NFC WEST BATTLE ON MONDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS WEEK 10
The NFL has designated Sunday’s ATLANTA FALCONS–NEW ORLEANS SAINTS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest is a nod to the momentous 2006 Saints home-opener, when the team sparked the resurgence of a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In an electrifying moment at the Superdome on September 25, 2006, STEVE GLEASON blocked a first-quarter punt and CURTIS DELOATCH recovered the ball in the end zone, an uplifting initial score in the city’s first regular-season game since December 26, 2004. Buoyed by the win, the 3-0 Saints advanced to the NFC Championship game, and three years later won the Super Bowl. The game also marked the first home contest in the New Orleans career of the NFL’s all-time passing-yards leader, DREW BREES.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL
Through the first nine weeks of the 2019 season, four teams – the BUFFALO BILLS (6-2), GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-2), MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-3) and SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-0) – are in playoff position after missing the postseason a year ago. From 1990-2018 – a streak of 29 consecutive years – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. In 2018, seven of the 12 playoff teams missed the postseason the year before.
The NFL in 2002 expanded to 32 teams and realigned into eight divisions. Since that time, at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 15 of the past 16 years. Heading into Week 10, two teams – GREEN BAY in the NFC North and SAN FRANCISCO in the NFC West – lead their respective divisions after missing the postseason in 2018.
Teams to win their divisions a season after missing the playoffs over the last 16 seasons:
|SEASON||NEW DIVISION WINNERS AFTER MISSING POSTSEASON THE PRIOR SEASON|
|2018||Baltimore, Chicago*, Dallas, Houston*|
|2017||Jacksonville*, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, Minnesota, Philadelphia*|
|2015||Houston, Minnesota, Washington*|
|2011||Denver*, Houston*, New York Giants, San Francisco|
|2010||Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City*, Pittsburgh, Seattle|
|2009||Cincinnati, Dallas, New England, New Orleans*|
|2008||Arizona, Carolina, Miami*, Minnesota|
|2007||Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay*|
|2006||Baltimore*, New Orleans*, Philadelphia*, San Diego Chargers|
|2005||Chicago*, Cincinnati, New York Giants, Tampa Bay*|
|2004||Atlanta*, Pittsburgh, San Diego*|
|2003||Baltimore, Carolina*, Kansas City*, New England, St. Louis Rams|
|*Worst to first|