NFL 2020: Wild Card Playoffs

Yes, they’re almost trying to get Allen injured.

Not kicking that first-half FG is looking rather large right now, as is the missed FG in the second half.

How was that not a fumble?

As a Bills fan, that was not a pleasant game. Yes, Buffalo won and I’m happy for that. But I feel the Colts - a seven-seeded wildcard team - outplayed them. Indy lost because of mistakes they made. This should have been a blowout for the Bills.

The Bills ran Josh Allen too much (risking injury,) and for some reason seemed afraid to throw the ball against a Colts defense that was strong against the run but known to be weak in the secondary. And Buffalo was really lucky that the Colts failed on 4th down, missed a field goal by a hair and the Bills also made a 54-yard FG.

But I think we’ll do better next week, getting the psychological monkey off the back will mean Buffalo is revved up even more.

Am I right that there are two matches this weekend between teams playing for the third time?

Yes, Browns-Steelers and Rams-Seahawks. It happens anytime two division rivals are playing each other in the playoffs.

Perhaps I should stick to the soccer threads.

So this is not unusual at all?

Every team plays the other team in their division twice per season. Once at home, and once away. The division winners always get a playoff spot, but there are also 2-3 “wildcard” spots for teams that didn’t win their division but had the best records of the remaining non-division winners. Since low seed plays high, the wildcard winners play against division winners. Sometimes they end up, coincidentally, both being from the same division. It’s not the norm, but it’s not unusual. It happens once or twice per playoffs on average.

That was a ridiculous catch by Tyler Lockett. Sometimes amazing catches don’t get enough notice because they don’t occur at pivotal moments in the game.

A bit unusual, but it happens every few seasons.

In the NFL, the 32 teams are divided up into two conferences of 16 teams – the National Football Conference, and the American Football Conference. Each conference is then subdivided into four divisions (North, South, East, and West), each containing four teams.

During the regular season, a team plays against each of the other three teams in its division twice – so, as the Rams and Seahawks are in the same division (the NFC West), they play one another twice in the regular season.

In the playoffs, the eight teams which win their divisions during the regular season make the playoffs; in addition, in each conference, the three teams with the best records, which did not win their divisions, also make the playoffs as “wild card” teams.

So, every so often, you get a playoff game in which a team that won its division is pitted against one of its divisional rivals, which made it in as a wild card team, and thus, they play each other for the third time in a season. (It’s also possible, but less likely, for two wild-card teams, both from the same division, to wind up playing against each other in the playoffs, and I’m not sure that that’s ever happened.)

Looking back at the last few seasons (note that, before this season, there were only 2 wild card teams per conference, rather than three, so it will probably happen more often going forward):

  • 2019: didn’t happen
  • 2018: Colts-Texans
  • 2017: Saints-Panthers
  • 2016: didn’t happen
  • 2015: Steelers-Bengals
  • 2014: Ravens-Steelers

Google tells me that it’s happened 19 times since 2002. So, yeah, about one per season.

Okay, so at least I’m on the right track to think that two of these match-ups in one year is unusual. But since we have two extra playoff games now, perhaps that boosts the odds.

I now return you to [discussion of] the game currently in progress.

It definitely boosts the odds, since those two extra playoff games represent the inclusion of two more wild card teams, and now, six out of the eight division winners will be starting the playoffs by facing off against a wild card team (which could well be from their own division).

Hint: If your backup QB has a thumb injury, maybe be a bit reluctant to run your only healthy QB. Also, maybe keep 3 QBs on your roster for the game.

I do love watching Aaron Donald though.

The end of the half was painfully long.

Sad for Philip Rivers, but happy for the Bills - about time their fans had something to cheer for besides a draft pick.

The first playoff win for the Bills in 25 years, you gotta feel good for them (unless you’re a Colts fan of course).

Yeah, I just feel bad for Rivers; he’s a quality QB and probably won’t get a ring unless he agrees to be a back-up for Tampa or Kansas City.