Most seasons, about half of the NFL teams that made the playoffs the previous year don’t make it back.
It’s a well-established trend. According to figures from The Comeback, from 1991 through 2019 an average of 5.6 teams missed the playoffs after making it the previous season. The league turns over fast.
Yet, 11 of the 12 teams who made the playoffs last season are favored to return to the postseason, according to BetMGM’s odds.
The math does change this season. The playoffs are expanding to 14 teams. Still, we can count on turnover. Here are the five most likely candidates to miss the playoffs, with the BetMGM odds for each team not making the playoffs this season:
5. (tie) Green Bay Packers (+125) and Minnesota Vikings (+110)
There’s not a ton of confidence in either NFC North playoff team to make it back to the playoffs. The Packers go from 13-3 to barely being favored to make the playoffs in a 14-team field. Nobody is sold on their offseason. The Vikings saw a lot of core players leave too. Of all the divisions, the NFC North seems to be the most wide open. You can make a reasonable case for any of the four teams winning it. Yes, even the Detroit Lions. Since we know we can count on about half of last season’s playoff field not making it back this season, we’ll lump the Packers and Vikings together. It seems unlikely both will be back.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (+165)
I’m pretty high on the Dallas Cowboys this season, and will pick them to win the NFC East. The Eagles will be right in the race, but a wild-card spot isn’t guaranteed even with the extra spot. Philadelphia hasn’t been great either of the past two seasons, and still has questions at receiver. A playoff spot is far from a lock. And remember, if a nearly 30-year trend holds, about half of last season’s playoff teams won’t make it back. Someone has to be on this list.
3. New England Patriots (+200)
It’s weird to put the Patriots here and it’ll be remembered by their fans when Bill Belichick somehow wins the AFC East again. But this is a much, much different team and not just because Cam Newton (or Jarrett Stidham) is replacing Tom Brady. The Patriots have lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball due to free agency and coronavirus-related opt-outs. It’s really hard to go against Belichick and the Patriots’ dynasty, but we could look back and say we saw a mediocre season coming.
2. Tennessee Titans (+115)
The Titans seem like they have a stable base. But it’s also pretty easy to talk yourself into them taking a step back. Derrick Henry had a ton of touches last season and it’s hard to keep asking him to carry that load. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was fantastic last season but that might not repeat. The Titans had a nice playoff run but were just 9-7 in the regular season, and needed a win over a Houston team that had nothing to play for and started AJ McCarron at quarterback to clinch a playoff berth. Without those playoff wins, the Titans might be the obvious No. 1 on this list. Instead, it’s another AFC South team.
1. Houston Texans (-182)
Not only are the Texans the lone 2019 playoff team that is an underdog to make it back, there are significant odds against them making it back. The debacle of the DeAndre Hopkins trade has resonated through the Texans’ offseason. Maybe it’s an overreaction, but the Texans find themselves in a competitive division and it makes sense why the odds are against them making it back to the postseason.
The BetMGM odds to not make the playoffs for the other six 2019 playoff teams: Baltimore Ravens +550, Buffalo Bills +145, Kansas City Chiefs +800, New Orleans Saints +310, San Francisco 49ers +270, Seattle Seahawks +115.
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