NFL

Four NFL Playoff Teams Who Won’t Return To The Playoffs Next Year

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In the National Football League, it’s all about what have you done for me lately, while displaying a model of consistency.

The following four teams have just made the playoffs, while one of the teams is still awaiting their divisional round matchup.

Having said that, these teams are setup to show a lack of consistency because making the playoffs next year will be an uphill battle for various reasons.

Let’s see why.

Washington Redskins – Considering how weak the NFC East is, the Redskins will obviously have a real shot of being right back in the playoffs next year.

However, history tells us it’s very unlikely for the ‘Skins to reach the postseason back-to-back seasons.

The last year Washington pulled off this feat was all the way back in 1992. Yes, 24 years ago.

After Kirk Cousins surprising year, the Michigan State product is likely to receive a big payday here in the coming weeks, but the jury is still out.

How many times have we seen a quarterback have one great season and not do much after that?

Opposing teams will have plenty film on Cousins moving forward, so it’ll be interesting to see how he adjust and also, if healthy the Dallas Cowboys will be the favorite to win the NFC East.

Minnesota Vikings – Let’s be honest for a second, who had the Vikings making the playoffs back in August?

Exactly, very few people did to say the least.

To their credit, Mike Zimmer’s ball club stayed true to their identity, which was running the football and playing very stingy defense.

With that being said, Adrian Peterson will be turning 31-years old this spring.

This past season, Peterson carried the ball 327 times, which led the league by a wide margin. If the Vikings want to make sure their future Hall of Fame running back stays fresh, they’ll have to trust Teddy Bridgewater’s arm a lot more going forward.

The only negative here is that Bridgewater hasn’t shown the ability to air it out at this level thus far. Sure, the former Louisville product showed off his arm at the collegiate level, but this is a totally different ball game.

“It’s just time to take that extra step, and I’m going to come back next year with the same intensity, the same focus and be even better — just being more aggressive,” Bridgewater stressed.

Taking that extra step is exactly what you need to do because let’s not forget, Jordy Nelson will be back in Green Bay.

Denver Broncos – Whether or not Peyton Manning comes back, it’s clear the AFC West is catching up with Denver.

If not for Kansas City’s 1-5 start, Denver would’ve been seeing themselves as a wildcard team.

Solely based on performance this season, Manning should see the end is here and just hang up the cleats. During his 10 games, Manning finished with a woeful touchdown to interception ratio of 9:17 to go along with a quarterback rating of 67.9.

Assuming Peyton does retire, it’ll officially be Brock Osweiler’s team and while he showed flashes of his potential in Manning’s absence, it’ll be a totally different ball game being asked to lead this team for a full 16-game slate.

Not only isn’t Kansas City going anywhere, the Oakland Raiders should make a real playoff push next year.

Houston Texans – After getting beat down 30-0 to Kansas City, some felt they shouldn’t have been in the playoffs this year.

To be fair, Houston benefitted from a broken down AFC South division.

First of all, the heavy favorite Indianapolis Colts were without their franchise quarterback Andrew Luck for majority of the season.

Secondly, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars are two teams with young quarterbacks trying to figure things out.

The Texans relied heavily on their defense to make the playoffs and they got just enough from their offense to win some games towards the end of the season.

Nonetheless, this franchise desperately needs a quarterback because Brian Hoyer simply isn’t the answer going forward. I mean, the guy threw four picks against the Chiefs in the wildcard game.

With Luck, Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles all in the division, Houston will be in trouble for years to come if they don’t solve their problem under center.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.