Two years ago, the NFL decided to expand their playoffs by adding an extra team from each conference & the product hasn’t been good
Wild Card Weekend
The NFL playoffs began this past weekend. 14 teams made the playoffs & 6 Wild Card games would be played instead of 4. The weekend was a bust, as only 2 games ended up being competitive.
There were more wins by 3 touchdowns or more (3) than wins by one possession (2). Even the game that ended in only a 16 point win was 31-0 after 3 quarters.
Out of the two one possession games this weekend, only one of them was competitive the whole time.
The Bengals & Raiders played a great game. The Cowboys got down 23-7 but made a late push thanks to some mistakes by the 49ers, ultimately losing 23-17 due to some key mistakes of their own.
Other than that, the games were boring, unless you were a fan of a winning team.
Wild Card Weekend in Comparison
In the 3 seasons prior to the change, 10 of the 12 Wild Card games were one possession games. That’s 83% of the weekend’s games being intriguing & entertaining down to the last few minutes. In the first 2 seasons since the change, only 5 of the 12 Wild Card games have been one possession games. It drops to 41%.
In the 3 seasons prior to the change, the average margin of victory during Wild Card weekend was 6.1 points. The average margin of victory since the change is 12.8 points. This past weekend, the 2nd playoffs since the change, the average margin of victory was 17 points.
To make matters worse, the 7 (last) seeds are 0-4 so far in the NFL Playoffs. In the last 3 seasons of a 12 team playoff, when the 6 seeds were the last seeds, they went 5-1.
Both 6 seeds won last season & one of the 6 seeds even won again this season. The 6 seed is competitive & actually wins a good amount of the time, especially in recent seasons.
The 6 seed even won 6 straight Wild Card games from 2018-2020. Meanwhile, the 7th seed hasn’t gotten a win yet in its first 4 tries & only one of the games was even close.
Expanded NFL Playoffs is a Bust
By comparison to the years prior to the change, we can conclude that, at least so far, the expanded NFL Playoffs is not what they expected it to be.
It’s made the Wild Card weekend less competitive & a lot of fans were not happy about the one-sidedness of most of the games. This year’s 7 seeds were both down by 28 & 31 respectively in the 3rd quarters of their games.
This Wild Card weekend didn’t feel like the NFL Playoffs because there were teams that just didn’t belong. The NFC’s 7 seed Philadelphia Eagles were 0-6 against playoff teams this season, now 0-7 after losing to the Buccaneers.
The AFC’s 7 seed Pittsburgh Steelers came into the playoffs with the 7th worst point-differential of any playoff team in the history of the NFL.
It seems that all this change does is give the #1 seeds a better advantage over the #2 seeds. They don’t have to waste their energy playing a mediocre team. As the Buccaneers & Chiefs beat up on the Eagles & Steelers, the Titans & Packers were at home resting up.
Especially with that extra regular season game, being the only 2 teams with a Wild Card bye could be a real advantage moving forward.
What do you think?
Leave a comment or mention us on Twitter with your thoughts about the NFL’s new playoff format.
Hope For The Best
As a fan of the NFL, one can only hope for the best going forward in this year’s NFL Playoffs. Now that we got the teams who clearly weren’t ready out of here, maybe we’ll get to watch some good football games this upcoming weekend.
I Got Next will be live Thursday night to talk about the next round of NFL Playoffs. We’re bringing in our Sports Betting Professional, John Ryan, to break down the games & best sports betting picks of the weekend.
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