I’m going to ruin a lot of the suspense for the rest of this regular season. The teams that reach the playoffs are likely already in playoff position. If they are not currently in position, they are just on the outside. Guess what the largest deficit overcome at week 9 to reach the playoffs is since 2002? I’ll let you think about that for a minute.
I went back through the results after week 9, to see how often the teams at each seed within their conference reached the postseason.
Here are the results for each position at the halfway point. I didn’t go through all the tiebreakers, and I ranked teams by a) record, followed by b) point differential. I did, however, seed teams by the playoff format, with each division leader seeded 1 to 4, and all others seeded after that.
Only 10 of the 12o playoff teams were ranked outside the Top 8 in their conference after week 9. Four of those were teams that captured the #4 seed as the weakest division winner. 65% of the teams that captured a first round bye were already in position as one of the top two teams in the conference at the halfway point.
Still, you might be surprised to see that three teams that were #1 in the conference at the halfway mark missed the playoffs. Not all #1 teams are equal, though, and those that missed the playoffs were narrowly in the lead over a large group of teams.
What if we sort it by how much a team was ahead or behind in the chase for a playoff spot. Here is a breakdown of how frequently teams made it based on how many games they were up (or trailing) after week 9.
Just so you are reading that right, 41 teams have been tied for a final playoff spot, and almost exactly half (20) have reached the postseason. That kind of makes sense. On either side of that, we see the chances of reaching the postseason rise and fall dramatically.
Thirty-four teams since 2002 have been exactly two games back since 2002 at this point. None have reached the postseason. Sorry, Bills, Jets, Raiders, Titans, and Bengals fans.
Only one team has overcome a one and a half game deficit. Which one? Here you go:
The only chance a team has to overcome that deficit is if they play to win the game. The game after Edwards delivered that rant, the Jets whipped the Chargers to get to 3-5, but still trailed the Bills (at 5-4) for the final wildcard spot.
So it looks like Andy Reid and Jason Garrett better dust up their press conference rant this week if they hope to make up the 1.5 game deficit against the Seattle Seahawks.
[photo via US Presswire]