Bengals, Falcons, Packers, Broncos are near-certainties for playoffs

The Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals are in pretty good shape now, at least based on historical data.

Each of those teams is 5-0. The Packers are 5-0 for the second time in the Super Bowl era (last in 2011, when they started 13-0). The Broncos have been in this spot recently. It's their second 5-0 start in three seasons. For the Falcons, it’s only the second time in franchise history (the other was 2012). For the Bengals, it’s their third (the other two were 1975 and 1988).

Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 39 of 43 teams (91 percent) that started 5-0 reached the postseason. History is still pretty good if a team is 4-1, but not quite at the same level (77 percent).

The last teams to start 5-0 and not make the playoffs were the Broncos and Giants in 2009. The Broncos actually started 6-0 but did not make the postseason.

Our Football Power Index gave the Falcons and Packers each a 97 percent chance to make the playoffs last week. It had the Broncos at 90.2 percent and Bengals at 89.7 percent. Those numbers will be updated on Tuesday morning.

The Falcons and Bengals got to 5-0 the hard way. The Falcons won in overtime on Robert Alford's interception return for a touchdown. The Bengals, as noted below, also needed overtime to prevail over the Seahawks.