Yes, only 11 teams in the NFL have a winning record going into week 11.
This leaves 21 teams with losing records after 10 weeks for the first time since 1990, according to Adam Schefter. Every season, fans expect the NFL to be unpredictable, but this season has been as unpredictable as ever. Some teams look like contenders one week and then an 8-8 team the next week.
The two most consistent teams this season have been the New England Patriots and the underdog Carolina Panthers. Headlined by Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and recently injured Julian Edelman, the Patriots look poised to make yet another Super Bowl run. On the other hand, Cam Newton and the Panthers combine a smash mouth run game and punishing defense that seems more than capable of making it to the promised land. The Cincinnati Bengals looked almost invincible and arguably have the most talented roster; however, a loss to the Houston Texans has left fans wondering if the Bengals can finish as strong as they have started; a problem facing the franchise for the past few years.
The next tier of winning teams is the 7-2 Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals. The Broncos have a good record and recently injured Peyton Manning broke the all-time passing record, but was benched after throwing four interceptions. The defense has carried them this far, but the Broncos need Manning to play better if they hope to make a run. The Vikings led by 30-year-old Adrian Peterson, who is on pace to break his rushing career high in 2012 (which fell just eight yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record), look good; but will be truly tested this week by the division rival Green Bay Packers. Lastly, the Cardinals made an impressive comeback from two devastating turnovers against the Seattle Seahawks to hand the birds their fifth loss. Out of these three teams the Cardinals seem to have the most complete team, complemented with the most competent coaching staff.
The Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons are both 6-3 and both had high expectations going into the season. The Pittsburg Steelers are 6-4 and are always competitive, but need Big Ben to stay healthy to stay in the playoff hunt. The Packers were seen as a favorite to make it to the Super Bowl and the Falcons were expected to win the NFC South. Through ten weeks, neither of those statements remain true as the Packers have lost three straight and the Falcons are coming off a hard loss to the battered and broken San Francisco 49ers. Each of these teams has a great quarterback that can play better or get healthy, but their defenses have been exposed during losses.
The last two winning teams (at 5-4) are the 5-4 New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. The Jets and Bills have many similarities, such as new head coaches, strong defenses, and reliable running games. The Jets seem to have a slightly better team on paper than the Bills, but both could benefit from better quarterback play. Both quarterbacks have shown flashes, but also have struggled against average to mediocre defenses.
As for the rest of the NFL, the playoff race is not over yet, but it is coming to an end quickly. There are 11 teams with a 4-5 record that could start clicking and knock another team out of the playoffs. The AFC South maybe one of the more interesting races as the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are tied for the lead at 4-5. Out of all the teams in the wild card hunt, the ones that stick out the most are the Seattle Seahawks, the Oakland Raiders, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Everyone is aware of how dominant Seattle’s defense can be and how good Marshawn Lynch is but there is a new trend with the defense this year. In all of their losses this year they’ve held a lead in the fourth quarter, but have blown those leads resulting in tough losses. With the Raiders and Chiefs, they have some impressive wins, but surprising losses as well. Derek Carr is only getting better and they have one of the younger rosters in the league. Charles Woodson is playing at high level still at the age of 39 and Michael Crabtree is reminding people that he is a reliable receiver. The Chiefs have one of the league’s best rushers in Jamaal Charles, but he is finished for the year. The defense has proven they can play well but Alex Smith needs to take more chances down the field, especially now that they have Jeremy Maclin.
The Seahawks definitely have the best chance of the three teams at improving and winning more games. Although, with so many teams sporting losing records in the AFC, the Raiders or Chiefs stand a better chance at making the playoffs since they are only a game or two down from the current wild card teams. The Seahawks are two games down from the current wildcard teams, but have a tougher schedule than other two mentioned.
The rest of the season will be a roller coaster ride and more than one team with a losing record might get into the playoffs. While some could argue the Patriots will win it all and this season is predictable, the saying “any given Sunday” still applies and nobody knows what is going to happen each week. Let’s see if this craziness will continue for the rest of the season.