Fantasy Index

header banner img
Win here.


NFL playoffs

About half of teams in playoffs should be new teams

The NFL is a league of change. New teams are always working their way to the top, and last year’s contenders have to move aside to make room for them. It’s not enough to start with last year’s playoff field, make a couple of changes and figure you’ve got it right.

Since the NFL moved to the 12-team playoff field in 1990, in fact, there have been at least four new playoff teams every year. In only two of those 25 seasons have there been as few as four.

Far more common is to see, 5, 6 or 7 new playoff teams – about half the field. Since the league moved to eight divisions in 2002, the average is 5.9 new playoff teams per season.

With that in mind, and given that we’ve now seen all of the teams play at least two practice games, what new teams will elevate into the postseason this year?

YearNoNew Playoff Teams
19907Cin., Chi., K.C., Rdrs., Mia., N.O., Wash.
19915Atl., Dall., Den., Det., NYJ
19926Mia., Min., Phil., Pitt., S.D., S.F.
19935Den., Det., G.B., Rdrs., NYG
19945Chi., Clev., Mia., N.E., S.D.
19954Atl., Buff., Ind., Phil.
19965Car., Den., Jac., Min., N.E.
19975Det., K.C., Mia., NYG, T.B.
19985Ariz., Atl., Buff., Dall., NYJ
19997Det., Ind., St.L., Sea., T.B., Tenn., Wash.
20006Balt., Den., N.O., NYG, Oak., Phil.
20016Chi., G.B., N.E., NYJ, Pitt., S.F.
20025Atl., Clev., Ind., NYG, Tenn.
20038Balt., Car., Dall., Den., K.C., N.E., St.L., Sea.
20045Atl., Min., NYJ, Pitt., S.D.
20057Car., Chi., Cin., Jac., NYG, T.B., Wash.
20067Balt., Dall., K.C., N.O., NYJ, Phil., S.D.
20076G.B., Jac., Pitt., T.B., Tenn., Wash.
20087Ariz., Atl., Balt., Car., Mia., Min., Phil.
20096Cin., Dall., G.B., N.E., N.O., NYJ
20105Atl., Chi., K.C., Pitt., Sea.
20116Cin., Den., Det., Hou., NYG, S.F.
20124Ind., Min., Sea., Wash.
20135Car., K.C., N.O., Phil., S.D.
20145Ariz., Balt., Dall., Det., Pitt.

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index