New teams making the playoffs and winning divisions, consistent teams excelling once again, records falling and young players making their mark all combined to help shape the story of the 2019 season. Again, Week 17 came right down to the wire as two playoff spots and two division titles – the NFC East and NFC West – were decided on the last day of the season. The excitement of Week 17 was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010. Every team enters the 2020 season with a trip to Tampa Bay and Super Bowl LV in mind, and below are a few reasons why.  Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Five teams that missed the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo (10-6), Green Bay (13-3), Minnesota (10-6), San Francisco (13-3) and Tennessee (9-7) – accomplished the feat in 2019.

PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS

1990 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)

1991 5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)

1992 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)

1993 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)

1994 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)

1995 4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)

1996 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)

1997 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)

1998 5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)

1999 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2000 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)

2001 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)

2002 5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)

2003 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)

2004 5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)

2005 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)

2006 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)

2007 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2008 7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)

2009 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)

2010 5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)

2011 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)

2012 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)

2013 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)

2014 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)

2015 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)

2016 6 (Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)

2017 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)

2018 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

2019 5 (Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco, Tennessee)