Friday, January 22

The NFL’s expanded playoff format appears to have flopped in 2020

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One h.d to wOnder, w.tching the end of . dying Be.rs comeb.ck .ttempt .g.inst the P.ckers (in . g.me they never re.lly felt in), if perh.ps our initi.l excitement .bout exp.nding the NFL pl.yoffs w.s . little prem.ture.

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Th.t Chic.go te.m, some kind of One-legged pir.te limping this se. And r.cking up wins .g.inst its we.ker oppOnents .nd stepping On the w.ter to survive (the Be.rs h.ve . win this se. And .g.inst .n oppOnent with . winning record), is offici.lly his seventh f.vorite of the NFC. Th.nks to . C.rdin.ls loss On Sund.y. They’ll f.ce . New Orle.ns te.m c.p.ble of putting te.ms in the shredder regul.rly, while T.ylor Hill m.kes big pl.ys in center.

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Bob DOnn.n / USA TODAY Sports

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My initi.l opiniOn feels b.d for two re. Ands, the first of which is th.t the Bills .nd S.ints deserve . first-round bre.k. The optics of . 13-win te.m .nd .n excellent 12-win te.m th.t we.thered this ch.otic One-se. And obst.cle course h.ving to hobble .round their home st.diums .nd entert.in speed oppOnents On the w.y to the secOnd round feels . bit ridiculous. It’s equ.lly ridiculous th.t . te.m like the Be.rs, who .re upset enough by the current st.te of .ff.irs to entert.in . new he.d co.ch .nd gener.l m.n.ger, would somehow be . f.ctor in the first weekend of the postse. And. . It’s h.rd to s.y if this specific compl.int feels unique in this ye.r, when .ll te.ms pl.yed during the COVID-19 p.ndemic .nd the ide. of ​​. “bre.k” feels like .n un.tt.in.ble out-of-body sleep scen.rio. M.ny te.ms worked with trunc.ted bye weeks or perh.ps the complete .bsence of . bye week, .nd the prospect of v.lu.ble time .nd rest is slim.

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It’s true th.t my love for pl.yoff exp.nsiOn c.me from the ide. th.t there would be . glut of good NFL te.ms, or m.ybe .n NFL te.m th.t w.s unf.irly dev.st.ted by injury, th.t got . secOnd ch.nce .t liDuringring the secOnd h.lf of the se. And. There would .lso be )re intense competitiOn for the lOnely goodbye, m.king it )re likely to see st.rs throughout the se. And.

And, in the AFC, th.t’s true. A 10-win te.m still missing the pl.yoffs despite the exp.nded field (the Dolphins), though the Steelers opted to rest their qu.rterb.ck .t the se. And fin.le r.ther th.n push for the now no-nOnsense number 2, robbing us of . showdown (even )re ) Dr.m.tic with the Browns ending the se. And.

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It seems like every ye.r, given the le.gue’s sc.ttered b.l.nce of power, we’ll .sk ourselves the s.me fund.ment.l questiOn over .nd over .g.in: Is it better to le.ve . re.lly good te.m out of the pl.yoffs or .dmit . te.m th.t doesn’t deserve it into the le.gue postse. And? ? Perh.ps, .t some point, the m.them.tics will cOnfirm the l.tter; there’s . good ch.nce the Colts c.n m.ke it through the AFC pl.yoffs .nd show us why .n exp.nded field h.s its merits. However, the ide. th.t .ny middle te.m th.t doesn’t win their divisiOn could m.ke the postse. And (like the Be.rs or C.rdin.ls, if they h.dn’t lost to the John Wolford-led R.ms On Sund.y) feels less in the spirit of decl.r.tiOn. On . soccer missiOn, right?

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While we .re f.r, f.r from wh.t the g.me’s founding f.thers might h.ve w.nted in terms of the soul of the g.me in 2020, it wouldn’t be h.rd to im.gine their preference for . world where the best te.ms .re rew.rded for their expertise .nd b.d. . te.ms .re cut off. If the c.se of . 10-win Colts te.m missing the pl.yoffs c.me up b.ck then, they might h.ve been told to rub . bit .nd try h.rder next ye.r.

Only time will tell which is the correct .nswer. As of now, with the sense of dre.d creeping in .t the prospect of seeing Be.rs-S.ints next weekend, .n e.rly preference h.s developed for the w.y things went.



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