2009 NFL Playoff Picture (Prior To Week 13)

Last Updated: December 4th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

As the NFL season winds down with just a few more weeks in the regular season, we bring to you a broader look at the playoff picture. There are a ton of teams whose destiny is still undecided and we will try to break down what each team needs to do to have a shot at the post season. Keep checking back here at Bankroll Sports, as this will be a weekly edition of the 2009 NFL Playoff Picture.

NFC Conference

NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys (8-3) – The Cowboys have taken advantage of the Eagles and Giants struggling giving their self a little breathing room in the division, but they still must finish strong which has been the problem over the past few years. Dallas gets New York this week with a tough remaining schedule. The division is still up for grabs, but a win against the Giants would about guarantee a wildcard spot in the worst of scenarios.

Philadelphia Eagles (7-4) – The Eagles have knocked off two straight close victories and are right in the midst of the division race. Luckily the Eagles have some teams on the schedule who have been experiencing struggles and there is plenty of room to finish strong. The only question is the Eagles have had troubles as well. In most scenarios they will need to win at least 3 of the last 5 to better their chances

New York Giants (6-5) – If the season ended today the Giants would be out of the playoffs after losing 5 of their last 6 games. To make matters worse, New York gets the top dogs in the division with Dallas and Philadelphia next on the schedule. The Giants have to get hot and anything less than winning 3 of the next 5 will have them watching the postseason at home.

Washington Redskins – Out

NFC North:

Minnesota Vikings (10-1) – The Vikings may be functioning as well as any team in the league right now. Brett Farve has found a star in WR Sidney Rice and with Peterson combining efforts on the ground this team is scary. The Vikings need just 1 more win to clinch the division which should be no problem

Green Bay Packers (7-4) – The Packers have won 3 games in a row and need to stay rolling. They would actually make the playoffs through a wild card spot as of right now, but they can not afford any slip-ups. The Packers offense will have to get the job done against some of the tough AFC defenses with meetings with Baltimore and Pittsburgh on the horizon.

Chicago Bears (4-7) – The Bears could win out and flirt with the idea of making the playoffs in a miraculous turn of events. However, they have too many issues to put together any big time run. With that being said, scratch Chicago from the postseason.

Detroit Lions (2-9) – Out

NFC South:

New Orleans Saints (11-0) – The Saints are already in the playoffs and who would have thought they would be this dominate? We expected to have a breakout season based on our preseason previews, but I do not think anyone would have expected them to be 11-0. After a blowout against the Patriots, is a Lombardi Trophy a legitimate opportunity?

Atlanta Falcons (6-5) – The Falcons chances of making the playoffs keep diminishing each week as they have lost 4 of the last 6. The Falcons get Philadelphia and New Orleans next, but a chance to end the year strong with some very winnable games. If they get 3 wins they would need help, but 4 would really do the trick.

Carolina Panthers (4-7) – Coach John Fox is probably looking more forward to the off-season than anyone. The Panthers have major problems and it all starts behind center. Again this is a meltdown we predicted with Jake Delhomme and the Panthers will finish right where we predicted at 3rd in the NFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-10) – Out

NFC West:

Arizona Cardinals (7-4) – The Cardinals appear to be in the captain’s seat again to take advantage of perhaps the weakest division in the NFL at 7-4. The Cardinals still have some winnable games and some tough match-ups left on the schedule. Another loss to San Francisco would really make the division race interesting at that battle will follow their meeting with the Vikings this week. If the Cardinals can not win the division, they may not make the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers (5-6) – So how can the 49ers legitimately be in the playoff race at 5-6? Well the Cardinals play Minnesota this week and they get their chance at Arizona in two weeks. If they hand the Cardinals another loss they will hold the tie breaker heads up. Luckily for the 49ers, every game left on the schedule can be won. Winning 3 of the last 5 including Arizona could be all they need.

Seattle Seahawks – Out
St. Louis Rams – Out


AFC East:

New England Patriots (7-4) – The Patriots were embarrassed last week by the Saints, but fortunately it will take a lot more embarrassment for them to be knocked out of the AFC East ranks as they have a two game lead in the division. With a soft schedule ahead, the Patriots should be sizeable favorites in every game and have the possibility to run the table.

Miami Dolphins (5-6) – Just when it looked like the Dolphins were going to make a run they were blown out by Buffalo of all teams. The Dolphins now get the angry Patriots next and close out with Pittsburgh in the finale. The Dolphins do not have a lot of room for improvement and the odds are definitely stacked against them.

New York Jets (5-6) – The only thing official about the Jets is that they are headed in the wrong direction. After a promising start with Sanchez behind center, the offense is having trouble scoring. Plus the defense is not near as strong as they were playing earlier this season. No chance here.

Buffalo Bills (4-7) – Out

AFC North:

Cincinnati Bengals (8-3) – The emergence of the Bengals has the entire AFC North turned upside down. Both Baltimore and Pittsburgh will be fighting for wild card spots as long as they can win at least two more games. With meetings with the Lions, Jets, and Chiefs still remaining it appears that Cincinnati’s odds are good. However, how will they stack up in the post season?

Baltimore Ravens (6-5) – The Ravens kept their postseason hopes alive with their overtime win over the Steelers last week. The only problems is they may have to do it again as the next meeting in week 16 could determine the team that makes it in as a wildcard. The Ravens have some very winnable games upcoming which should make things a little less stressful. However, there is absolutely no room for mistakes.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) – The Steelers will have every opportunity to bounce back with the likes of Cleveland and Oakland next up on the schedule. Pittsburgh could make it in at 9-7 with a win over Baltimore, but to be safe 10 wins would be ideal in this scenario.

Cleveland Browns – Out

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (11-0) – The Colts have already clinched the AFC South and are just one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL. The Colts wins have not been near as dominating as the Saints, but their defense will make the prime candidate for a deep run in the playoffs.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5) – The Jaguars meeting with the Texans this week is a must win game. Dropping back to 6-6 would make things extremely difficult with both the Colts and Patriots remaining on the schedule. Even if you count those two as losses, the Jaguars can still finish a solid 9-7 which puts them right in the thick of the hunt. However, they have had trouble beaten the teams they should beat.

Houston Texans (5-6) – Even at 5-6, the Texans still have a chance with the way the AFC picture is shaping out. Houston has lost 3 straight games by a combined 14 points including two losses to the undefeated Colts. They are actually not playing bad and they may be a pretty safe pick to make a run at the postseason. The schedule helps that opportunity, but the defense will be the deciding factor.

Tennessee Titans (5-6) – Talk about the “wow” factor. Ever since Vince Young took over behind center the Titans have roared with a new wave of conference going from 0-6 to 5-6 with 5 straight wins. The question is could they do the unthinkable and run the table? The Colts may say no this weekend, but if they could find a way to get the upset the rest of the table is very soft. Tennessee has every opportunity to finish with 9 wins if they can keep the momentum alive.

AFC West

San Diego Chargers (8-3) – The Chargers have come alive over the latter part of the season and have won 6 straight games. The running game is finally moving the ball at least a little and Phillip Rivers has done the rest. With the Broncos back pedaling, the Chargers look to be the team to beat in the division.

Denver Broncos (7-4) – The Broncos have now lost 4 of their last 5, but as it turns out they are still in the number 1 spot for the wild card position if things ended today. Kyle Orton has to get back the swagger from earlier in the year and get the offense back rolling. The Broncos chances look good even if they are not playing that well. Two matches with Kansas City and an additional battle with Oakland put 10 wins as the primary goal. However, the Broncos could finish even better.

Kansas City Chiefs (3-8) – Out
Oakland Raiders (3-8) – Out

Note: Teams that are portrayed as out may not be mathematically out, but just a overall prediction

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Friday, December 4th, 2009 @ 7:33 am (EST)
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