With the NFL expanding the postseason from 12 to 14 teams, each conference will have three wild-card teams. Which means that, in theory, all three wild-card teams can come from the same division. Which means that, in theory, all four teams from one division can make the playoffs in a given year.
It’s a topic Simms and I tripped over during Thursday’s PFTOT, while discussing a viewer question regarding whether the Broncos or Chargers present more of a threat to the Chiefs in 2020.
Under the old format, three teams have made it multiple times, with the second- and third-place teams from a given division joining the champion as wild cards. That extra wild card now could go, in theory, to the team that also finishes dead last in its own division.
Should the team that finishes in last place of a given division be excluded, even if it has a better record than the other three second-place teams in its conference? For the same reason that the league places so much importance on winning the division, guaranteeing the champion a home playoff game regardless of record in comparison to wild-card teams, the team landing dead last in its assigned division arguably should be excluded, even if its record is better than all other potential wild cards in the conference.
For now, though, the three wild cards may all come from one division, and maybe something like that could happen in 2020. Consider this: The teams of the NFC West (currently the best division in the NFL) play the teams of the NFC East (currently the worst division in the NFL) and the teams of the AFC East (the division currently in the most flux, to say the least). If the 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, and Cardinals stay in the range of 4-2, 3-3, and 2-4 in their six division games, they can fatten up their records via the 10 games out of the division, and those eight games against the AFC and NFC East could help the NFC West teams do just that. The other two games, played against teams of the NFC North and NFC South based on where teams placed in 2019, could further smooth things out, with for example the 49ers facing the Packers and Saints and the Cardinals playing the Lions and Panthers.
It’s definitely a long shot that all four teams would make it. The point is that all four in any division could. And that, based on the schedule formula in a given season, maybe at some point all four will.
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Could NFC West send all four teams to the playoffs? have 515 words, post on profootballtalk.nbcsports.com at April 10, 2020. This is cached page on Law Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.