NFL Week 6: Which Teams’ Seasons are Already Over?
Many teams appear done, but these six NFL teams’ seasons are officially over. Forget the playoffs and start planning for the draft. NFL Week 6 is here.
Stranger things have happened, but after five weeks of NFL action we know that some teams are officially done. Many more are staring down the barrel, with the playoffs a longshot at best. Its time to get real.
Most NFL teams have played five games to this point and everyone has played at least four times, giving us a quarter of the season in the books. Whose season is over?
Some answers are easy. The Cleveland Browns aren’t making the postseason at 0-5. The Browns are comfortably the worst team in the league and just lost another quarterback. Neither are the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers are 1-4 and too snake-bit at this point, losing the end of games in every conceivable gut-punch way after already losing half their skill players to injured reserve. I am confident in calling those two teams’ seasons over, but there are far more teams where it is tricky to definitively place them on either side of this equation.
I’m putting the number at just four total. There are four teams whose seasons are over, with the third being the San Francisco 49ers and the fourth the Chicago Bears. I don’t feel comfortable writing off anyone else quite yet. Am I being too conservative?
All of New York (J), Miami, Jacksonville, Carolina and New Orleans also have one win apiece, but there seem to be circumstances I can talk myself into that say it isn’t time to give up hope. The Jets, Dolphins, and Panthers are too talented to write off already. I doubt any of the three will catch their current division leaders who have built a healthy lead by going 4-1, but a playoff berth isn’t unreachable through other avenues. Since I’m not eliminating Carolina, would it be fair to eliminate New Orleans? Maybe I should, but it seems silly since they have the same record in the same division. And besides, how many good teams are there in the NFC? I don’t feel comfortable even naming two Wild Card contenders at this juncture.
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Jacksonville is the final team remaining and gets a pass because the AFC South is so horrendous. I could still see any of the four teams winning that division and none of the four deserving it. The very best AFC South team according to point differential is Tennessee at -9 on the year. That’s the best the division has to offer through five weeks.
You tabbed four NFL teams as officially finished, but I’m going to safely proclaim that a full six teams are done. Their seasons are over and its time to play for a top draft pick instead. Cleveland and San Diego are easy selections. The Browns are playing quarterback roulette with a young team still searching for its first win of the year. Their season is over. The Chargers can’t catch a break as of yet, but things will likely even out for San Diego. At best this puts them at 8-8 on the year, but even that record is a stretch right now.
The San Francisco 49ers are also finished. Rumors are swirling about a change at quarterback, but that move won’t make their defense good. The NFC West division is too strong for San Francisco to ever catch a break, meaning no playoffs for them. I also feel confident in eliminating the Chicago Bears. Despite playing significantly better these past two weeks, the team just lost to the Colts who have looked just awful. The Bears are done.
We agree on those four teams, but its safe to say that the New Orleans Saints are also done. Their only victory came in last second fashion against an equally bad Chargers team. The schedule does them no favors over the next six weeks, as they must play Carolina twice, Denver, Kansas City and Seattle in that span. There’s little chance they reach December with a punter’s chance at the postseason. I eliminated New Orleans over Carolina because of the playmakers on the Panthers. The Saints don’t have any after Drew Brees.
The final team I feel safe to eliminate is the Miami Dolphins/New York Jets. One of them is done and its probably Miami. Both are likely finished, but since the Jets are undefeated in their division, they remain in the running with a shot at rebounding into the playoff discussion. Miami’s only victory came against the Browns and they just got embarrassed by a reasonably weak Titans team. I’d also eliminate Jacksonville, but the division is so bad once again that anyone could win it.