In the 30 seasons during which the NFL welcomed 12 teams per year to the playoffs, only one 11-win team failed to qualify. This year, three different teams have a chance to be shut out of the AFC field despite winning 11 games.
The Colts, Browns, or Ravens could end up missing the seven-team AFC postseason with an 11-5 record. The situation has made the Ravens into Steelers fans; if Pittsburgh loses to both the Colts and Browns and the Ravens win their final two games, the Ravens could end up on the outside looking in with an 11-5 mark.
However it plays out from a wins and losses standpoint, a high-quality AFC team will end up missing the playoffs this year. For the Colts, Titans, Browns, Dolphins, and Ravens, only four spots are available. The Colts or Titans will get one of them, and the other will compete with the Browns, Dolphins, and Ravens for the three wild-card spots.
In all, thirteen teams with 10 or more wins missed the playoffs in the three decades of 12 postseason teams: The 2015 Jets (10-6) 2014 Eagles (10-6), the 2013 Falcons (10-6), the 2013 Cardinals (10-6), the 2012 Bears (10-6), the 2010 Giants (10-6), the 2010 Buccaneers (10-6), the 2008 Patriots (11-5), the 2007 Browns (10-6), the 2005 Chiefs (10-6), the 2003 Dolphins (10-6), the 1991 Eagles (10-6), and the 1991 49ers (10-6).