The 2022 NFL Playoffs get underway in mid-January, and we have a ways to go before the playoff field is settled. Teams will start to clinch playoff berths in December, but the full field won’t be settled until January. However, before then we’ll get a better handle on who is NOT going to be playing in the NFL’s postseason tournament.
Some teams were not expected to contend from day one, while others are going to be rather surprising. We’ll be updating this list over the coming weeks. Each team will include an explanation of how the team was eliminated and what went wrong, resulting in their elimination. Reminder that with an expanded playoff, this list will include 18 teams by the time the season comes to an end.
Houston Texans, 2-10
What went wrong: Everything. It started with DeShaun Watson wanting out and nothing has gone right since. You could argue it really started with the DeAndre Hopkins trade, but regardless, it was a mess this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-11
How eliminated: Loss to the Titans in Week 14.
What went wrong: Just about everything. Urban Meyer has been a complete disaster and there is a chance he doesn’t make it to year two. Trevor Lawrence impressed at times and should be fine, but it’s not going to happen with Meyer in charge.
New York Jets, 3-10
How eliminated: Loss to the Saints in Week 14.
What went wrong: The team invested a high pick in Zach Wilson and he struggled with consistency and health. The defense showed some signs of life, but the Jets have a long way to go.
Detroit Lions, 1-10-1
How eliminated: Wins by the Falcons and Saints in Week 14
What went wrong: Detroit clearly moved into a rebuilding plan when they traded away Matthew Stafford. Head coach Dan Campbell has provided some reasons for optimism moving forward, but they need a considerable upgrade on both sides of the ball. They are currently on track for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Chicago Bears, 4-10
How eliminated: Loss to the Vikings in Week 15
What went wrong: Matt Nagy is proving to be a problem at head coach. The innovative play-caller has not been able to get much of anything going with the offense this season. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields has shown signs of being the QB of the future, but the Bears will likely need a new coach to take things to a contending level.
New York Giants, 4-11
How eliminated: Loss to the Eagles in Week 16
What went wrong: Daniel Jones had his moments, but he had no offensive line help and ended up getting lost to injury. The defense has issues, but the offensive line has to be a focus this offseason. Joe Judge is expected back in 2022, but it’s hard for Giants fans to get too excited about him at this point.
Carolina Panthers, 5-10
How eliminated: Loss to the Buccaneers in Week 16
What went wrong: The sheen has worn off Matt Rhule and the team’s Week 16 loss to Tampa had the boo birds calling for his job. The team has never recovered since previously unloading Cam Newton. They brought him back after also investing draft capital to acquire Sam Darnold but none of that has worked. Losing Christian McCaffrey to injury didn’t help either. The lone bright spot was a decent defense.
Seattle Seahawks, 5-10
How eliminated: Loss to the Bears in Week 16
What went wrong: Things fell apart in a hurry on both sides in spite of having Russell Wilson still playing impressive football. The offensive line struggled, the defense was is a shell of the Legion of Boom days, and injuries piled up. Pete Carroll didn’t have the magic touch and the team could soon enter a rebuilding period.
How eliminated: Loss to the Bills in Week 17
What went wrong: After a rough start to the season, the Falcons started to get into a groove under Arthur Smith. Unfortunately, there were too many absences and injuries down the stretch which led to losses. Atlanta will look to bounce back next season.
How eliminated: Loss to the Eagles in Week 17
What went wrong: Washington had started to find an identity but ultimately the COVID outbreak and personnel losses on defense took their toll on the team. The quarterback situation needs to be resolved at some point as well for this team, so that will be the focus of the offseason.
How eliminated: Loss to the Chargers in Week 17
What went wrong: Even if Teddy Bridgewater didn’t get hurt, the Broncos were trending in the wrong direction for a while. A loss to the Chargers has sent the franchise into the offseason with a lot of questions, including the future of head coach Vic Fangio.
How eliminated: Loss to the Titans in Week 17 plus Chargers winning
What went wrong: The Dolphins controlled their own fate for a while, but the loss put them in a tough spot with the Chargers winning. Ultimately, the Dolphins will feel this was a decent season and will likely not make many wholesale changes for next year. Tua Tagovailoa’s injury loomed large for this team.
How eliminated: Chargers won in Week 17
What went wrong: The Browns were counting on the Broncos to keep them mathematically alive for the postseason. The future of Baker Mayfield will be the big question now, as the quarterback struggled while also battling some injuries. Cleveland’s roster is good enough to win with better quarterback play, so Mayfield will face a lot of scrutiny over the summer.
Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
What went wrong: The Vikings were ultimately undone by a series of close losses over the course of the season, even if a lot of people will point to Kirk Cousins’ unvaccinated status as the final nail in the coffin. Minnesota’s defense has taken a nosedive in the last few seasons, which is a bad look when defensive guru Mike Zimmer is the head coach.
Indianapolis Colts (9-8)
How eliminated: Loss to Jaguars, win by Steelers
What went wrong: The Colts controlled their own fate and simply dropped the ball against a bad Jacksonville team. There will be some questions about the team’s ability to close out games, as they lost to both the Raiders and Jaguars in tough fashion to end the season
Baltimore Ravens (8-9)
How eliminated: Loss to Steelers
What went wrong: There were simply too many injuries for the Ravens to overcome, with Lamar Jackson’s absence being the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Baltimore was still miraculously in playoff contention, which tells you how good this team can be when fully healthy.
New Orleans Saints (9-8)
How eliminated: Win by 49ers in Week 18
What went wrong: There were simply too many big injuries at key times and not enough offensive firepower for New Orleans. The Saints could’ve made the playoffs if the 49ers lost in Week 18, so there’s enough of a foundation for this team to be competitive next year. This defense in particular is legitimate and capable of carrying the team.
Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)
How eliminated: Loss to the Raiders in Week 18
What went wrong: The Chargers simply didn’t make the key plays when they needed to, and Brandon Staley’s fourth down decisions ultimately did cost the team. Los Angeles could’ve won the game against the Raiders, but they really will be kicking themselves about losing to the Broncos and Texans during the regular season.
Las Vegas Raiders (10-8)
How eliminated: Lost to Bengals 26-19 in Wild Card game.
What went wrong: The Raiders ran off four straight to claim a playoff berth in Week 18. They struggled much of their playoff matchup with the Bengals but still had a shot late. They made some bad decisions on the final drive and came up short.
New England Patriots (10-8)
How eliminated: Lost to Bills 47-17 in Wild Card game.
What went wrong: The Patriots impressed with rookie Mac Jones during the regular season, but it went south in a hurry in Buffalo. Josh Allen and the Bills offense was just about perfect against the Patriots fourth-ranked defense and Mac Jones never had a chance to keep his squad in it.
Philadelphia Eagles (9-9)
How eliminated: Lost to Bucs 31-15 in Wild Card game.
What went wrong: Jalen Hurts had solid moments this season, but he and the Eagles offense couldn’t get much of anything going until late in the fourth quarter. Hurts has likely earned a chance to lead things in 2022, but it will be interesting to see if the Eagles add some competition that’s better than Gardner Minshew.