NFL Week 9 Predictions: Power Ranking 15 Teams On Playoff Life Support

Tom Kinslow@@TomKinslowFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2010

NFL Week 9 Predictions: Power Ranking 15 Teams On Playoff Life Support

0 of 15

    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Quarterback Jon Kitna #3 of the Dallas Cowboys calls a play in the huddle against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    NFL Week 9 predictions are here and we're breaking down the teams that are barely struggling to survive in the playoff hunt.

    I am going through 15 teams in the NFL that may need to be worried about making it to the postseason. I tell you how they got there, what's up this week, how they'll do and how worried each team needs to be.

    If you agree or disagree, leave it in the comments.

No. 15: Tennessee Titans

1 of 15

    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the while defended by Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles at LP Field on October 24, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 37-19.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    The Titans have struggled in pass defense at times this year. Last week Tennessee gave up third down conversions all game long. Throw in a bad loss to Denver at home—not to mention Indianapolis and Houston in the division—and you've got trouble.

    This Week

    Bye Week

    Prediction

    Randy Moss will have plenty to say at his first press conference as a member of the Titans.

    Panic Scale

    2. The Titans still do need to go through the Colts and the Texans to win the division, and there's plenty of competition for those two Wild Card spots. It won't be easy, but Randy Moss certainly helps that offense out and he will give Vince Young a great target to throw to.

No. 14: Miami Dolphins

2 of 15

    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 31:  Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins looks to throw a pass during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    The Dolphins just cannot win at home. Miami is winless at home this season and undefeated on the road. It should be the opposite of that, but it's just one of those years in the NFL. The Dolphins have also struggled to run the ball this year.

    This Week

    This week, the Dolphins are looking to continue their winning ways on the road against the Ravens, a team are coming off of a bye that had two weeks to prepare for Chad Henne and company. Sounds like trouble to me.

    Prediction

    Baltimore 31, Miami 27

    Panic Scale

    3. Playing in the AFC East behind the Patriots and the Jets is never a recipe to help get to the postseason. Throw in other postseason contenders in the AFC and you've got a team that needs to string wins together and fast.

No. 13: Washington Redskins

3 of 15

    DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washigton Redkins warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    The Redskins have struggled. So has Donovan McNabb in his first—and likely last—year in a Redskins uniform. It all culminated with McNabb being benched for Rex Grossman in crunch time and Mike Shanahan giving a couple of excuses why he made such a dumb move.

    This Week

    Bye Week

    Prediction

    That this little controversy isn't going away any time soon.

    Panic Scale

    4. The Redskins do have games in hand against the Cowboys and the Eagles. So things aren't all lost, even though Washington did lose to Detroit which is bad enough in itself. The Mike Shanahan era is off to a great start, isn't it?

No. 12: Houston Texans

4 of 15

    INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 01:  Matt Schaub #8 of Houston Texans throws a pass during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 1, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    A loss to the Dallas Cowboys isn't exactly something that's going to pump up your resume. Also, a horrible pass defense that is the worst in the league could hold the Texans back as well. Houston split with Indianapolis this year, but it still has plenty of division games to play.

    This Week

    The Texans take on the San Diego Chargers,  a team that is coming off of a big win against Tennessee last weekend. Could the Texans be another victim of a late-season San Diego run towards the postseason? Philip Rivers will have plenty of room to throw, after all.

    Prediction

    San Diego 38, Houston 28

    Panic Scale

    4. The split with Indy is good. Now Houston needs to take care of business in the rest of the division. The Texans will need to win the division to get into the playoffs, just like the Titans. It's going to be a wild ride in the AFC South.

No. 11: Oakland Raiders

5 of 15

    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders claps his hands after the Raiders scored their last touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 31, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra S
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    The Raiders losses are not exactly good ones. The team's losses are to Arizona and San Francisco on that list. Sure, there are losses to Tennessee and Houston as well, but you have to beat teams like the Cardinals and the 49ers. Oakland could be 6-2 right now.

    This Week

    The Raiders play host to Kansas City in a huge AFC West showdown. If Oakland wins. it'll have a game up on the Chiefs and be right in the hunt for the division. A loss will give the Raiders some work to do, and they will need some help down the line.

    Prediction

    Kansas City 20, Oakland 14

    Panic Scale

    4. Only because I think the Chiefs are just scrappy enough to keep the pace in the AFC West and because the Chargers might start to heat up. If San Diego can heat up and take the second game against Oakland, it's going to be trouble.

No. 10: Seattle Seahawks

6 of 15

    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    The Seahawks are a very up-and-down team this year. Seattle plays very well at home but struggles at times on the road. To be honest, a lot of people thought they were done before the season even started, but they proved a lot of people wrong.

    This Week

    This week, Seattle plays host to the Giants, a team that a lot of people think is the best team in the NFC. We'll see which Seahawk team shows up, but if its the one who beat San Diego, it could be an upset special out west.

    Prediction

    NY Giants 31, Seattle 20

    Panic Scale

    5. Seattle is in the thick of things out in the NFC West, but St. Louis seems to have the upper hand so far in the division, winning the first matchup between the two teams. Sam Bradford has the team playing well each week and he will make an impact down the stretch.

No. 9: Jacksonville Jaguars

7 of 15

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 18:  Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars hands the ball off to running back Maurice Jones-Drew #32 against the Tennessee Titans during the game at EverBank Field on October 18, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    Jacksonville is a team that can look great one week and then terrible the next. There are wins against Indianapolis and then there are losses to Philadelphia and Tennessee. I'm not sure which team is the real one, but it's kept the Jaguars around.

    This Week

    Bye Week

    Prediction

    Jack Del Rio is no longer the head coach after this season.

    Panic Scale

    5. The Jaguars are behind Indianapolis, Tennessee and Houston in the AFC South. The Titans already beat them once and there's going to need to be a long winning streak somewhere in here. I'm not sure it's going to happen.

No. 8: San Diego Chargers

8 of 15

    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers looks down field for an open receiver against the Tennessee Titans in the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeate
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    There have been a lot of mistakes for the Chargers that have doomed them this season. San Diego has had poor special teams this year and there are just a lot of costly mistakes that have done them in. It's the reason the Chargers' record is so poor.

    This Week

    This week the Chargers take on the Texans, a team that has an awfully bad pass defense which should give Philip Rivers plenty of targets to hit down the field. Rivers has had another great year and he has kept the Chargers in every game.

    Prediction

    San Diego 38, Houston 28

    Panic Scale

    5. With the way Oakland and Kansas City are playing, and with losses to each this year, I'd be worried if I was a Chargers fan. I know San Diego turns it on around this time every season, but sometimes you go to flip the switch and nothing's there. We'll see how many wins the Chargers can string together.

No. 7: Arizona Cardinals

9 of 15

    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals comes to the line against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    If you look at the stats, the Cardinals aren't very good at anything. Arizona ranks near the bottom of the league in offense and defense, yet somehow the Cardinals have three wins. It's amazing to me that Arizona was able weasel out those wins.

    This Week

    This week, the Cardinals take on Minnesota, meaning a loss for either team will likely mean that their season is over. Nothing's more entertaining than two teams playing with utter desperation to keep their season alive. It's gonna be a fun game.

    Prediction

    Minnesota 28, Arizona 21

    Panic Scale

    5. Arizona is in the NFC West, which does leave the window open a bit to sneak into the playoffs. But with St. Louis and Seattle at the top of that division it will be hard to get in unless the Cardinals start stringing wins together.

No. 6: Chicago Bears

10 of 15

    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears walks off the field after throwing an interception against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonatha
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    The Bears cannot protect the quarterback whatsoever. The line can't block for Cutler and it can't pick up the blitz. Now, the quarterback typically gets hit in Mike Martz's offenses, but not this much. Cutler has already suffered one concussion and I wouldn't be shocked to see him get another.

    This Week

    The Bears play the Bills this week, and even though Buffalo is winless this year, the Bills are a scrappy team that have come painfully close to wins against Baltimore and Kansas City the past two weeks. Don't sleep on Buffalo in the least bit.

    Prediction

    Buffalo 24, Chicago 20

    Panic Scale

    6. The Bears are in big trouble. If Jay Cutler can't stay upright and he can't protect the ball, there is no chance for the Bears to make the postseason. Lovie Smith is on the hot seat and things are melting down rather quickly in Chicago.

No. 5: Cincinnati Bengals

11 of 15

    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals pulls in this reception against Curtis Lofton #50 of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close To Extinction

    It all falls on Carson Palmer's shoulders. Palmer has been bad this year, making a ton of bad throws that have resulted in turnovers. Palmer forces the ball down the field a lot. More times than not, it's going the other way. That just can't happen from a veteran quarterback.

    This Week

    This week the Bengals take on Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football, a game which could kill Cincinnati's season if the Bengals don't get the win. Palmer will have to play the best game of the season and I'm not sure that's even possible at this point.

    Prediction

    Pittsburgh 30, Cincinnati 17

    Panic Scale

    7. The Bengals are behind the Ravens and the Steelers and catching up to them, getting back in the race might be impossible at this point. Cincy has a ton of work to do and less-and-less time to get it done. So much for those Super Bowl hopes.

No. 4: San Francisco

12 of 15

    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Troy Smith #1 of San Francisco 49ers in action during the NFL International Series match between Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on October 31, 2010 in London, England. This is the fourth occasion w
    Warren Little/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close to Extinction

    The 49ers collapsed under the weight of the lofty expectations the team had coming into the season. San Francisco has struggled. Quarterback Alex Smith has been especially bad. He eventually got hurt and was replaced with Troy Smith, who got a win last week over Denver. Mike Singletary's going to be fired at the end of the year and it's not a good situation.

    This Week

    Bye Week.

    Prediction

    Troy Smith sparks this team for a few wins, but not enough to make the playoffs.

    Panic Scale

    7. The 49ers lost way too many winnable games to catch up now. The only thing that is keeping hope alive is the fact that the 49ers are playing in the NFC West and that division isn't exactly full of great teams. A good win streak can get San Francisco back in it.

No. 3: Denver

13 of 15

    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Kyle Orton #8 of Denver Broncos gives instructions during the NFL International Series match between Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on October 31, 2010 in London, England. This is the fourth occasi
    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close to Extinction

    The Broncos are horribly one-dimensional on offense and there is no chance that this gets better any time soon. The running game is stagnant for the Broncos and Kyle Orton has cooled down considerably since the beginning of the year. That's what happens when you're not fooling anyone.

    This Week

    Bye week. 

    Prediction

    Josh McDaniels is either fired or on thin ice at the end of this season.

    Panic Scale

    8. The AFC West isn't exactly a dominant division so there is some hope, but the Broncos are too one-dimensional to be a force down the stretch. I think the ship may have sailed on the Broncos.

No. 2: Minnesota

14 of 15

    FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 31:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings walks off the field after a missed opportunity against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close to Extinction

    It was just a totally mismanaged situation in Minnesota and that falls on Brad Childress. Childress trades for Randy Moss and then he cuts Moss a month later, without telling the owner that helped bring him in from New England. Brett Favre's not happy and seriously dinged up. It's a mess in Minnesota.

    This Week

    The Vikings take on Arizona in a game that Minnesota can, and should, win. Minnesota should not lose to a team that has Derek Anderson as its starting quarterback. The Cardinals should be a team that's a speed bump and should be put out of its misery early.

    Prediction

    Minnesota 28, Arizona 21 

    Panic Scale

    9. The Vikings are on life support right now and one more loss without a serious win streak could kill the Vikings' playoff hopes. There are already a lot of angry people in that locker room and things will get out of hand quickly if there's nothing left to play for.

No. 1: Dallas Cowboys

15 of 15

    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Quarterback Jon Kitna #3 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to throw a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    How They Got This Close to Extinction

    There are so many things that contributed to the death of the Dallas Cowboys. There is Wade Phillips—who can't manage this team and who has no idea what he's doing. There are the stupid penalties that have killed the Cowboys. Finally, there was the injury to Tony Romo that ended any hope of a run at the postseason.

    This Week

    Dallas has to travel to Lambeau Field this week to take on the Packers, a team fresh off of a big win against the Jets last week. With Jon Kitna under center and Clay Matthews coming off of the edge at him, it's going to be a long, long day for Dallas and its fans.

    Prediction

    Green Bay 38, Dallas 20

    Panic Scale

    10. The house is on fire and people are running out of it screaming. The season is done. Unless a miracle happens with Jon Kitna under center, this season is over and Wade Phillips will be looking for a new job this winter.