Which 2011 NFC loser will make the playoffs in 2012?

Since 1999, 48 teams went from a losing record one year, to making the playoffs the following year.  Here’s that list of teams.  The 2008 Dolphins are Exhibit A of how unpredictive the NFL is, going from 1-15 to 11-5.

If my NFC Obituary/Hierarchy post of a few days ago were to be taken as season predictions (it shouldn’t, by the way), I’d have a couple 8-8 teams (Eagles, Bears) right in the mix for the playoffs, but no teams that were 7-9 or worse.  If history holds true, there are going to be at least one, maybe two, that make it.  Last year, however, there were only 6 teams in the NFC that had losing records last year.  Here they are, in order from worst 2011 record to least bad:

I think strong cases can be made for the Panthers (love their rushing attack) and Seahawks (love their D and genuine home field advantage).  I’m also sure my Redskins readers have compelling cases of their own for their team. Personally, I don’t see any of these teams making the playoffs, but it’ll probably happen.  So…  Who ya got?  Which team is hiding their beauty behind glasses and a ponytail?


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  7. Trueblue63 says:

    I’m saying Hawks

    SF was a turnaround job itself, they might take a step backward this year. They are going to get a bunch more attention, and their relative good health on defense (did they lose any significant time to starters on D last year) might just evaporate.

    Hawks D and Carroll’s ability to patch the O together

    On Panthers – they had 2 wins in spite of the Cam-sanity. Then they beat the Colts who didn’t field a QB, the Bucs twice (who quit), and the Texans while they were breaking in Yates and after they locked in their playoff slot. That 6-10 is a mirage to me, just waiting to get popped. They’re getting better, but this is a show me season for them, let’s see what they do when people expect them to win.

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  20. WeGotLinemen says:

    With the way the NFL is now, it could be anyone of those teams. The margin between good and bad teams is wafer-thin. Anyone of those teams could become serious play-off contenders or, just as easily be challenging for the worst record in the league. Much of it will depend who get’s lucky with injuries and who doesn’t.

    The Giants, Eagles and Cowboys should all be contenders but only if they keep their starting QB’s healthy. If they don’t they’ll fall back into the midfield dog-fight.

  21. WeGotLinemen says:

    I love the way Cam Newton plays, with a smile. If he has a great career it will become iconic, much in the same way that Jim Brown’s contempories always talk about the way he got up slowly, never showing pain or tiredness, after each play.

    Cam smiles, even when he gets absolutely smashed by a linebacker. Plus his game is just fun to watch. However, I fear he may have a short career. He runs like Bobby Douglass. Even Steve Young tried to make tacklers miss, Cam Newton just can’t seem to stop himself from going for those extra few yards after contact. He is going to take a hell of a lot of punishment, running back levels of punishment.

  22. Tracer Bullet says:

    Panthers. When in doubt, go with the best QB.

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  24. rage114 says:

    Seahawks. They have a good defense and it will only be better this year. Plenty of examples of teams winning with this formula.

    Additionally, they are still in the NFC West. I can see them going 4-2 in the division. That leaves 10 non-division games (5 home, 5 away). Without looking at their schedule, I can see them going 4-1 at home and 2-3 in those games. That is 6-4 or 10-6 total.

  25. Euler.is.a.pimp says:

    Panthers, Bucs, and maybe the Skins could show some really big improvement and still be blocked by tough divisions.

    The Vikings and Rams will still be terrible. The Vikings will be terrible and in a division with 3 playoff worthy teams.

    The Seahawks have a really nice defense which got better this offseason. They may have a nice upgrade at qb, and I still don’t trust Alex Smith.

  26. ubrab says:

    Seahawks, if one QB emerge to be at least above average, can be very good. They have good young receivers, a solid RB, a very good emerging defense. Panthers are still in a very tough division, Bucs will bounce back (in Freeman I trust), Saints still have Brees, Falcons will be contenders one more year… I’ll give an edge to the Hawks.

  27. Patrick says:

    I believe in CAMMMMM

  28. Jonzee says:

    Anything can happen in the dump that is the NFC West.

  29. Jason-E says:


    How can you not see the Panthers as a playoff possibility? Their offense should be dynamite and they’ve legitametly gotten better on D. Plus, the division. The Bucs suck, the Falcons suck, and who knows how good the Saints are going to be with everything that is going on with them. I see the Panthers as having a realistic chance for the division or a wildcard.

    1. Anders says:

      Panthers most likely way to the playoffs is with a division win, because the wildcard will most likely be between the Bears, Lions, Eagles, Giants, Cowboys (If the Cowboys are healthy they have legimate chance for the a wildcard), Saints and Falcons.

      I see the Packers as a run away with there division, and I have no clue what to make of the Niners.

  30. KJ Brophy says:

    I went with Panthers it won’t surprise me if they win the South.

  31. Nick C says:

    There’s nothing wrong with glasses and a ponytail…

  32. ArthuroMolenda says:

    I say Panthers. I’d want to say Seahawks but I have no idea what their offense will look like.

    What I know it that I cannot wait to watch the two 49ers – Seahawks matchups. Angry and talented defenses in a divisional title battle ? Bring it on !

  33. Immynimmy says:

    Seawhawks over Panthers because of the respective divisions that they are in.

    1. deg0ey says:

      I’d say Panthers over Seahawks for the same reason. Both teams will be the second best in their division next season, but if the Saints struggle to deal with their suspension issues then they could give the Panthers a chance to sneak ahead and take the division. That’s the only circumstance where I see any of these teams making the playoffs next season.

      1. norman says:

        Was coming to comments to say te same thing. I got the panthers. Saints coming a step back and I don’t trust Atlanta at all.

  34. Anders says:

    I think the Seahawks will be really scary because of that defense.

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