NFL Playoffs 2019: Pretenders vs. contenders entering Week 6

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Through five weeks of the 2019 season, which of the 12 teams currently in the NFL Playoffs are pretenders and which are viable Super Bowl contenders?

There were many assumptions made about the NFL Playoffs and what was certain to transpire in the 2019 NFL season coming into the year. Teams like the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers were legitimate sleepers, while the Los Angeles Rams were near locks to repeat in the NFC West and make a run at another Super Bowl appearance.

After five weeks of the season, though, none of those three teams would make the 2019 NFL Playoffs if the year ended today. Meanwhile, teams that few people were touting such as the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions would all make it into the postseason if the season concluded after five weeks.

Of course, the year is far from over. There are still 12 more weeks of football to be played and the standings in each division and, more importantly, the dozen teams that will be slated to make the NFL Playoffs will change drastically as the season wears on.

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While what’s happened in the initial five weeks of the regular season doesn’t determine the eventual outcome, it is enough to teach us quite a bit about what every team in the league actually is. That’s particularly interesting when you consider the 12 current playoff teams entering Week 6. Are they actual contenders — whether surprising or not — or are they simply pretenders destined to either fall back or not realistically compete for the Super Bowl?

That’s what we’re going to decide. Going through the teams that currently occupy the 12 spots in the 2019 NFL Playoffs after five weeks, let’s decide who the pretenders and contenders are this season.