3 of the 6 NFC teams will be new, including the now-clinched Lions and 49ers who have missed 11 and 8 straight seasons respectively.
This season will feature the first postseason games as head coach for Jim Harbugh, Jim Schwartz, and Gary Kubiak. If the Raiders win and the Broncos lose, it will feature Hue Jackson in his first postseason game as head coach. It would be bittersweet, as Al Davis passed away earlier this season, having not seen his team make the postseason since 2002.
If the Broncos win, it will feature John Fox in his first playoff game – in his first season – with the Broncos.
The 2011 postseason will be the first without the Colts since 2002. If the postseason started today, it would be the first postseason without the Jets or Chargers since 2005.
If the Ravens win, it will feature the first home playoff game for John Harbaugh.
This tentative playoff field features Super Bowl winners Mike Tomlin, Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, and Mike McCarthy with the respective teams they won Super Bowls with.
If the postseason started today, it would likely feature two rookie quarterbacks – T. J. Yates and Andy Dalton – and Tim Tebow, who has never started a season as the starting quarterback for a team. If the Raiders get in, Carson Palmer will be starting his 10th game as a Raider, probably all without Darren McFadden. Palmer has yet to win a postseason game.
Long shot: To achieve a playoff berth, the Titans will need the Ravens to beat Cincinnati and the Jets to beat the Dolphins in Week 17. They will also need the Chargers to beat the Raiders. That way the Broncos are the AFC West Champion and the Titans are the sixth seed.
Four 7-8 teams lost their way out of the race, including the Cardinals in dramatic fashion with the Early Doucet stumble. The 6-9 Chiefs were also eliminated by their loss.
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