NFL to revisit current postseason amidst pandemic
|Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 11:40 AM- -|
As if 2020 couldn't get any stranger. Well, the NFL may flip the football world upside down as they are set to revisit the current playoff format for this season. That alone could have significant implications for not just the Bears but for tons of other teams involved.
When the season started, the NFL already agreed to add one Wildcard team per conference. That means that seven teams would now be making the postseason. If the postseason were to start today, the Bears would be outside looking in as they currently sit in the eighth position. Could that be changing soon?
We all knew there would be challenges along the way regarding the NFL season, but thankfully to this point, games have only been rescheduled and not downright canceled. That is amazing when you think of how serious things got with Tennessee a few weeks ago, but the NFL has done a great job of keeping this season on track.
Despite everything going as planned, for the most part, there is still the possibility of having to cancel some games, especially with the winter months on the horizon. With bye weeks ending in a few weeks, there won't be many chances to reschedule games should something come up. With rescheduling becoming more difficult as the season goes on, the NFL has put in a playoff contingency plan that should be going to vote later today.
I won't go into the plan in full detail, but the plan is still to play 256 games in 17 weeks or a week 18 if needed. The plan also states that there could be a possibility of the playoffs going from 14 teams to 16 teams or one additional team per conference. The only way that part of the plan would go in place would be if a meaningful game would get canceled from now until the end of the season.
The biggest key to the whole thing is that week 18 phrase. Through nine weeks, no games have officially been canceled. If that trend continues the rest of the way, then the normal 14-team postseason format would go into play. The only way that other team ties into things would be for a team like the Bears, who may be the eight seed now. Should they lose a game from now until the end of the season, it could ultimately prevent them from getting in. The NFL is taking these measures now to be ready for anything.
Obviously, if the league had their way, they wouldn't change a thing and continue to press on as usual. Given what 2020 has been for everyone, nothing is normal now, so having additional plans, especially this early in the game, is a great thing. The most important thing about the new plan is that it would increase an already increased playoff field.
The only way that happens would be if a game with playoff implications got the ax and couldn't be made up. Given how the NFL has adapted so far, it may seem like a long shot that an additional team is added, but teams should brace for the chance it happens, especially when bye weeks are over with. You can only move games around so much before there is nothing you can do.
Why is this worth noting? Well, for starters, the Bears are on the outside looking in, after being as high as the No.2 seed a few weeks ago. Should an additional postseason team be added, the Bears would occupy that eighth and final spot. If that were to hold up, it would peg the Bears against the Saints, Packers, or Seahawks. All of those teams are battling for the NO. 1 seed right now. Granted, this is a long way from happening; it is essential to keep some sight of this as a logical possibility.
Regardless of what happens, the Bears have eight more games this season and have work to do. They should focus on getting into the top seven instead of relying on a potential postseason expansion to get them in.