The Cardinals’ win through Hell Mary Sunday did not thrill NFL viewers. It also rocked the NFC playoff race for the 2020 season. When the dust settled, the Cardinals were atop the NFC West and topped the Packers Conference.
We are basing our weekly playoff picture analysis on a 14-team field. NFL owners approved a contingency plan for the 16-team field last week should the regular season be reduced by COVID-19. But the plan is subject to approval by the NFL Players Association, and the terms of its trigger – how many games will need to be canceled to be implemented – have not been publicized. We will use ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) to help project the coming weeks, with our general disclaimer: There is a long way to go. Let’s start with the lone undefeated team in the NFL.
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FPIs likely to make the playoffs: 99.9%
Chances of winning the FPI division: 83.7%
The Steelers were the first NFL team to win nine and now own a complete game lead over the majors for the top spot in the conference. You know when you can remember your starting quarterback week of practice, Ben Roethlisberger did because of the COVID-19 protocol, and still carries 333 passing yards and four touchdown passes.
The Steelers would end their season with a very long schedule, with a lot of great games against the Jaguars and Bengals and then four bouts against strong Postson contenders (the Revens, Bills, Colts and Browns).
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