When it comes to predicting the teams that will make it to the playoffs in a given year, we try to consider the reality that, historically, 50 percent of the teams that made it to the postseason in a given year don’t make it back the next year.
2009 was no exception.
In the AFC, the bottom three seeds from 2008 — the Chargers, Colts, and Ravens — are back. The top three seeds — the Titans, Steelers, and Dolphins — have been bounced.
In their places are the Patriots, Jets, and Bengals.
In the NFC, which saw a whopping five playoff teams from 2007 not return a season ago, three teams have returned — the Vikings, Cardinals, and Eagles. Gone are the Giants, Panthers, and Falcons, replaced by the Saints, Cowboys, and Packers.
Amazingly, all four teams that earned first-round byes a year ago failed to qualify for the postseason.
So keep that in mind come September 2010. Half of the teams still alive now likely won’t play more than 16 games next season.
But don’t get too crazy. Otherwise, you might do something really dumb, like pick the Redskins to go to the Super Bowl.