The NFL Playoff Picture: Former USC Trojans Could Be In Or Out

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: The USC Trojans marching band performs before the game with the Washington Huskies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 40-17. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The NFL Playoff Picture is taking shape which means some USC Trojans will either be in the postseason or at home watching. Here's a look at where some former Trojans stand.

The USC Trojans have put a large number of its players into the NFL ranks over the years. Yes, that's an obvious statement. But keeping track of your favorite Trojans once they leave the confines of the USC program can be somewhat difficult. So, with the NFL's playoff picture one week from being completely set in stone, we'll take a look at where former Trojans' teams currently stand in the playoff hunt.

Carson Palmer's Oakland Raiders can get into the AFC playoffs both as a divisional winner or as a wild-card. The Raiders get in as the AFC West champion with a win and a Denver Broncos loss or tie, or a tie and a Denver loss. The Raiders secure a wild-card spot with a win, a Cincinnati Bengals loss and a Tennessee Titans loss or tie, or a win, Bengals loss and a New York Jets win.

Mark Sanchez and Joe McKnight's Jets can get into the AFC playoffs only as a wild-card and they need plenty of help in order for that to happen. The Jets need a win, a Bengals loss, a Titans loss or tie and a Raiders loss or tie, or a win, Bengals loss, Titans loss or tie and a Broncos loss or tie.

The Cincinnati Bengals roster includes the likes of Rey Maualuga, Taylor Mays and Frostee Rucker and the Bengals control their own destiny. If the Bengals win or tie, they're in the AFC playoffs. But if they lose, they'd need the Jets to lose or tie and the Raiders loss or tie, or the Jets to lose or tie and a Broncos loss or tie. A Bengals win puts some favorite Trojans in the playoffs, so in the words of the late Al Davis, JUST WIN BABY!

Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers), Brian Cushing (Houston Texans) and Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers) are already securely in the playoffs. USC will be well-represented, one way or another.

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