Playoffs will feature at least five teams that didn’t qualify in 2017

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Yes, the Patriots have clinched a 10th consecutive division title, but they are an anomaly.

For 29 consecutive seasons (1990-2018), the NFL has turned over at least 25 percent of the playoff field from one year to the next.

Five teams already qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 — the Bears, Cowboys, Texans, Chargers and Seahawks. The Ravens and Colts still could qualify for the postseason after staying home during the playoffs last season.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the previous year.

Chicago has clinched a division title after a last place finish a year ago. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has gone from last or tied for last place to a division championship.

If Houston clinches the AFC South on Sunday, it would mark the second consecutive season that two teams go from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017). That is something that has never happened in any other major U.S. sport.

28 responses to “Playoffs will feature at least five teams that didn’t qualify in 2017

  1. Before the salty mountain of hate spews too much AFCLeast: Brady-Pats career record v AFCN & AFCS is higher than v AFCE, and in fact their very worst win ratios against any div (both West divs) is still impressive at around 2:1

  2. I always wonder if it is because “parity works”. Which I do not really think it does overall, because the draft remains a crap shoot and you still have teams that play no one year on year on year. So the “locks” or almost locks have benefited from weaker schedules in their Division which is likely to lead to more playoffs. For a decade the Patriots have been a lock because they play 3 perennially bad teams in their Division. Pittsburgh used to be, as did GB. Seattle used to have it, but not anymore.

    Problem is for every Baker Mayfield (and I know it’s just his first season) you have a Jared Goff paired with a Jeff Fisher, before he shines with McVay. Mariota and Winston – decent but not great, and not going to get you there consistently. You might get a Mahomes, but you are equally likely to get a Jamarcus, a Joey, a Matt, or a Vince. Same goes with any position. SOOOO… while the stat is cool, I cannot definitively say why.

  3. This is why the NFL is the best – a true salary cap (ceiling and floor) allows the opportunity for every team to become competitive, within a year, as long as the organization is competent in making decisions.

    At the very least, all teams have the same opportunity for success because of the economic system that’s in place. Of course each organization has to have a proper action plan in place in order to become competitive, but at least there is a competitive balance structure in place necessary for equal opportunity!

    It’s totally up to each organization’s decision makers to do their job from there – which is fair throughout the league. All the other sports success is mostly correlated with cash flow and/or luck.

    College is a result of tradition and recruitment – which is plain boring!

    NFL is the best!!!

  4. I was at a business seminar a few years back and the presenter put the Patriots logo up on the screen. He said everybody knows this means sustained excellence and that’s what your business is striving for.

  5. That worst-to-first stat is interesting. I think this is why the NFL is so popular despite the poor officiating every week and the rule changes that seem to give the offense a decided advantage. Fans of teams like the Raiders and the Bills know that in a year or 2 their team can be in contention. This is seldom true in baseball or basketball.

    Of course, except for the Patriots, the opposite is true as well. Teams do not stay on top for long. Look at Jacksonville and Philly.

  6. been going on since the 70’s…scheduling and the draft have a great deal to do with it, later on, in the nineties, free agency helped…since 1970, 526 teams have qualified for the playoffs…287 are repeats from the previous year.

  7. While this is an interesting stat the Seahawks have a ton of playoff pedigree only missing last year.

    Other than Tom Brady, Russell Wilson is the most accomplished playoff QB out of all the teams entering this year.

    After watching Russell Wilson rise to the occasion in primetime last week against the chiefs(all playoff games are primetime pressure), the young guys on the defense are likely all in and believe they can do this.

    Should be fun…it was a great year for the Seahawks nomatter what happens…but the ceiling is high…they are one of several teams I could see winning it all this year.

    For you new guys here is what is important in the playoffs:

    1. Defense
    2. Strong running game to eat clock and wear out the opponents defense. Also really helps in bad weather games.
    3. Good QB who PROTECTS the football and doesn’t make stupid mistakes while able to make big plays downfield. (A QB who doesn’t wilt under the pressure.)
    4. Defense
    5. Defense

    Is that your team?

  8. If the Pats play in the:

    NFC South 2009, they don’t win the division
    NFC North 2011, they don’t win the division
    NFC West 2013, they don’t win the division
    NFC South 2015, they don’t win the division

    Of course Pats fans will take this as some sorta slight or insult…but that’s not what this is…The Pats are the best team of the 21st Century…the only point I’m making is they play in the weakest Division of the 21st century…AFC East is the only division that hasn’t produced 2 or more #1 seeds in it’s conference…and they don’t win their division every single year if they play anywhere else…Sometimes it’s better to be lucky…

  9. Oh…and if you want to see why the Redskins couldn’t give Captain Kirk the Moon…tune in this Sunday @ 4:25pm…We’ve seen how the ‘win to get in’ movie for Kirk has played out a couple times already…

  10. It’s actually due to randomness and a small sample size. The probability of the better team winning any given game isn’t any different than the NBA or MLB. But with only 16 games one or two weird outcomes make the difference between in and out of the playoffs. If the NBA season was 16 games you’d see a lot more random teams make the playoffs. If the NFL season was 82 or 162 games (and ignoring injuries) a lot more of the same teams would make the playoffs every year

  11. my_old_name_was_offensive says:
    December 26, 2018 at 9:02 am

    If the Pats play in the:

    NFC South 2009, they don’t win the division
    NFC North 2011, they don’t win the division
    NFC West 2013, they don’t win the division
    NFC South 2015, they don’t win the division
    ————————————————————————————-
    What a bizarre argument. Just to take one of your examples, in 2015 the Panthers won the weak NFC South at 15-1, but none of the other teams were above .500.

    I guess you are arguing that the Pats wouldn’t have won that division because they finished 12-4 that year, but you have no idea how they would have fared in that division since they didn’t play any of those teams.

    Just stop with this nonsensical argument and look at the facts: The Patriots have performed just as well outside of the AFC East as in it for 18 years now, and to try to argue that there success is based on their division is provably wrong.

    If their success was based only on a weak division, you’d expect them to get bounced from the playoffs repeatedly in the first round when facing a tough team, but that hasn’t happened. If you want to see what that looks like, go back and look at Peyton Manning’s record with the Colts, who feasted on a terrible AFC South those years and then lost in the first round 9 times.

  12. Rodger Goodell cheated the Patriots with sham-gates, yet they are still contending year after year even with the level playing field. Their demise is a running joke. Even now that they are pronounced as-in life support yet they are still clawing to the top. Who knows? They might just decide to sprint to the top and win the SB just to irk their prophets of doom.

  13. “streetyson says:
    December 25, 2018 at 11:41 pm
    Before the salty mountain of hate spews too much AFCLeast: Brady-Pats career record v AFCN & AFCS is higher than v AFCE, and in fact their very worst win ratios against any div (both West divs) is still impressive at around 2:1”

    Would you give it up. Just admit that the Patriots have benefited from a historically weak division. In the past 18 seasons, the AFCE has seen 10 other playoff appearances within the division. The most prolific team during that period was the Jets with a whopping 6 playoff appearances in 18 years. It’s easier to get in the playoffs when you have a very weak division.

  14. A huge factor that is a big wildcard (pun) every year is injuries. The wrong kinds of injuries, to the wrong players and/or at the wrong times, can derail a season for a team that might have been considered a playoff lock on opening day.

  15. Get ready for bad tv ratings
    ———————–
    How so? Do you know how many Bears fans there are all over the country? Just the fact the Bears are back in the postseason mix this year will have a bunch of people tuning in for as long as their run lasts.

  16. The Patriots are not simply a bi-product of the division. It’s lazy and inaccurate analysis to go with that. No one went with that type of analysis when Peyton was beating up on an AFC South that makes this year’s AFC East look like a murderers row of competition. And playing a weaker brand of division football would hinder not help since you come playoffs because you wouldn’t be battle tested. Probably why there were so many one and done season’s for the Colts in the 2000’s.

  17. Remember when the Jags were a quarter away from the Superbowl? Seems like only last year… oh wait, what happened?

  18. Doolin Danger says:
    December 26, 2018 at 11:35 am
    Remember when the Jags were a quarter away from the Superbowl? Seems like only last year… oh wait, what happened?
    ——————————————-
    They played the Pats & won….. thought the season was done….. as it turns out, they were right!!!

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