The 2022 NFL season has reached its apex and the playoffs are now well underway. Some favorites are making their presences felt, while some underdogs have stunned their more illustrious rivals. And we are only one round in.
The Los Angeles Chargers suffered a stunning loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field in Florida. The visitors led by as much as 27 points at one point however, the hosts came roaring back to win 31-30 and seal a meeting against the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round.
Amongst the tough showdown of the NFL, online bookmaker Bodog, which accepts placement of both NFL and NHL bets online, has made Patrick Mahomes’ side the favorites to lift the Lombardi Trophy this season. As such, many are expecting that the Jaguars will struggle on the road against the number one seed in the AFC.
Elsewhere, there were narrow victories for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills. They beat the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins respectively, and now that pair will face off for a spot in the Conference Championship game.
In the NFC, the New York Giants stunned the 13-4 Minnesota Vikings away from home. They defeated the NFC North winners 31-24, picking up their first postseason victory since they defeated the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLVI 11 years ago. They will now face off with the top seed in the conference, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Dallas Cowboys will face off with the San Francisco 49ers on the other half of the draw after they beat Tom Brady’s Tempa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks respectively.
As we eluded to, the New York Giants finally ended their 11-year post-season victory drought. Just by reaching the postseason, the Giants ended six years of hurt without an appearance in the playoffs. But the NFL playoff drought has been even crueler to several other teams in recent years
The current leaders in this dubious club are the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons, each having gone without a playoff appearance for at least five seasons. Let’s take a look at how these teams have fared recently, and why their droughts have been so unkind.
New York Jets
The New York Jets are the longest-suffering of the bunch, having last seen a postseason game back in 2010. They had finished the regular season strong with an 11-5 record, and while they put up a valiant effort against the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first-round AFC Wild Card game, they ended up losing 24-19. Since then, quarterback woes have beset the team, and they have yet to have back-to-back winning seasons since their 2010 playoff season.
The Detroit Lions are not far behind, with their last playoff appearance coming in 2017. That season, they finished with an impressive 9-7 record, which secured them a place in the playoffs as runners-up to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. In the postseason however, they were defeated in the wildcard round when they lost to eh number three seed Seattle SeahawksAlthough their record the following year was only 6-10, it has certainly not been for lack of trying. Since then, the Lions have made multiple aggressive moves in the offseason, including trading for wide receiver Marvin Jones – who left for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 – and drafting tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first round of the 2019 draft.
The Denver Broncos have been in a state of flux since their last playoff appearance at Super Bowl 50 when they were defeated by the Carolina Panthers. They have since gone through three different head coaches and five different starting quarterbacks, and despite some promising rookie seasons for the latter, none have been able to lead the Broncos back to the postseason. Their postseason drought currently sits at five seasons.
Speaking of the Panthers, they too have performed similarly in the years since their last playoff appearance in 2018, having gone through three coaches thus far. However, they have been able to point the finger at injuries suffered by their star quarterback Cam Newton. Super Cam left the franchise in 2021, and the Panthers’ most recent QB, Baker Mayfield, hasn’t fared much better.
The former University of Oklahoma standout was cut by the franchise in December after leading them to a poor record this season
Finally, the Atlanta Falcons have been one of the more consistent teams since their last playoff appearance in 2018, having finished last season with a record of seven wins and 11 losses. The Falcons have managed to stay in contention despite their recent drought, but they will need to continue to add talent if they are to make the playoffs in the upcoming offseason if they wish to snap their unwanted streak at five.