NFL approaches week 12: Who will earn playoff berths?

NFL approaches week 12: Who will earn playoff berths?

The NFL season is approaching week 12 of play. With six games left in the regular season, this is when the strong teams really start to get ahead and show if they have what it takes to compete in post-game and the ultimate goal – the Super Bowl, of course.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens The Ravens are the team to beat in the AFC North. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice are a dominating duo and make the opponent’s defense work for every tackle. If the Ravens keep it up, they will go far in postseason. They are also posing to be a huge threat in the entire league.

Cincinnati Bengals The Bengals are shaky this year. They start games usually with the lead and somehow find a way to blow it. With the talent they have out of Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, they should be dominating at least the AFC North. If the receivers don’t start playing for the team rather than themselves, the Bengals will continue to lose.

Cleveland Browns The Browns came out on the winning side of the upset when they beat the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Saints. They came out very strong with a 20-3 lead at half that had everyone talking. Still, with a 3-7 record the post season is not looking bright for the Browns.

Pittsburg Steelers The Steelers are not used to not being on top. They’re still a very solid team, with a record of 7-3. But they haven’t quite turned up the heat yet. Troy Polamalu is continual force on the defensive end as Ben Roethlisberger remains a powerful quarterback. If a turnaround is in store for the Steelers, they could be a threatening team with Super Bowl aspirations.

AFC South

Houston Texans Placing fourth in the AFC South, the Texans are struggling. Matt Schaub is the star of the team, leading in touchdowns and passing yards. But if the Texans are going to attempt a turnaround, then running back Adrian Foster will have to pick things up and rack up the touchdowns.

Indianapolis Colts Injuries are the force holding back the Colts. Austin Collie’s concussion gave the team a scare and it could put a damper on the Colts’ post season. Peyton Manning is playing his usual highly accurate passing game. Without Collie though, the Colts could struggle. The Colts need to overcome the injuries holding them back from being a threat.

Jacksonville Jaguars None of the Jaguars’ losses have been close and the most extreme loss came to fellow AFC South team, the Titans, 30-3. The Jaguars do come through and beat the teams that they need to, like the Cowboys. Quarterback David Garrand is the head of the team, leading in passing and touchdowns.

Tennessee Titans The Titans are leading the AFC South for now but that may not last long. Their upcoming Dec. 9 matchup with the Colts will decide the fate of the two teams. Receiver Randy Moss is now signed with the Titans, which could be a huge benefit to the team.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills With a record of 2-8 overall, the Bills are struggling this season. Losing wide receiver Roscoe Parrish to a wrist injury isn’t helping much either. The Bills really need a turnaround if they’re planning to get another win this season.

Miami Dolphins The Dolphins also pose a threat to opponents. Only losing to the Steelers 23-22, they proved that they can cause possible upsets, too. Their match-up with the Titans showed that the Dophins are a tough team. Their shut-out loss to the Bears, however, shows that they have some consistency issues. Quarterback Chad Henne is also holding his own as a growing player.

New England Patriots The Patriots are second in the AFC East. Trailing the Jets is something that the Patriots are not used to. Experienced quarterback Tom Brady is playing at the top of his game and proving that he has what it takes to be one of the best quarterbacks of his time. If they can beat the Packers on Dec. 19, they will show that they are a huge threat.

New York Jets The Jets are also playing at the top of the NFL, ranking first in the AFC East. Their strong players roll deep and can cause major threats to opponents’ defense, with quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Braylon Edwards being a legit combo.

AFC West

Denver Broncos The Broncos are fourth in the AFC West with a record of 3-6. However, they did beat a strong Titans team, due to quarterback Kyle Orton’s two touchdown passes. That game shows that the Broncos are also a team that can upset one of the stronger teams.

Kansas City Chiefs The Chiefs are the first in the AFC West, but overall they are not one of the best teams in the NFL. They lost to the Colts 19-9, proving that they can’t compete with the stronger NFL teams. Quarterback Matt Cassel is always a solid player and creates a powerful offense.

Oakland Raiders The Raiders might be second in a weak division but they are still a team that can do some damage. Rookie wide receiver Jacoby Ford has been playing really well, having a winning play against the Chiefs. The Raiders are a growing team that has just peaked and could continue to cause some damage.

San Diego Chargers The San Diego Chargers are 3rd in the AFC West. Statistically, they have a quarterback who is racking in the numbers in Phillip Rivers. A strong offense could push the Chargers to be another threatening team. Their Nov. 28 match up with the Colts could really show what they’re made of.

NFC North

Chicago Bears The Bears are first in the NFC North and they are just one of the teams that make the NFC North a powerful division. Quarterback Jay Cutler is still improving and competing well in the big games. The Bears’ defense is also pretty solid. Beating the Vikings, granting them the strength of taking the number one spot from Green Bay. Their final season game on Jan. 2 they will tangle with the Packers to show who really is the number one team in the NFC North. With all of the tough teams in the NFC North, it is one of the strongest divisions.

Detroit Lions Their record doesn’t show it, but the Lions can be a possible threat to good teams. With a record of 2-8 most people would assume that a game against them would be an easy win. The problem with that is the Lions have gotten really close to some upsets. If they can pull off an upset to a high-ranked team, it could shatter confidence and possibly put a team’s Super Bowl dreams in the dust.

Green Bay Packers The Packers have been playing some high-caliber football so far. They are second in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Offensively, Aaron Rogers is proving to be an up-and-coming quarterback with loads of potential. Defensively, the Packers are a force to reckon with. With their latest run-in with the Cowboys, the Packers defense only allowed them one touchdown. This team is very powerful and will make every opponent work for every yard.

Minnesota Vikings Statistically the Vikings got the win they needed against the Cowboys. But in terms of integrity, they didn’t get the wins they wanted against the Packers. Brett Favre is now 1-2 playing at Green Bay in a purple and gold jersey. If the Vikings don’t have a turnaround soon, the post season is not looking promising for them. It also doesn’t help that Favre continues to play with tendonitis in his elbow, along with all the negative press associated with him. Running back Adrian Peterson should continue to play strong in hopes of a turnaround.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons The Atlanta Falcons are first in the NFC South. Their overtime win against the Saints gave them some major confidence going into the next couple of games that they won. They have been playing well and winning the games that they need to win. Their upcoming Nov. 18 game with the Packers will really show if they have what it takes to go far in the post season.

Carolina Panthers The Panthers are fourth in the NFC South and not expected to be anything better than that. With a record of 1-9, they are on the low end of the NFL. It’s not looking like the Panthers can pull off another win unless it is against a second-string team.

New Orleans Saints Despite losses to the Browns and Falcons, the Saints are still a powerhouse. The loss to the Falcons was in overtime and was a close-fought game, 27-24. It also gave a chance for the Falcons to take the lead in the NFC South. Drew Brees has been playing a little below his potential; four interceptions in the Browns game is not like him.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Buccaneers may be third in the NFC South but that also doesn’t mean they are a team to look over. A lot of their key players are returning to full health, possibly making them a threatening team. Quarterback Josh Freeman is also playing like a dynamic quarterback showing that he can run and pass well. Some interesting wins could start coming from the Buccaneers.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys The Cowboys got the short end of the stick against the Vikings, basically shooting down the chances of a post season. Tony Romo is not playing his best football and the defense is just not executing like a pro team should. They are not racking up the touchdowns like they usually do. The Cowboys have always been the team to beat, but now they’re the team that other teams expect to beat.

New York Giants The Giants are a very threatening team in the NFC East and possibly in the running to be threatening in the entire NFL. Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks are causing a great triple-threat to opponents’ defense. For the Giants defense, Terrell Thomas is showing outstanding athleticism, piling on the tackles and interceptions. Their out-of-character losses to the Cowboys and the Eagles won’t stop the Giants from being a very powerful team.

Philadelphia Eagles The Eagles are first in the NFC East. They had a slow start, considering Michael Vick’s injury early in the year. It has been all uphill after the injury and their win against the Giants granted them first place rights in the NFC East. Now that Vick keeps improving, the Eagles have a promising season ahead of them.

Washington Redskins The Redskins are third in the NFC East. Quarterback Donovan McNabb, previously a Philadelphia Eagle, has been around the horn a few times and is experienced. But his experience is not enough to make the Redskins a huge threat for the top teams.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals The Cardinals are fourth in the NFC West. Quarterback Derek Anderson is holding his own as a first-year player for the Cardinals. He is a growing, young quarterback with plenty of potential. However, the potential may have to wait a season because a post season is not looking bright for them.

San Francisco 49ers The 49ers are third in the NFC West. The bye week may have helped them get a lead on the Cardinals, but the 49ers are having a rough season. They lost to the Panthers, who are considered the worst team in the NFL.

Seattle Seahawks The Seahawks are first in the NFC West. They, however, have not proved to be a leading team in the league. They haven’t shown that they can compete with the big teams like the Packers. Matt Hasselbeck is a good quarterback but he needs some receivers and running backs to back him up.

St. Louis Rams The Rams have been off the map for quite a while, but this season they are doing decent. The Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford is playing well and racking up the touchdown passes. A slow start for the Rams put a damper on post season play, but the Rams may be a growing team for future seasons.