The NFL playoffs expanded to include seven teams in each conference. Everyone was so used to the twelve-team playoffs system. Now, football fans need to get used to the fourteen-team format. The updated playoff system allows for a scenario that was once impossible.
NFL reporting and sports betting will also change as a result of this. Fans, reporters, and oddsmakers have to take this unlikely possibility into account.
Before the fourteen-team playoff system, it was impossible for an entire division to advance to the postseason. In an unusual scenario, you could see up to three teams from the same division make it with very low odds. Now, the possibility exists for an entire division of teams to make their conference playoffs.
Does this sound too good to be true? Does this sound like some fantasy that no sports journalist in his or her right mind would discuss? Well here’s a shocker, it’s not a fantasy at all! This could happen in the NFL playoffs. Hold on a few seconds before doubting the scenario. This probably sounds far-fetched and ridiculous right now. Just look at this seemingly unreal playoff picture before saying “There’s absolutely no way”. There is a way this can happen. If you don’t that’s possible, then fear not for there is a way.
A Madden 21 simulation via an offline league proves that this can be done. You have to be thinking how in the world is this possible. Perhaps you’re laughing it off right now. This isn’t a laughing matter. This isn’t some silly joke. The possibility is real. It’s just such a low probability but it’s still worth thinking and talking about. The probability is likely lower than ten percent.
In this simulation, four teams from the same AFC division advanced to the playoffs. This wasn’t the case for any NFC division. However, the possibility exists for both conferences. The four teams that advanced to the AFC Wild Card were the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The entire AFC North made the Wild Card! How awesome is that? The Ravens ended the 2020 season as the AFC North Champions at 11-5. The Cleveland Browns finished second place with a 10-6 record with a 4-2 division record. The Bengals were also 10-6 and finished third place. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their last game against the Browns by a rather shocking score of 41-13 and finished fourth place with a 9-7 record.
Here are the final AFC Standings in this simulation:
Indianapolis Colts 13-3
Kansas City Chiefs 12-4
Baltimore Ravens 11-5
Cleveland Browns 10-6
Cincinnati Bengals 10-6
New England Patriots 9-7
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7