Once again the NFL is heading toward a scenario where a bad team will be rewarded for winning a weak division and a good team will be screwed out of a playoff spot.
Thanks to a divisional format that puts just 12.5% of the league’s teams (4 of 32) in each division, there is a good chance we will see a division (NFC South) won by a team with fewer than nine wins while the Seattle Seahawks may not get a shot to defend their Super Bowl title even if they win 10 games.
With just six weeks left in the regular season, every team in the NFC South has a losing record and there is little hope it will get better. The four teams in the division are a combined 6-20-1 against teams outside their division.
And yet, one of those teams will make the playoffs. Meanwhile, there are four teams with at least six wins that are battling for the two Wild Card spots and if the season ended today, the San Francisco 49ers and the defending champs would both miss the playoffs.
If it seems like this happens too often, it is because it does.
Just last year, the Green Bay Packers made the playoffs with eight wins while the Arizona Cardinals went 10-6 and missed the playoffs.
In 2010, the Seattle Seahawks won their division with a 7-9 record and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 10-6 in the same conference and didn’t get a shot at the playoffs.
What makes things worse is either the Saints or Falcons will make the playoffs with just seven or eight wins and they will be rewarded with a home playoff game in the first round against a superior team.
The current divisional format makes for easy scheduling. It also inevitably leads to good teams getting screwed far too often.
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