I've got some good news and bad news for the 14 remaining teams with losing records that haven't been eliminated from playoff contention.

The good news. There are six 6-7 teams in the NFC so two or three of you could sneak in. The AFC, not gonna happen. 

The bad news. No team has ever made the Super Bowl with a losing record this deep into a season. 

However, could a couple make the playoffs and win a game or two? Absolutely. I've provided SportsLine projections on playoff chances and strength of schedule below along with my assessment on the most likely under .500 teams to make the playoffs:

1. Rams (6-7)

Need to know

  • 29.9% chance to make playoffs
  • 14th-easiest remaining schedule  (vs WSH, vs NO, at NYG, at SF)
  • Matthew Stafford has 10 pass TD in last three games

I'm riding the hot hand of Matthew Stafford and the Rams easy schedule in the next three games. Stafford leads the NFL with 10 touchdown passes in the last three weeks and the Rams have three straight 30-point games in that span, including back-to-back against the Browns and Ravens defenses. They account for the two best offensive performances this season against the Browns and Ravens in terms of EPA per play. Not bad as Cleveland had the No. 1 total defense and Baltimore had the No. 1 scoring defense entering those games. 

Los Angeles' key has been health. They average 6.72 yards per play with Stafford, Kyren Williams, Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua on the field this season. For reference, that'd rank third in the league this year behind the 49ers and Dolphins, who are having historic years on offense. The point is, the Rams are dangerous when healthy and they can ride this offense to wins against the Commanders, Saints and Giants in the next three games, getting them to nine wins and a trip to the playoffs. 

2. Packers (6-7)

Need to know

  • 45.6% chance to make playoffs
  • Seventh-easiest remaining schedule (vs. TB, at CAR, at MIN, vs. CHI)
  • Youngest team in NFL

I expect the Packers and Rams to snag the last two wild card spots and for the Vikings to finish 1-3 and miss the playoffs after moving to Nick Mullens, their fourth starting QB of the season. Jordan Love has played like a top-10 QB for the last month until a letdown game by the youngest team in the NFL vs. the Giants. My confidence would be higher but Green Bay could be slowed down without Christian Watson, who hurt his hamstring in a Week 13 win vs. the Chiefs. The pivotal game will be Week 17 in Minnesota, but I'm taking Love over Nick Mullens or Joshua Dobbs

3. Buccaneers (6-7)

Need to know

  • 53.5% chance to make playoffs
  • 15th-hardest remaining schedule (at GB, vs. JAX, vs. NO, at CAR)
  • Won two straight games after losing six of seven

The Buccaneers are my pick for the least bad team in their division. If the three NFC South teams finish 8-9 then Tampa would win the tiebreaker. They've got enough in the tank to win one of their next three games (at Packers, vs. Jaguars, vs. Saints) before a season finale vs. Carolina. Who would have thought Baker Mayfield would start a playoff game after bouncing between four teams in the last year? 

4. Falcons (6-7)

Need to know

  • 25.3% chance to make playoffs 
  • Sixth-easiest remaining schedule (at CAR, vs. IND, at CHI, at NO)
  • Desmond Ridder has 13 turnovers in his last nine games

The Falcons can set the pace in the NFC South wins over the Panthers and Colts in the next two games, but ultimately I think they'll lose road games in Chicago and New Orleans to finish the season with an 8-9 record at best. The defense has done a 180 in Atlanta from last season, but they still have a bottom 10 offense and Desmond Ridder turns the ball over way too much. If I'm wrong, it'll be because Bijan Robinson and Drake London give the Falcons enough offense to finish 9-8.

5. Saints (6-7)

Need to know

  • 42.3% chance to make playoffs
  • Eighth-easiest remaining schedule (vs. NYG, at LAR, at TB, vs. ATL)
  • 3-0 vs Panthers/Patriots and 3-7 vs. everyone else this season

The NFC South is a toss up between three 6-7 teams who have been inconsistent all season with average (at best) quarterback play. Entering the year I thought the Saints would be good enough to win the division with Derek Carr, but he's proven to be a downgrade from even Andy Dalton last year. New Orleans will probably split their final four games and finish 8-9 but lose the tiebreakers. They've already lost to Atlanta and Tampa Bay this year and have a worse division record than each team, which could ultimately be their undoing. New Orleans could hang onto hope that Derek Carr helped the Raiders win their final four games after a 6-7 start to make the playoffs in 2021, but that was against Nick Mullens, Drew Lock, Carson Wentz and Justin Herbert in the final month. 

6. Seahawks (6-7)

Need to know

  • 31.3% chance to make playoffs 
  • 13th-easiest remaining schedule (vs. PHI, at TEN, vs. PIT, at ARZ)
  • Lost four straight games for first time under Pete Carroll

The Seahawks have lost four straight games and their brutal schedule stretch continues on Monday with a home game against the Eagles, who are probably primed for a bounceback win. Geno Smith isn't 100 percent after missing Sunday's game vs. the 49ers (groin) and the defense has proven to be an aberration after leading the NFL in points allowed in October against a cupcake schedule. If Seattle loses one of two to the Titans and Steelers then their playoff hopes are probably done. Right now I give the Vikings, Packers and Rams a better chance to get either the six or seven seed in the NFC.

7. Bears (5-8)

Need to know

  • 2.4% chance to make playoffs 
  • 12th-easiest remaining schedule (at CLE, vs. ARZ, vs. ATL, at GB)
  • 5-4 since 0-4 start

I wrote on Monday how the Bears could become the first team in 50 years to reach the playoffs and get the top pick in the draft (courtesy of Carolina). Here's what needs to happen:

Bears path to playoffs

  • Win out
  • Giants don't win out
  • Vikings lose three of four (at least)
  • Seahawks and Rams lose at least twice each
  • Two of the Buccaneers, Falcons and Saints lose at least twice

Here's why it's not crazy. Justin Fields is third in the NFL in passer rating since Week 4 and the Bears defense has allowed the lowest passer rating while intercepting the most passes since Week 10. The Montez Sweat trade is paying early dividends and Chicago is now one game back of a playoff spot in the NFC. 

If these trends continue and the Bears upset the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday then the stage is set for Chicago to become the second team in NFL history to make the playoffs after an 0-4 start (1992 Chargers). They have the schedule to do it, with their biggest challenge being a Week 18 game at Lambeau Field. 

8. Giants (5-8)

Need to know

  • 2.1% chance to make playoffs 
  • Fourth-hardest remaining schedule (at NO, at PHI, vs. LAR, vs. PHI)
  • Won three straight games after 2-8 start

The legend of Tommy DeVito might be unmatched if the Giants become the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after a 2-8 start. It's been one of the best stories in the second half of the year and DeVito can become the first undrafted rookie QB to ever win four straight starts on Sunday in New Orleans. That's probably where the fun ends and the sobering truth sets in that this three-game win streak cost the Giants a top-five pick in 2024.  

9. Jets (5-8)

Need to know

  • 0.1% chance to make playoffs 
  • 14th-hardest remaining schedule (at MIA, vs WSH, at CLE, at NE)
  • Fewest offensive TDs in NFL this season (13)

If the Jets can get past the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday, there's a small chance they could win their final three games against the Commanders, Browns and Patriots. It's also possible Aaron Rodgers could return to run the table. That's a lot of "ifs" though. I don't think they'll get past the Dolphins on Sunday despite Miami being banged up on the offensive line, because New York's 30 points on Sunday were a fluke (as was Zach Wilson's AFC Player of the Week honors). I don't think Aaron Rodgers will return, and the Patriots could play spoilers in Week 18, as they've won 15 straight against the Jets. A 9-8 record might not even get the Jets into the playoffs with six 7-6 teams in the AFC right now. 

10. Titans (5-8)

Need to know

  • 0.1% chance to make playoffs 
  • 10th-easiest remaining schedule (vs. HOU, vs. SEA, at HOU, vs. JAX)
  • Won in Week 14 after trailing by 14 points with three minutes left

The Titans aren't dead yet! They made a stunning season-saving rally in Miami on Monday and can keep their season alive against the Texans on Sunday, who may be starting Davis Mills. Will Levis has injected some life into Tennessee but they won't be running the table in their last three games vs. the Seahawks, Texans and Jaguars.

11. Raiders (5-8)

Need to know

  • 0.6% chance to make playoffs 
  • 16th-hardest remaining schedule (vs. LAC, at KC, at IND, vs. DEN)
  • 30 points scored during three-game losing streak

The Raiders have lost three straight games since winning their first two games with interim head coach Antonio Pierce. The honeymoon is over and reality has set in with Aidan O'Connell at quarterback. Las Vegas has scored just 30 points in the last three games, including none in a 3-0 loss to the Vikings in Week 14. They might get past Easton Stick and the Chargers on Thursday Night Football, but that's about it. They should be in a position to draft their quarterback of the future in 2024.

12. Commanders (4-9) 

Need to know

  • 0.0% chance to make playoffs 
  • Hardest remaining schedule (at LAR, at NYJ, vs. SF, vs. DAL)
  • Allowed 150 points during four-game losing streak

The Commanders would have to win out and get a lot of help, which won't happen with this defense. They've allowed 150 points during their four-game losing streak and 45 points in back-to-back games. The last time they did either was in 1954. They still have their starting QB, Sam Howell, which is why they rank higher than the Chargers, but that's about all they have going for them after mailing in the season by trading Chase Young and Montez Sweat. They finish the season vs. the 49ers and Cowboys which all but guarantees they won't run the table.

13. Chargers (5-8)

Need to know

  • 0.5% chance to make playoffs 
  • Seventh-hardest remaining schedule (at LV, vs. BUF, at DEN, vs. KC)
  • Justin Herbert is out for the season

Stick a fork in them. The Chargers are done with Justin Herbert out for the season (surgery on broken finger). Los Angeles has scored seven or fewer points in back-to-back games, showing no life as they've lost four of five and are limping toward the finish line. It's only a matter of time before head coach Brandon Staley gets the pink slip.  

14. Cardinals (3-10)

Need to know

  • 0.0% chance to make playoffs 
  • Third-hardest remaining schedule (vs. SF, at CHI, at PHI, vs. SEA)
  • 2-2 since Kyler Murray returned

The Cardinals will be officially eliminated from playoff contention once they lose to the 49ers at home on Sunday. But hey, just for kicks, here the nine things that need to happen for Arizona to make the playoffs:

Cardinals path to playoffs:

  • Cardinals win out
  • Rams win out (No. 6 seed at 10-7)
  • Giants, Vikings, Commanders lose out
  • Packers finish 7-10 (must beat Vikings)
  • Buccaneers finish 7-10 (must beat Packers)
  • Falcons finish 7-10 (must lose to Bears)
  • Seahawks finish 7-10 (must lose to Cardinals)
  • Bears finish 7-10 (must beat Falcons and Packers)
  • Saints win NFC South at 9-8