As optimistic Giants fans are quick to point out, Big Blue sits just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NFC East. Two teams — the Cowboys and Eagles — are tied at 5-5, so it’s not as if Eli Manning and the Giants (3-6) are knocking on the door of a division title. If do manage to become the first team to start a season 0-6 and make the playoffs, they’ll join these past improbable postseason qualifiers.
1979 Rams (9-7)
Then based in Los Angeles, this team overcame a 4-5 start to win the NFC West and reach Super Bowl XIV. The Rams won three of their remaining four intradivision matchups to finish 5-1 against division foes, then beat the Cowboys and Buccaneers to win the NFC Championship before succumbing to Pittsburgh, 31-19, in the Super Bowl.
1985 Browns (8-8)
A four-game losing streak dropped Cleveland to 4-6, but they bounced back to win the AFC Central outright. It certainly helped that the Bengals and Steelers finished 7-9 and the Houston Oilers went 5-11. If only the Broncos played in the Browns’ division; they were kept from the postseason despite an 11-5 mark.
1992 Chargers (11-5)
This team holds the distinction of being the only one to start 0-4 and reach the playoffs. But once San Diego shook off it’s poor start, it was nearly unstoppable. The Chargers lost just once more until the postseason to beat out the Chiefs for the AFC West title. They then beat Kansas City a week later after losing to the Chiefs twice in the regular season.
2008 Chargers (8-8)
San Diego looked dead in the water entering December at 4-8, but didn’t lose again en route to an AFC West title — a tiebreaker edge put them in front of the Broncos. It helped that the team went 5-1 in division play and outscored its opponents by a combined 92 points. The Chargers kept it going in the playoffs by upsetting the Peyton Manning-led Colts (12-4).
2010 Seahawks (7-9)
The posterboys for unlikely playoff teams, this group is the only team to make the playoffs in a full season with a losing record. Seattle started off fine at 4-2, but lost seven of their next nine before upending the Rams in a de facto NFC West title game in the final game of the regular season. They went on to upset the Saints (11-5) in the playoffs.