clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Saints Could Miss the Playoffs in 2014

Every year since 1990, there have been at least four teams that made the National Football League playoffs a year after missing them. This means that four or more playoffs teams from 2013 will not make the tournament in 2014. Could the Saints be among them?

Champ Bailey (27) thinks the title of my piece is funny.
Champ Bailey (27) thinks the title of my piece is funny.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

There's an interesting saying about the abbreviation NFL meaning "Not For Long." This originated mostly from the fact that the average career of a National Football League player is usually pretty short (3.3 years, according to statistics website statista.com).

What is also "Not For Long" in the NFL is a team's consistency when it comes to being in contention year in and year out, and more importantly, participating in the playoffs in consecutive years.

Since 1990, the year the NFL went from ten to twelve teams in the playoffs, there have been no less than four (and as high as eight) new playoffs teams the following year. This means that every year since 1990, at least a third of the teams that made the postseason had failed to qualify to year prior. That obviously also means that at least a third of the teams that were in the playoffs the year prior did not make the tournament the following year.

Here are the numbers:

SEASON

PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON'S PLAYOFFS

1990

7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)

1991

5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)

1992

6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)

1993

5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)

1994

5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)

1995

4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)

1996

5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)

1997

5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)

1998

5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)

1999

7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2000

6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)

2001

6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)

2002

5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)

2003

8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)

2004

5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)

2005

7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)

2006

7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)

2007

6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2008

7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)

2009

6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)

2010

5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)

2011

6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)

2012

4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)

2013

5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)

***

As you can see, five times since 1990, the New Orleans Saints made the playoffs one year after not making it to the postseason. However, several times as well, the Saints missed the playoffs a year after qualifying. One such instance was in 2006, when they went all the way to the NFC Championship Game in Chicago, then missed the playoffs in 2007 and 2008. A more recent memory is the abysmal 2012 season, in which New Orleans failed to get to even post a winning record, going 7-9 after winning 13 games in 2011 and playing in the divisional round of the playoffs against the 49ers in San Francisco.

In both of these most recent cases (2006 and 2011), the Saints were widely expected to make the playoffs the following year. This is the culture we live in: a team that performed well in a given year is almost always expected to do well the following year, while teams that struggled are overlooked.

So what is going to happen in 2014? First let's take a look at the teams that made the playoffs in 2013:

***

2013 NFL Playoffs Field

Seed

AFC

NFC

1

Broncos

Seahawks

2

Patriots

Panthers

3

Bengals

Eagles

4

Colts

Packers

5

Chiefs

Niners

6

Chargers

Saints

***

This is where the fun begins. If history has taught us anything, four to five of these 12 teams will miss the playoffs this upcoming season and a few of them could be surprises. So what teams are going to be watching the playoffs on TV along with you and me in January after playing in the postseason last year? Here are my predictions, based on offseason dealings, acquisitions/departures, injuries and some strong, analytical, DVOA-like hunches.

***

Playoffs teams to miss the 2014 postseason in the AFC:

Without going into tedious intricate details, here are my picks:

Ø  Bengals: Cincinnati won the AFC North last year, but I simply have so very little faith in Andy Dalton. Despite a strong defense, I think the Ravens and Steelers will get back to a better level of playing and kick the Bengals out of the playoffs.

Ø  Chargers: San Diego can't win the AFC West, because they can't beat the Broncos. And this year, without any significant improvements, they won't get that second wild card the way they did last year.

***

Playoffs teams to miss the 2014 postseason in the NFC:

Ø  Panthers: Yup, I said it; the "Fighting Cam Newtons" after winning the NFC South, will finish third in the division behind the Saints and the Falcons and will sit the 2014 postseason out.

Ø  Eagles: This is the year Tony Romo gets the Cowboys back into the playoffs by winning the NFC East, while the two Wild Card berths will come from the NFC West and NFC South. Sorry Iggles.

Ø  Niners: Colin Kaepernick got paid and is expected to now deliver more than an NFC Championship ring. Talk about high, heavy expectations. The Niners will stumble to third in the NFC West this year.

***

I can hear your sigh of relief Saints fans. Yes, your Black and Gold will make the playoffs for the second year in a row and they might actually make it as the number one seed in the NFC. I wouldn't be surprised however, if the Falcons rebound spectacularly and win the division over a slightly overconfident New Orleans.

Oh wait so now you also want a prediction of who is going to make the playoffs and replace these four teams that will be eliminated? Very well, I am here to serve you, so here is my "way too early" playoffs field for 2014.

***

JR's Way-Too-Early 2014 Playoffs Field

Seed

AFC

NFC

1

Broncos

Saints

2

Patriots

Seahawks

3

Colts

Packers

4

Ravens

Cowboys

5

Chiefs

Falcons

6

Dolphins

Cardinals

***

What do you all think? Where did I get it right? Where did I whiff?