Bizarre NFL Playoff Scenario: Four First-Round Rematches?
What's really bizarre is that, if things break the right way this Sunday, all four first-round playoff games could be rematches of Week 17 regular-season games. The four first-round games could conceivably be Cardinals-Packers, Eagles-Cowboys, Bengals-Jets and Patriots-Texans, all of which are Week 17 matchups. That, we can say with confidence, has never happened before. But here's what has to take place Sunday to bring this weirdness about:
-Cowboys beat Eagles
-Chiefs beat Broncos
-Raiders beat Ravens
-Vikings beat Giants
-Jets beat Bengals
-Texans beat Patriots
Can it all happen? Well, some of those results are obviously more likely than others. And the Vikings botched a lot of this up by losing to the Bears on Monday night and allowing the Eagles (and the Cardinals, actually!) back into the race for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. If the Eagles beat the Cowboys, they get the bye and Minnesota has to play in the first round.
Nobody's going to run out and bet the Chiefs to beat the Broncos or the Raiders to knock off the win-and-they're-in Ravens. But that second game is in Oakland and the Raiders are 2-1 against the AFC North this year, having beaten the Steelers and Bengals.
Basically, these are six not-impossible results that could lead to all four first-week playoff games being rematches of games that just happened the weekend before. I have no idea whether that's good or bad or points up any kind of flaw in the system. All I know for sure is, in the season of weird possible playoff scenarios, this has to rank as one of the weirdest.