their team is not on the same level as everybody else in the division.
Give it a few more years, Cleveland, and maybe you will be able to get your shot at the postseason.
For now, start thinking about 2012.
After a mediocre 4-4 start, the Titans are only a few wins (and a few Houston losses) away from being in first place in the AFC South.
The only problem is that they finish their season with a much more difficult schedule than Houston does.
Meanwhile, the Titans have to take on Atlanta, Buffalo and Houston.
Perhaps if Chris Johnson decides to have a monster second half and their defense is able to stop the explosive offenses that Buffalo and Houston have—but without those miracles, Tennessee’s chances of making the playoffs are slim.
Enjoy the early offseason (again), Titans fans.
At first glance of the Cowboys’ schedule, it seems as if they can make a run for the NFC East title, but that is highly unlikely.
The Cowboys, who are currently second in the NFC East, are 4-4 and will likely finish the season with a winning record, but it seems as if over the course of the next eight weeks, their victories will not be enough.
One of the obstacles standing in Dallas’ way is the New York Giants.
The Cowboys have to take on a very talented Giants team two times before the season's end, and it is likely the Giants will either take one of the two or sweep Dallas.
With teams like the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons all trying to make it back to the top of their divisions or get a Wild Card spot, the future does not seem to bright for the Cowboys.
Like the Cowboys, Tampa Bay will end up on the bad side of having a winning record.
Their record is exactly like the Cowboys (4-4), but unlike the Cowboys, the Buccaneers may end the season with a record barely above .500.
In the coming weeks, they will have to face several talented teams, like the Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons.
With injuries crippling their team, it takes away any chance of them being able to upset these good teams.
Keep in mind that the Buccaneers are in a division where the race for first is highly competitive, but is among only two good teams, the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.
The only way the Buccaneers have a shot at making the playoffs is a collapse by the Falcons or Saints, or collapses by the Lions and Bears, who trail the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.
Sorry, Bucs fans, better luck next year.
The Buffalo Bills had a nice ride to start off the season, but as midseason approached they started to play a lot worse.
It started with being upset by Cincinnati and was followed by two losses to New York’s Jets and Giants.
Although the Bills are tied for first place with the Jets and New England Patriots, the fact of the matter is that they simply cannot match up with the two teams.
The Jets proved the Bills were no match last week, when they embarrassed the Bills during the second half and won by a convincing score of 27-11.
It is hard to believe that the Bills will be able to defeat the Jets in New York and beat the mighty Patriots, even if the game will be played in Orchard Park.