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nF on ESPN: Hardest and Easiest Playoff Paths

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Find out which teams should be thanking the schedule makers or cursing their bad luck entering Week 10.

At this point in the season, every NFL team has played at least eight games. The biggest question for most fans: Will my team make the playoffs? Having a tough schedule can be devastating in terms of playoff hopes, so we at numberFire look to quell those worries by digging into how the second-half 2012 schedule will affect your team's playoff odds.

In order to do this, we projected out the remainder of the 2012 season with the actual schedule and compared that to thousands of randomly generated schedules. By looking at the difference between each team's playoff odds for 2012 and the average playoff odds over the randomly generated schedules, we can see which teams have the easiest and toughest roads ahead.

Keep in mind, the statistics and rankings being used to evaluate team efficiency are all based on the situation, not yards. Teams are evaluated based on how they perform versus league-average expectation. So, for example, a third-and-15 play is treated very differently from a third-and-1 in our analysis. If a running back gains 10 yards on third-and-15, it's not as valuable as a runner gaining two yards on third-and-1.

Want to know what to expect for your team? Check out the findings on ESPN Insider now!

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Tony Romo
QB, Dallas Cowboys

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