The Kansas City Chiefs get this year’s only AFC playoff bye. Here’s how the rest of the playoff field ranks.
For 2020, the NFL playoffs look a little different. Instead of six playoff teams in each conference, there are now seven. This means that only one team in each conference gets a first-round playoff bye and the Kansas City Chiefs were the lucky winners in that department. Thankfully, though, that means there will be two more playoff games for fans to watch in round one.
After going a franchise-best 14-2, the Chiefs earned a first-round bye and get to advance straight to the divisional round. While the other six AFC playoff teams battle it out this coming weekend, Kansas City gets to watch their potential opponent for the following weekend. Six teams will play but only three will advance.
Here’s how the AFC playoff teams rank headed into postseason play.
7. Cleveland Browns
The Kevin Stefanski hire in Cleveland appears to be the right move for the Browns. After spending just over a decade with the Vikings, it was finally Stefanski’s time to get a head coaching gig. The offensive-minded coach looks to have made some incredible strides in his first year in Cleveland, getting the Browns to their first postseason play since 2002. Armed with a talented roster, he’s made the most of his first year as a head coach.
One of the big reasons for Cleveland’s success this year has been their dominant run game. The combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt has shown that they can be a deadly duo when given the opportunity. While Baker Mayfield has yet to really become one of the league’s premier quarterbacks, he has shown the talent and swagger to make things happen. Their defense, led by Myles Garrett, has also done just enough to help get them to an 11-5 record.
Out of the six first-round playoff teams, the Browns might be the most inconsistent. It has seemed as though they would look dominant one week and the opposite the next. That’s the main reason why they fall to the last spot on this list. Also, for a team that hasn’t seen the playoffs in nearly two decades, the chances of them advancing like a regular playoff contender become less.
They’ll square off against their division rival Steelers this coming weekend for the third time this season. While the Browns did clinch a playoff spot with a 24-22 win over the Steelers on Sunday, Pittsburgh was resting some starters.
The Browns were dominated, though, by the Steelers 38-7 earlier in the season. It also won’t help that Cleveland’s head coach now won’t be on the sideline after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.