Recent, unheralded teams like Washington have done damage in the playoffs

Peter Hailey
·2 min read

Recent teams like Washington have done damage in the playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington's 7-9 record would suggest that their playoff run will be more of a playoff step. Even the Bears are getting more respect than the Burgundy and Gold. The Bears!

However, recent history reveals that perhaps the Football Team will remain relevant longer than most are expecting.

Since 2008, four franchises have qualified for the postseason at 8-8 or worse — and all four won their first contest.

Even more encouraging, Ron Rivera's 2014 Panthers — who were 7-8-1 — were the latest ones to pull it off, as they defeated the Cardinals (who, to be fair, were on a third-string QB) before bowing out in the next round. 

The 2011 Broncos, an 8-8 outfit, the 2010 Seahawks, a 7-9 collection, and the 2008 Chargers, also 8-8 (and led on defense by, yep, Rivera), all scored a victory after crashing the NFL's tournament as well. Like the Panthers, however, none were able to advance any further than that.

"People start to overlook you," Rivera said earlier this week when asked why the undervalued squads have done damage lately. "They start to think about their next opponent."

Washington's head man did go on to discuss how Tampa Bay's coach, Bruce Arians, "doesn't miss a lot of things" and therefore should have the Bucs in the right headspace so as not to approach Saturday's trip to FedEx Field as an easy one. 

Right after that, though, he got fiery again when talking about why his club deserves to be where they are.

"You know, we went on a four-game tear and put ourselves in that position to get into the playoffs," he told reporters. "We were hot at that point and put ourselves in position... It’s just like they say in hockey if you have a hot goalie. In baseball, you have a hot pitcher. That’s what you want."

As of Wednesday, Washington, according to PointsBet, is an eight-point underdog to the Bucs, and that number could grow before kickoff. Because of that, folks will be taken aback if they're able to take out Tom Brady's bunch. Maybe, as the above trend explains, that shouldn't be the case.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Tampa Bay
+140+3O 51.5
New Orleans
-167-3U 51.5