A trend has developed within the NFL playoffs, one where about half the teams qualifying for the postseason tournament weren't there the previous year. Last year, exactly 50% of the teams were new, and this upcoming season, the same turnover can be expected.
With that thought in mind, the Phinsider community has determined which six playoff teams from last year are the least likely to make it back in 2012.
Before we go on, let's look at the 12 teams that were in the 2011 playoff bracket. First, the AFC:
- New England Patriots
- Baltimore Ravens
- Houston Texans
- Denver Broncos
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Cincinnati Bengals
As for the NFC, the teams from 2011 were:
- Green Back Packers
- San Francisco 49ers
- New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants
- Atlanta Falcons
- Detroit Lions
extremely scientific method of posting a poll at the end of a story, and letting the readers of that story pick the team they thought most likely to miss the playoffs in 2012, the Phinsider Community believes the Bengals (47% of the vote) are the most likely team from the AFC to miss the playoffs, with Denver (25%) and the Steelers (9%) also missing out. That means the top three seeds from 2011 are all most likely to make it into the postseason again next year.
As for the NFC, New Orleans' suspension and distraction filled offseason obviously led to them receiving the largest chunk of the vote, with 46% of the participants believing they would miss out in 2012. The NFL also has the Falcons (24%) and the Lions (16%) not making the cut.
Interestingly, only 1% of the vote thought the 2011 top seed Packers would miss the playoffs, the smallest number of votes for any of the 12 teams in the polls. The Super Bowl champion New York Giants received 6% of the vote, coming in third in the NFC, with the 49ers sandwiched between the two at 4%.
The vote also seems to point to either the Carolina Panthers or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rebounding in the NFC South to take the division title, with both the Saints and the Falcons being teams likely to miss the playoffs in 2012.
Do you think the community got it right? Or will someone else miss the playoffs - and who would you put back in?
Later this week, we will take a look at the 10 teams from each conference who did not make the 2011 playoffs, and vote for which of those teams will most likely make the playoffs at the end of the upcoming season. Then we will just have to wait until January to see if we were anywhere close to the actual tournament qualifiers.