The Cleveland Browns ended their season after a 22-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. You agree with that Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Washington soccer team, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers as playoff teams whose runs have been canceled.
The chiefs with the best seeds will be the ones Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game next week (6:40 p.m. ET, CBS) and the Green Bay Packers will play the NFC Championship game (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox) against the winner of the Sunday game between the Tampa Bay privateers and the New Orleans Saints (6:40 p.m. ET, Fox).
What’s next for the teams eliminated from the playoffs? NFL nation digs in.
On his return to Kansas City, Kareem Hunt makes a 3-yard touchdown as the Browns get closer in the fourth quarter.
How the season ended: For the most part, the Browns had a magical season. In his freshman year, Kevin Stefanski revealed why he will be Cleveland’s coach for the foreseeable future as he led the Browns to their first playoff appearance since 2002 – and their first playoff win since 1994 – despite a year of obstacles. Baker Mayfield saw a resurgence in its third season, showing why he’s Cleveland’s long-term answer to quarterback. This should start with the Browns taking his fifth year option this off-season and potentially negotiating a long-term renewal. Other young stars like to run back Nick Chubb and defensive ending Myles Garrett continued to show that they are among the best in the league in their positions. There’s no shame in losing to the defending Super Bowl champions on the street. And Cleveland’s competing window numbers will be wide open for the foreseeable future.
Biggest question out of season: The Browns need to strengthen the defense around Garrett and the cornerback Denzel Ward. The secondary and linebacking corps were inconsistent for most of the year. Safe, the Browns should start calling for help, though that could be alleviated if Round 2 Grant Delpit, who was supposed to start as a rookie before injuring his Achilles at training camp, can get back into shape. The Browns also have to make decisions about Mayfield, Chubb, and Ward, all of which are pending expansions. Cleveland has the room to do big business, but these three players won’t be cheap to extend either. – Jake Trotter
Justin Tucker hits the post twice, not just once, in the first half of the Ravens’ AFC divisional round match against the Bills.
How the season ended: The Ravens championship run ended painfully as a quarterback Lamar Jackson suffered a concussion and was expelled of the fourth quarter in Saturday’s playoff game against the Bills. Jackson’s injury came two games after his second pick-six and the first red zone interception of his professional career. A week after his first post-season win, Jackson delivered one of his most frustrating performances, failing to score a touchdown for the first time in 39 straight games (which was the longest run in the NFL). The last time Baltimore rose to the AFC Championship Game was in 2012 when Joe Flacco delivered the Mile High Miracle. In Baltimore’s favor, this team overcame many struggles to advance to the playoffs: Pro Bowl security Earl Thomas was injured after allegedly beating a teammate. All-Pro left Ronnie Stanley with an ankle injury at the end of the season and the largest COVID-19 outbreak in professional sports. The Ravens then made a significant move from quarterback this postseason Lamar Jackson won his first career playoff game against Baltimore and demanded revenge on the Tennessee Titans from last year’s playoff loss. The question that will arise about Jackson and the Ravens is, can a multi-year Super Bowl contender finally get to the Super Bowl?
Biggest question out of season: Will the Ravens decide to purchase a # 1 receiver for Jackson? A proven playmaker from the outside is the missing part for a criminal offense that rushed to number 1 and number 31 in passing. Last off season that Cardinals of Arizona traded for DeAndre Hopkins Give QB Kyler Murray an elite recipient, and the Buffalo Bills acquired Stefon Diggs to the Josh Allen. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens get just as aggressive when they hit a top target for Jackson or if they will put their trust in them Marquise Brownwho finished the season strong and received a total of 109 yards Wildcard win in Tennessee. – Jamison Hensley
Rams RB Cam Akers takes the snap and is hit but does not go down. He pulls a defender with him as he makes his way into the end zone for a 7 yard touchdown.
How the season ended: Defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey anchored a Super Bowl-worthy defense that finished the regular season and was No. 1 in the NFL and was the driving force behind a playoff run. However, since Donald was restricted from a rib injury, the defense was unable to slow the quarterback down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ top ranked offense. In a wild twist, the Rams’ offensive, struggling for consistency throughout the season, ended on a high level in the divisional round playoff loss behind the quarterback Jared Goffwho had surgery on the thumb of his throwing hand on December 28th. They put together an almost flawless performance against the Packers. The defense, undoubtedly the fall in the season finale, had been supported throughout the season by Rams coach Sean McVay and the offensive. McVay’s playcalling too often put the offensive in a difficult position, and Goff’s inconsistencies and sales-ridden season didn’t help the situation.
Biggest question out of season: The offense developed well in the Packers defeat but the question remains how it can perform consistently at this level. McVay produced an offensive juggernaut that lit up the NFL in its first two seasons and was one of the highest scoring units in the league. But since a disappointing 13-3 defeat against them New England Patriots In Super Bowl LIII, the offense failed to consistently return to shape. McVay needs to get back to the drawing board, and perhaps most importantly, figure out how to get the most out of Goff, who has four seasons left on his guaranteed $ 110 million contract. The Rams entered the season with no experience backup or competition pushing Goff to stay John Wolford, an uncovered free agent in 2018, as its only backup. Wolford started in week 17 and won the Cardinals 18-7 to secure a place in the playoffs. McVay was confident of starting him in the divisional round against the Seahawks. Perhaps Wolford can create significant competition behind Goff. If not, the Rams should consider signing a skilled quarterback to push Goff in 2021, or using a mid-round selection in the NFL draft to attract a young QB who will offer daily competitions and Can be included in a game when Goff goes on a sales spree. – Lindsey Thiry
How the season ended: The Steelers had the best record in the NFL in eleven games with a flawless start, but the wheels fell off in three games as weaknesses in running play and short passing were exposed, let alone defensive injuries. The Steelers bounced back for a comeback win against the Indianapolis ColtsGetting out of the playoffs after starting 11-0 is a disappointment, however – especially given the collapse in the first quarter that left them 28-0 behind The loss of the wildcard playoffs on Sunday to Cleveland. That team had Super Bowl LV ambitions and anything but a trip to Tampa, Florida at the quarterback’s twilight Ben RoethlisbergerThe career is a failure.
Biggest question out of season: Roethlisberger has pledged to play at least until the end of his contract in 2021, reported ESPN’s Adam Schefter. However, it remains to be seen how much of the current team the Steelers can keep around. With nearly 20 free agents coming on the market and a salary cap of $ 41.2 million on Roethlisberger’s deal, the Steelers must do some great wizarding to bring back all the major players – such as eclectic defenders Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton or wider receiver JuJu Smith-Cobbler. – Brooke Pryor
Chicago Bears (8-9, 2nd in NFC Nord)
How the season ended: Despite the 5-1 start, the bear offensive spent a large part of the first eleven games of the 2020 season in hibernation. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was wagered in week 3 in favor of Nick Foleswho were worse off. Trubisky took the job back in late November and played mostly inspired football, but the damage was done. The bears ignored running back David Montgomery – in part because the offensive line play was so below average from the start – for much of the season until he got a hot streak to end the regular season. But failing to establish Chicago in the first three months of the season hurt Chicago. The bears returned to the playoffs in week 17 Los Angeles Rams‘win over the Cardinals of Arizona, but Chicago was successful in the postseason. After Sunday 21-9 loss In New Orleans, the bears are 7-1 against playoff teams in 2020. The whole season was a missed opportunity.
Biggest question out of season: The bears will have to determine what organizational changes are needed after making the playoffs for two or three years. A strong argument can be made for keeping coach Matt Nagy, but upper management could be another conversation. General Manager Ryan Pace, whose fate is intertwined with Trubisky, has a year left on his contract. The screams for team president and CEO Ted Phillips to step aside are getting louder every year. The Bears also have a big decision to make at Quarterback. Trubisky’s option for the fifth year was turned down and Foles looked ineffective. Will the bears draw another quarterback? Do you sign Trubisky (swallow) again? Will you find another veteran? In Chicago the story stays the same. – Jeff Dickerson
How the season ended: The main problem for the Titans was defense. If a team doesn’t have a strong front and back end of defense, the results are usually not good. They signed free agents Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley to support the rush of passers-by and take defense to the next level. But instead they went back. The Titans finished with 19 sacks – the third worst in the league. To lose Adoree Jackson for 13 games because of a knee injury, the secondary seriously injured. Outside Malcolm ButlerThe Titans especially struggled with third downs, where they allowed an NFL worst conversion rate of 51.8%.
Biggest question out of season: How can the Titans find a way to generate a pass rush? The same problem from last off-season carries over into 2021. The Titans will only have limited salary caps to add a top-notch pass rusher. So you have to rely on signing a player with an edge who hasn’t had a breakout season. Tennessee could turn to them too 2021 NFL draft. The offensive is too good to waste another season on defense problems. The Titans will also need to hire a defense coordinator. – Turron Davenport
How the season ended: A variety of things. But remember, Washington shouldn’t be much more than a six or seven-win team. In a turbulent year under coach Ron Rivera, it won four games more than last season in its first year. Washington won five of its last seven games to win the division. But the offense had to be more productive. Quarterback was a problem as a Dwayne Haskins was ineffective, was benched early and eventually released; Backup Kyle Allen lasted four games before a broken ankle ended his season and Alex SmithThe tense calf tasted him down the distance. His leadership and comeback history was important, but the offense stuttered too often and also requires more consistent wide receiver play and playmaker Terry McLaurin. The defense played well but needs to start better. It also allowed for too many big games and was inconsistent against the run; It has to strengthen the linebacker and security positions.
Biggest question out of season: Who will be the quarterback in 2021? Washington cut Haskins, and it would be terribly hard to rely on Smith for next season’s starter at the age of 37. Smith was a fantastic story, but can he last 16 games and be effective? The team has to ponder its options and can save $ 13.6 million by being released. With the defense now ready to win, with their talented and youthful front, Washington cannot afford to wait long for a young quarterback to develop. Washington could fight for a while in NFC East by adding a veteran and maybe drafting a quarterback in the middle rounds to develop. Rivera said Allen could have done what Smith did to lead the team to a division title. But if they find Smith worthy to return, he’ll have to draw a quarterback who can provide immediate assistance if this offense takes a plunge. And Taylor Heinicke showed that he should fight for a roster spot with a 306 yard tag against the Bucs in the wildcard round. Washington’s inability to develop and retain a quarterback contributed significantly to its poor record under owner Dan Snyder. He can’t be the one to lead the prosecution like he was when the team acquired Haskins, Robert Griffin III and Donovan McNabb. – John Keim
How the season ended: The offense of the Seahawks hit a wall in the off-season and never broke it. Russell Wilson threw touchdowns at a historically productive pace from the start and carried a defense that set records for futility in the first two months. But Wilson & Co. cooled off right at the start of their defense. All of that was still good enough to get the most points in franchise history, win the most games since 2014, and secure the premier division title since 2016. But it wasn’t good enough for number 1 in NFC, which it turns out that the Seahawks didn’t inexplicably lose to the Giants at home in week 13. The Seahawks could have used this free week to rest Jamal Adams and avoid the Rams who kept Seattle’s fighting offense at 20 points and received a key pick-six in the wildcard round.
Biggest question out of season: It’s all about Adams: can the Seahawks make a deal? If so, how massive will it be? If not, what then? This season, Adams confirmed the Seahawks’ bold decision to ditch two round one picks in last summer’s blockbuster trade. He was arguably their most effective defensive player and set the sack record for DBs. He brought an attitude that their defense lacked. Adams has a year left on his current deal, and giving up as much as the Seahawks did for Adams leaves no doubt that they want him long term. But negotiations could be difficult because he undoubtedly wants to pay more than just a security. The NFL’s falling wage cap could complicate matters. The Seahawks thought they could make a strong return for Adams this off-season if they weren’t able to close a deal and trade him. They’re without picks on the first and third rounds after giving up for Adams. So you have an incentive to find out before you design whether it will be around in the long term. – Brady Henderson
How the season ended: It’s hard to tell that something went wrong when you took double-digit victories for the second time since 2014. But the Colts didn’t give a quarterback Philip Rivers A one-year $ 25 million deal that simply takes them to the first weekend of the playoffs. Owner Jim Irsay wants to win “several Lombardis” but they haven’t won any since the 2006 season. They had the knack for making the postseason, but the 2020 season proved that there was little room for error. And Indianapolis had almost one mistake too many. The Colts didn’t qualify for the playoffs until the final week of the regular season when they beat Jacksonville and then got help from Buffalo against Miami.
Biggest question out of season: Who will be the starting quarterback and leave the tackle in 2021? After spending the first 16 seasons of his career with the Chargers, Rivers proved critics were wrong by showing that he could still compete at the highest level. But he’s 39 and has a high school head coach job waiting for him in Alabama when he retires. The risk of keeping Rivers – if all sides so wish – is that its production will drop, which would force the franchise to look for a new starter in 2022 Jacob Eason spent that season as the team’s third quarterback, learning behind Rivers and Jacoby Brissett. It is unknown if Eason is ready to push for the starting job next season. The Colts could re-sign Brissett, who will be a free agent, or look for a starter through a free agency or trade (Carson Wentz or Matthew Stafford). Start the left device Anthony Castonzo turns 33 in August and, like Rivers, has made no commitments to play beyond this season. Castonzo flirted with retirement last winter. The only player currently on the roster who can potentially fill in is All-Pro Left Guard Quenton Nelson. – Mike Wells