NFL Playoff Picture Features Familiar Teams

Wild Card Stage Set For This Weekend

Bob Volpe

Have you noticed anything odd about the NFL playoffs this year? It seems like very little variation has occurred from last year.

The same damn teams are in it again and again. So, what, if anything, has changed this year?

Teams that were in the playoffs last year: AFC; Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburg Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and Las Vegas Raiders. In the NFC; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco Forty-Niners, LA Rams, and Arizona Cardinals. Maybe it would have been easier to list the teams that made it last year that didn’t make it this year: In the AFC, this includes the Raiders, Steelers, and Patriots. In the NFC, it was the Rams, Cardinals that didn’t make the grade.

New kids in the picture this year in the NFC: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Giants. In the AFC: Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Miami Dolphins. The Ravens have also been a perennial playoff team. Not much to say about parody in the NFL.

The road to Super Bowl LVII in the AFC goes through Kansas City. The mighty Chiefs won the AFC West Division for the seventh year in a row and are the AFC number one seed in this year’s playoff picture.

The Chiefs haven’t missed the playoffs since 2014. Since 2014 they have won at least 10 games in every season. This year has been the best winning season since 2020 when they went to the Super Bowl and lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 9-31. The Chief won the Super Bowl in 2019, beating the San Francisco Forty-Niners, 31-20.

Anyway, that’s my rant about the Chiefs. (Quarterback Patrick) Mahomes is a freak of nature good.

The picture is now set for the road to Super Bowl LVII. The wild card games in the AFC will be: The number two seed Bills will play the seventh seed Miami Dolphins, in Buffalo. The number three seed Bengals will play the number six seed Ravens in Cincinnati. The number five seed Chargers will play the number four seed Jaguars in Jacksonville. The number one seed Chiefs have a bye. The Chiefs will play the lowest seed winner in the next round.

In the NFC, the number two seed Niners play the number seven seed Seahawks or Packers, in Frisco. The number three seed Vikings will play the number six seed Giants in Minnesota. The number four seed Buccaneers play the number five seed Cowboys in Tampa Bay. The number one seed Eagles have a bye. They will play the lowest seed winner of the wild card games.

It’s been a long weird road to the playoffs this year. A few fun facts. In the NFC south division, no team including the division winner Buccaneers have a winning record. The Buccaneers finished the season at 8-9. The rest of the division shared 7-12 records. Something has to be done to rearrange the entire NFC.

In the NFC, each team that won their division are the only teams in their division to win at least 10 games.

In the AFC, the Jaguars could have won their division with a record of 8-9. They managed to beat their arch rivals the Tennessee Titans in the last regular game of the season to get to 9-8. Also in the AFC, two divisions, the AFC north and the AFC west had two team that won at least 10 games.

Both the Chiefs and the Eagles have a 14-3 record this season. Super Bowl match-up?


Wild Card Favorites

Now for the TMJ picks.

The AFC Wild Card: Bills beat the Dolphins, Bengals beat the Ravens, Jaguars beat Chargers.

The NFC Wild Card: Niners beat Seahawks or Packers, Vikings beat the Giants, Cowboys beat the Buccaneers.

One last thing. Congratulations Denver Broncos on beating the Chargers last week. It didn’t mean diddly to a June bug, but you didn’t go 0-6 in the AFC west this year. At least that’s something. And that scoring 31 points thing? Keep doing that next season.