How Do NFL Teams Perform In Playoffs When Clinching In Last Week of Season?

How Do NFL Teams Perform In Playoffs When Clinching In Last Week of Season?
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

In a way, the postseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars starts on Sunday with their regular season finales against divisional foes. A win for either guarantees the victor an NFL division title and a home playoff game the following weekend.

Unlike the Bucs, Jacksonville can still get in with a loss, but the Jags would need help from the Baltimore Ravens, who play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday afternoon, and the Las Vegas Raiders, who host the Denver Broncos later on Sunday afternoon.

The two Florida teams aren’t the only ones playing for the postseason lives this weekend. Five playoff spots remain unfilled across the two conferences. But just how successful are teams that don’t secure a playoff spot until the last possible moment?

Utilizing Champs or Chumps, FloridaBet.com - always thinking from our Florida sports betting mindset - looked at how far teams advanced after clinching a playoff spot in the last week of the season since the 2013 NFL season. There have been 29 teams to earn a playoff spot in the final weekend over the last 10 seasons.

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Playoff Performance of NFL Teams Clinching in Last Week

SituationNumber of Teams Percentage
Winning Wild Card Round15 of 2951.7%
Winning Divisional Round2 of 296.9%
Winning Conference Championship0 of 290.0%
Winning Super Bowl0 of 290.0%

Jacksonville Seeking A Repeat Performance

Forgive the Jaguars if they have a sense of déjà vu on Sunday. Last season, they needed to beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 18 to win the AFC South. Jacksonville did with a 20-16 victory, thanks to a Josh Allen fumble return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The same two teams play in this season’s finale, but it’s the Titans turn to host this time.

Jacksonville is one of the 15 teams to advance out of the first round, and they did so in spectacular fashion. A year ago, they overcame a 27-0 first half deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30. The Jags season ended a week later in Kansas City to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Chiefs.

Hard Rock Bet, the only legal Florida sports betting app, lists Jacksonville as a 3.5-point favorite on the road. Oddsmakers also give the Jags 30-1 odds to win the Super Bowl.

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Buccaneers Must Beat Panthers

Tampa Bay, which currently leads the NFC South, is also on the road this Sunday, but the Bucs travel to Charlotte to play the Carolina Panthers, owners of the worst record in the league. A win would secure the Bucs fourth straight trip to the postseason. Then, we can look at the Buccaneers Super Bowl odds.

The Buccaneers are 4.5-point favorites against Carolina at Hard Rock, but oddsmakers give them little chance of going far in the postseason. Tampa Bay’s odds of winning the Super Bowl are 100-1.

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Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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