There’s a theoretical game going around with sports talk radio where they like to eliminate an NFL team each week from the playoffs. This would lead to eliminating 17 teams, leaving 15 to make the playoffs when 12 actually do. It’s close enough. We are going to play the game ourselves. The NFL season is 8 weeks in so far. We’re going to make some guesses and try to eliminate 8 teams here. I might add in a bonus 9th because why not, there are some bad teams out there. This is a dangerous game, as the Texans were 0-3 5 weeks ago but now find themselves at 5-3.
You can’t go by the 8 worst records either, because of how the playoffs work. There are 4 division winners (1 per division) and 2 wildcard teams. If a team has a bad record, but their division is also bad, then it makes it harder to eliminate them.
Category 1: #1 Overall pick candidates
- New York Giants (1-7)
- San Francisco 49ers (1-7)
- Oakland Raiders (1-6)
Here we have 3 teams combined for a 3-20 record. Ouch. Eli Manning doesn’t even look like he’s on his last leg anymore. He’s down to his last ankle. He has nothing left in the tank, especially behind that offensive line. I could see him having some more productivity with more time in the pocket, but regardless, his arm seems very weak. They have the 5th worst point differential but an amazing running back (had to mention Saquon Barkley). Moving onto the 49ers, one of the more popular Super Bowl picks. Jimmy G got injured and their season has gone by the wayside since then. Low-lighted by 2 losses to the 2-win Arizona Cardinals. Please don’t let me watch any more CJ Beathard. Kyle Shanahan makes you feel good about this team but that hasn’t shown up in the win column yet. Jon Gruden has officially torn down the Raiders and we’re not sure he’ll know how to put them back together. 5 first rounders over the next years only helps if you know how to draft. Trading away 2 stars has not paid off so far, here’s to looking forward to the Vegas move!
Somehow have more than 1 win
- Buffalo Bills (2-6)
- Arizona Cardinals (2-6)
Wow, these teams are bad. They may be worse than the previous section but they just happen to have 2 wins. The Cardinals have only beaten the 1-win 49ers twice. Bad news: they don’t play them anymore this season. Josh Rosen has shown some flashes but this is a terrible situation he’s in right now. It’s time for a rebuild. The Bills. These Bills are bad. They have scored 87 points in 8 games and have given up 200. That’s the worst point differential in the league by quite a bit (24 points worse than the Cardinals). It gets worse, they’re starting Nathan Peterman again this week. Guaranteed pick 6 and another loss. I hate Nathan Peterman in case you’re a new reader.
In some trouble
- Cleveland Browns (2-5-1)
- Tampa Bay Buccanneers (3-4)
The Browns, while very talented, did just fire their head coach. There’s a scenario for this team where they maybe have 4 wins. They’ve had 4 OT games and have had a chance to win in each. Cons: Mayfield looks to be a year or so away, the coach just got fired and they’re still the Browns. They’ve gotten blown out in 2 of the past 3 weeks and look more and more like the team of last year. The Bucs are also in some trouble. The QB they drafted 4 years ago to be the franchise player just got benched for a 34-year-old veteran named Ryan Fitzmagic. This is not where the franchise wanted to go and I don’t expect them to be winning too much this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick could pull some wins out for them but I’m not seeing playoffs for them.
I don’t like the vibe of these teams
- Denver Broncos (3-5)
- New York Jets (3-4)
Either of these teams could go on a run and make the playoffs but here’s why they won’t. The Broncos would have to hit the 6th seed in the playoffs as the division winner (Chiefs) and wildcard #1 (Chargers) have this division on lock. The 6th seed looks like a competition of Cincinnati/Tennesse/Baltimore/Miami. These teams are all playing much better and have looked more competent than the Broncos, who started 2-0 but have lost 5 of their last 6 (with their only win coming against the 1-win Cardinals). The Jets aren’t looking so good either. That Monday night primetime game threw everyone off the Sam Darnold scent. He really has not been good this year. I keep seeing games where his completion percentage is terrible (56% for the year) and things haven’t gone well since that opening game. I wouldn’t bet on Darnold beating out that competition of teams going for the wildcard 6th seed.
I look forward to eliminating more teams as the season goes on. What do you guys think?