In 2010, the Seattle Seahawks became the first team to make the NFL playoffs with a losing record when they won the NFC West with a 7-9 record. Just four years later, it is going to happen again and that is just the start of the NFL’s nightmare.
Next week’s matchup between the 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers and the 6-9 Atlanta Falcons will decide the winner of the dreadful NFC South and the winner will be just the second 7-win playoff team in NFL history.
To make matters worse, the winner will then host a playoff game and are on track to have a favourable matchup.
Barring a week 17 upset of the Seattle Seahawks, the most likely wild card teams in the NFC will be the Arizona Cardinals and the loser of the Lions-Packers game that will decide the NFC North champion. If the Cardinals win their final game (at the San Francisco 49ers), Arizona will be the fifth seed and will play the winner of the NFC South in the first round of the playoffs.
And this is where the real nightmare starts.
The most likely scenario has a 7-win NFC South champion (Panthers or Falcons) playing at home in the playoffs against a team travelling across the country. On top of that, the Cardinals will either be starting a quarterback with just 12 career starts (Drew Stanton) or one with just five career starts (Ryan Lindley), for an offence that hasn’t scored more than 18 points in their last six games.
That means, not only will the NFL have their second 7-win playoff team in five seasons, but there is a very good chance the NFL is going to have a 7-win team reach the second round of the playoffs for the second time in five years as the Seahawks won their first game in 2010.
Outside of the fans of Falcons and Panthers, nobody wants to see that.
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