The 14-team playoff field has been determined and 12 of those clubs will be in action over a three-day span. Of course, there’s lots of postseason history.
With the Los Angeles Rams’ failure to reach the playoffs, there will be a new Super Bowl champion this season. After 18 weeks and 271 regular-season games, there are 14 teams in the hunt for a Lombardi Trophy. This year’s playoff field includes five franchises – the Bills, Bengals, Jaguars, Chargers and Vikings – looking for their first Super Bowl championship.
The NFL playoffs expanded from 12 to 14 teams in 2020. For the second straight year, there are seven teams in the field that weren’t in the postseason a year ago and seven that didn’t return to the playoffs. The newcomers (listing year of last appearance) are the Dolphins (2016), Ravens (2020), Jaguars (2017), Chargers (2018), Giants (2016), Vikings (2019) and Seahawks (2020). Out are the Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Raiders, Packers, Rams and Cardinals.
Each of this Wild Card Weekend’s six contests are rematches from the regular season. While the 49ers swept the Seahawks, both the Dolphins and Bills, as well as the Ravens and Bengals, split their two-game set in 2022. Elsewhere, the Jaguars routed the Chargers, 38-10, in Los Angeles in Week 3, the Vikings edged the visiting Giants, 27-24, in Week 16 and the Buccaneers went to Dallas in Week 1 and came away with a 19-3 Sunday night victory.
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Dating back to 2019, there have been 32 instances in which a team lost its first two games. The 2022 Cincinnati Bengals are the only club to reach the playoffs over that span. Zac Taylor’s club opened 0-2 but now stands at 12-4. Playoffs. Of course, there have only been four instances of a team opening 0-2 and reaching the Super Bowl: The 1993 Cowboys (won XXVIII), 1996 Patriots (lost XXXI), 2001 Patriots (won XXXVI) and 2007 Giants (won XLII).
A total of four teams reached the playoffs this season despite allowing more points than they scored. That’s the first time that’s happened since the merger (excluding the 1982 strike-shortened seasons in which 16 of the 28 teams reached the postseason). This season, the Miami Dolphins (-2), New York Giants (-6), Minnesota Vikings (-3) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-45) all own a negative scoring differential. The Bucs (8-9) also finished below .500.
It’s the most unlikely of statistics. The Super Bowl has been played 56 times and 20 different franchises have won at least one title. However, these has yet to be a player that led pro football in passing yards during the season and his team win a Super Bowl the same year. In 2022, Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished with a league-high 5,250 yards. Can Andy Reid’s club put an end to this odd trend? The Chiefs are the AFC’s No. 1 seed.