Why 7-9 Teams Should Be Allowed In The NFL Playoffs

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

With four weeks to go, the Rams and Seahawks sit tied atop the NFC West at 6-6. There is growing concern that Roger Goodell will run around in circles yelling “Amok, Amok, Amok!” should one of the those teams qualify for the playoffs, and ultimately host a playoff game at 7-9.

Some are so concerned that they are calling for new rules requiring playoff teams to have a .500 record to qualify for the playoffs. Others think division winners with a poor record don’t deserve a home game in the first-round of the playoffs.

On the surface, both scenarios seem logical. But would either make a difference? Let’s take a look at how “bad” teams have performed in the playoffs.

Since the NFL has gone to eight divisions (2002), 14 teams have qualified for the playoffs with eight or nine wins and played a team in the first-round with at least 10 wins. Of those 14 games, four of those teams played at home and 10 played their opening round game on the road.

Here is a breakdown of how those teams performed…

NFL playoffs

In the last eight seasons, teams with only eight or nine wins are an amazing 9-5 in the first-round against teams with 10-wins. They are even better when that game is played at home, going 3-1.

Of course, this is a small sample size. But it is hard to argue that these teams don’t deserve to be in the playoffs if they are beating the better teams on a consistent basis. Would that be different with a seven-win team? Who knows. But it seems rather arbitrary to think an eight-win team is somehow more deserving that a seven-win team that might be playing a different schedule.

Otherwise, why does the NFL have divisions at all?

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