The schedules have been released.
What does this mean?
It is time to predict the 14 playoff teams.
|New England Patriots||6-10|
|Buffalo Bills||10-6 Y|
|Baltimore Ravens||10-6 Y|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||9-7 X|
|Indianapolis Colts||9-7 X|
|Tennessee Titans||9-7 Y|
|Kansas City Chiefs||14-2 *|
|Denver Broncos||9-7 X|
|Los Angeles Chargers||8-8|
|Las Vegas Raiders||6-10|
|Philadelphia Eagles||10-6 X|
|Dallas Cowboys||12-4 Y|
|Minnesota Vikings||11-5 Y|
|Green Bay Packers||10-6|
|New Orleans Saints||13-3 *|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10-6 X|
|Seattle Seahawks||12-4 Y|
|San Francisco 49ers||12-4 X|
* -Home Field Advantage
Y – Division Winner
X – Wild Card
AFC No. 2: The Bills posted a better record in the conference.
AFC South/No. 4: The Titans had a better strength of victory.
AFC No. 5: The Colts had a better record in the conference than the Broncos or Steelers.
AFC No. 6: The Broncos beat the Steelers head-to-head.
NFC West: The Seahawks won both head-to-head games.
NFC No. 2: The Seahawks beat the Cowboys head-to-head.
NFC No. 6: The Eagles had the highest strength of victory of the three tied teams.
NFC No. 7: The Buccaneers beat the Packers head-to-head.
No. 2 Bills over No. 7 Steelers
No. 3 Ravens over No. 6 Broncos
No. 4 Titans over No. 5 Colts
No. 2 Seahawks over No. 7 Buccaneers
No. 3 Cowboys over No. 6 Eagles
No. 5 49ers over No. 4 Vikings
No. 1 Chiefs over No. 4 Titans
No. 3 Ravens over No. 2 Bills
No. 1 Saints over No. 5 49ers
No. 3 Cowboys over No. 2 Seahawks
No. 1 Chiefs over No. 3 Ravens
No. 1 Saints over No. 3 Cowboys
The Chiefs defeated the Saints in Super Bowl 55.
The schedule introduced a brand new dynamic. Many of the worst teams faced difficult stretches of games when wins were scarce. The NFC was slightly top-heavy, as the 10-6 Packers missed the playoffs, and the 12-4 49ers were held to a Wild Card spot. In the AFC, the AFC East had a brutal schedule with regular losses to the Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, and Cardinals whom all finished at or above .500.
The Chiefs would become the first team since the 2003-2004 Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowls. It would be tough to imagine Drew Brees going out with a loss, but he could retire after the playoffs.
In terms of parity, nine of the 12 teams from the 2019 playoffs return with the Patriots, Texans, and Packers bowing out to the Steelers, Colts, Broncos, Cowboys, and Buccaneers. Playoff parity is usually higher, but a lack of off-season infrastructure could keep the good teams sturdy while the bad teams do not have the time to mesh as they did in years past.
The Steelers would finish seventh in the AFC for the third straight season. To see how they might have fared in the 2019 playoffs, click here.
The numbers will certainly fluctuate throughout the off-season, so be sure to tune in for the June, July, and August editions of the playoff predictions.