With 5 weeks left in the 2021 NFL season, playoff spots are definitely up for grabs.
Tight divisional races and inconsistent play from one week to the next make it very hard to predict all the teams who will make the playoffs.
For the same reason, it is also difficult to predict who will fade out of the heated playoff race.
Here is a list of three teams who will fall away from the playoff discussions in the coming weeks.
Conceivably, the list could be much longer and with different teams so your list may look a lot different than this one.
The three teams, in no particular order, are as follows:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
It is crazy to bet against a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger.
The first warning sign was the tie with then winless Detroit.
The Steelers played well enough to beat the Baltimore Ravens though some would argue the Ravens beat themselves.
However, a short week and minimal preparation resulted in a slow start against Minnesota on Thursday night that became too difficult to overcome.
If the #Steelers played their Q4 ball all game long, they’d go 17-0.
— Rick Fish (@rickfish412) December 10, 2021
At 6-6-1, the Steelers have a tough road ahead especially if inconsistent play continues.
They have Tennessee, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Baltimore as their final four opponents of 2021.
2. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have a horrible habit of starting well and losing steam in that midseason point.
There has been a lot of adversity for the team this year, but they somehow have managed to stay in the playoff conversation at 6-6.
Kansas City leads the AFC West at 8-4, and the Chargers are right behind the Chiefs at 7-5.
Three of the Raiders final five games are with their divisional rivals; the Chiefs (Week 14), Chargers (Week 16), and Broncos (Week 18).
Not only do the Raiders have to win Sunday, but looking at the schedule, a few dominoes could fall in their favor as well, giving their playoff chances more clarityhttps://t.co/eSWaJmg6ti
— Just Blog Baby (@JustBlogBaby) December 10, 2021
Short of winning all three of these games, the Raiders cannot mount a playoff run.
3. San Francisco 49ers
A short list of the best players on the 2021 San Francisco 49ers:
✍️ – Trent Williams
✍️ – Deebo Samuel
✍️ – Azeez Al-Shaair
✍️ – George Kittle
✍️ – Jimmie Ward
✍️ – Nick Bosa
✍️ – Emmanuel Moseley pic.twitter.com/rB9x1RqHPz
— Brad (@Graham_SFN) December 7, 2021
The 49ers, like the Raiders, are another 6-6 team that has the misfortune of being a division that has two teams fighting for the division title.
The other is likely going to get a wildcard spot.
They are the Arizona Cardinals at 10-2, and the Los Angeles Rams at 8-4.
The 49ers have an interesting mix of teams slated in their final five games.
They include the Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, and Los Angeles Rams.
The important point to note is with five weeks left (four in the case of the Steelers who already played their Week 14 game on Thursday), all of these teams are still in contention.
They could win out and book their tickets to the playoffs.
It is more than likely that won’t happen.
They will either fade quickly or stay in it mathematically but need help from other teams to get to the postseason.
As mentioned earlier, there are other teams that could be considered on the list.
All are 6-6; they are the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Denver Broncos.
There is a lot of football left to play in this year characterized by erratic play so it could be weeks until we know the fate of these teams.