Advancing through the NFL playoffs is a product of both how a team plays and who that team plays. It's impossible to avoid facing a good opponent along the way, but in a league in which every team has a weakness to exploit, getting a path to a Super Bowl title without that team in the way is critical.
Take last season's Bengals, for example. With a dismal offensive line, they needed to avoid teams with impressive sack rates, such as the Bills (who had the league's eighth-best adjusted sack rate). They picked up a pair of low-impact lines along the way in victories over the Raiders and Chiefs.
The Titans, an above-average rush, nearly knocked out Joe Burrow & Co. from the postseason with a nine-sack game in the divisional round; it took a 1-for-8 performance on third down and a minus-two turnover margin for Tennessee to lose. The Rams, another excellent pass rush, eventually took out the Bengals in the Super Bowl.
Let's run through the teams with the 10 best playoff odds per ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) and break down both their most significant flaw and the team that they'll want to avoid in the postseason. As we saw with the Bengals-Titans game, facing that opponent doesn't guarantee a loss, but it does make things more difficult. A lot had to go right outside of the pass-blocking woes for Cincinnati to win.
We'll start at the bottom of the top 10:
10. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
Chance to make the playoffs: 80.1%
The Bengals' flaw: Punting