5 NFL longshots who could actually make the playoffs

As we pass the halfway mark of the NFL season, we think we know who is good and who is bad. Yet, every year, some teams make a second-half run and sneak into the postseason.

Every year, we think we have the NFL pegged based on what happens in the first half of the season. We know who is good and who is not. The good teams made themselves known, the surprises solidified themselves, and the bad teams are down and pretty much out at this point. However, that's not how it works. Teams find ways to erase first-half holes with second-half runs.

Using the Playoff Status Postseason Probability meter, we see that in this week last season, the Bengals, Buccaneers, and Jaguars all had less than a 50 percent chance to make the playoffs. The Jaguars were sitting at 7 percent at this point last year. They all made the playoffs, and the Bengals even made it to the AFC Championship Game.

We'll use that same threshold this season. Which team with under a 50 percent chance to make the playoffs can make a run to the postseason? There are some interesting candidates.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Playoff Chances: 34 percent

There are moments in the NFL season that define a team. This weekend, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watched a rookie quarterback march down the field with mere seconds left in the game to steal the lead they had just taken back, it had to harden this team a little bit. Yes, the defense got torched and definitely deserves some semblance of blame, but the game felt like fate took over.

One of two things can happen now. Either the team crawls into a hole and lets their now 3-5 season die, or they can rise up from the ashes and become a playoff contender.

There is a lot on the line for this Bucs team. Baker Mayfield is fighting for his career. If he can't get this team back on the winning stride, the team will eventually try out Kyle Trask. It's what head coach Todd Bowles will have to do since he's also fighting for his job. Mike Evans is playing for another big contract, whether in Tampa or elsewhere. A bunch of veterans are looking at their next move. There's too much here to just let it fall by the wayside, especially in the terrible NFC South.

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