When seasons start, there’s always the tendency to assume there will be some continuity. The Jaguars and Vikings, for example, played in the conference championship games last year, so it made some sense to operate under the assumption they’d at least make the playoffs.

Then they start playing the games, and everything falls part. (Except for the Patriots; the modest of consistency that wins the AFC East title every year.)

If we look at recent NFL history, the rule of thumb is that about half of the playoff teams each year are new. Slightly more this season. Of the eight teams playing this weekend, only one made the postseason a year ago.

Six teams in each conference make the playoffs. Since 2000, at least half of the playoff teams have been new in 12 of the 19 seasons. The most static seasons came in 2012 and 2015, when eight of the playoff teams were holdovers. In five other seasons, there have been only five new playoff teams.

In general about a 50 percent turnover is the rule of thumb, and there are plenty of quality franchises that definitely will be right there trying to push into that group. Teams that have enough roster talent (I think) that they’ll be disappointed if they don’t make the postseason in 2019: Steelers, Browns, Falcons, Titans, Panthers, Packers, Vikings.

YearNoNew playoff teams
20006Bal, Den, NO, NYG, Oak, Phi
20016Chi, GB, NE, NYJ, Pitt, SF
20025Atl, Clev, Ind, NYG, Ten
20038Bal, Car, Dal, Den, KC, NE, StL, Sea
20045Atl, Min, NYJ, Pitt, SD
20057Car, Chi, Cin, Jac, NYG, TB, Was
20067Bal, Dal, KC, NO, NYJ, Phi, SD
20076GB, Jac, Pitt, TB, Ten, Was
20087Ari, Atl, Bal, Car, Mia, Min, Phi
20096Cin, Dal, GB, NE, NO, NYJ
20105Atl, Chi, KC, Pitt, Sea
20116Cin, Den, Det, Hou, NYG, SF
20124Ind, Min, Sea, Was
20135Car, KC, NO, Phi, SD
20145Ari, Bal, Dal, Det, Pitt
20154Hou, KC, Min, Was
20166Atl, Dal, Det, Mia, NYG, Oak
20178Buf, Car, Jac, LAR, Min, NO, Phi, Ten
20187Bal, Chi, Dal, Hou, Ind, LAC, Sea

—Ian Allan