Sunday, August 07, 2011

Before you make your picks this season...

Who doesn't enjoy predicting the playoff teams at the start of each NFL season, right?

At the start of the 2010 season, I picked the following 12 teams: NFC - Atlanta, New Orleans, Green Bay, Dallas, San Francisco, and Minnesota. AFC - Baltimore, Indianapolis, New England, San Diego, Houston, and Cincinnati.

50%. That didn't go so well, but since we believe in accountability around here, I want to attempt to do so. And yet, it is rather predictable that the field will be unpredictable.

But, nobody should be worried about one person's personal picks. More important is knowing how the league picks its 12 playoff teams.

I assume you know about the turnover in the league. If not, check out the number of new teams each year since the format change to show that the NFL has no problems with parity. In fact, this year, with only 5 new teams from last year's playoff, is actually an extremely stable by historical comparison.

Don't tell that to Minnesota (#2 seed, 2009), Dallas (#3), and Arizona (#4) in the NFC, or the Bengals (#3) or San Diego (#2) from the AFC who have not been invited back.

The 5 new teams: Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta.

In the chart below, I will show you each year, and list the new teams who made the playoffs that year, but weren't in the playoffs the year before. The teams in the 1991 playoffs (the 1st year - so they were all new) were Dal, Atl, NO, Chi, Wash, and Det in the NFC; KC, Oak, Hou, NYJ, Den, and Buf in the AFC:

Year# NewNew Teams making Playoffs
19926Min, SF, Phi, Mia, Pit, KC
19935Det, GB, NYG, Oak, Den
19945Chi, Mia, Clev, NE, SD
19954Phi, Atl, Ind, Buf
19965Min, Car, Jac, Den, NE
19975NYG, Det, TB, KC, Mia
19985Arz, Dal, Atl, NYJ, Buf
19997Det, TB, StL, Was, Sea, Ten, Ind
20006Phi, NYG, NO, Den, Bal, Oak
20016SF, GB, Chi, Pit, NE, NYJ
20025NYG, Atl, Ten, Cle, Ind
20038Stl, Car, Dal, Sea, NE, KC, Bal, Den
20045Min, Atl, SD, Pit, NYJ
20057Was, Car, TB, NYG, Chi, Cin, Jac
20067Phi. Dal, NO, SD, Bal, NYJ, KC
20076Was, TB, GB, Pit, Ten, Jac
20087Phi, Atl, Car, Min, Arz, Mia, Bal
20096Dal, GB, NO, Cin, NE, NYJ
20105Sea, Atl, Chi, Pitt, KC

Table Tutorial


Jeff Wishard said...

FYI, Bob - 1990 was the first year for the 6 team format, not 1991. You can go back one more year.

scottmaui said...

It's also interesting to note the "rebound factor" with between 2 and 5 teams with losing records making the playoffs the following year during that span. 44 teams have gone from 6 wins or less to playoff berths.

My picks...
NFC: GB, Phi, Atl, StL, NO, Dal
AFC: NE, KC, Pit, Ind, Hou, NYJ

That's only predicting 3 changes and I know it is likely to be more than that, but it does seem like so many of the playoff teams from last season made themselves stronger in the offseason and it's hard to see them not making it again.