For the 13th consecutive season, five or more teams will qualify for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before. Arizona, Atlanta and Carolina did not make the playoffs last year but have done so this season.
This Sunday, that number will jump to four teams with either Minnesota or Chicago winning the NFC North. The fifth (and potentially sixth) team will come from the pool of Baltimore, Miami and the New York Jets, who are competing with New England (2007 AFC East champion) for two AFC playoff berths. The number can jump to as high as eight if Denver emerges as the AFC West champion and Philadelphia or Chicago takes the final NFC wild card spot.
The teams since 1996 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:
PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)