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Who has been eliminated from 2020 NFL playoff contention

The NFL playoff chase is on, but teams are already starting to get knocked out of the race. We’ll run down every team as they are eliminated from playoff contention.

New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (20) recovers a fumble by Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) at the goal line in the first quarter at SoFi Stadium. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL playoffs are still a ways off, and we will not see a team clinch a playoff berth for at least another couple weeks. The NFL expanded the playoff field from 12 teams to 14 teams, with a chance of an expansion to 16 teams if notable games are canceled or postponed down the closing stretch.

Even with the expanded playoff field, the league has plenty of awful teams. Some teams have been out of contention since almost day one, and now we have teams starting to officially get eliminated from playoff contention.

We’ll be updating this article with each team that gets eliminated until we have the final 14- (or 16) team playoff pool. We’ll include a brief look at how they were eliminated and what happened with their season that led to this point. Each team is listed with their record at the time of playoff elimination.

New York Giants (6-10)

When eliminated: Week 17

How eliminated: Washington beating Philadelphia 20-14.

What went wrong: The Giants started 1-7, but hung around the division race thanks to how bad the NFC East was. It’s unclear if Daniel Jones is the long-term answer at quarterback, but he’s just one of many issues the organization has to sort through in 2021.

Arizona Cardinals (8-8)

When eliminated: Week 17

How eliminated: 18-7 loss to Rams

What went wrong: Things went south after the team came out of its bye with a 5-2 record. Kyler Murray took a step forward in his second year, but the offense as a whole was never able to get on track with enough consistency. It remains to be seen if Kliff Kingsbury has what it takes to find sustained success in the NFL.

Miami Dolphins (10-6)

When eliminated: Week 17

How eliminated: 56-26 loss to Bills coupled with Colts 28-14 win over Jaguars

What went wrong: The Dolphins switched to rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa after their Week 7 bye. They won his first three starts but he struggled in the back half of the season and found himself benched multiple times. This was a solid overall season in the Dolphins rebuilding effort, but all eyes will be on Tua headed into 2021.

Dallas Cowboys (6-10)

When eliminated: Week 17

How eliminated: 23-19 loss to Giants

What went wrong: Everything went south when Dak Prescott fractured his ankle. They hung around an ugly NFC East race, but it was a lost season once Dak went down.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1)

When eliminated: Week 16

How eliminated: 37-17 loss to Cowboys

What went wrong: Carson Wentz regressed in a huge way and the offense went south with him. Jalen Hurts replaced him in the starting lineup, but too late to turn things around.

Las Vegas Raiders (7-8)

When eliminated: Week 16

How eliminated: 26-25 loss to Dolphins

What went wrong: The offense started to take some steps forward, but it was inconsistent and more importantly, the defense was awful. It’s still kind of amazing the Raiders handed the Chiefs their only loss of the season to date.

Minnesota Vikings (6-9)

When eliminated: Week 16

How eliminated: 52-33 loss to Saints

What went wrong: The Vikings got off to a slow start this season, opening 1-5 as their defense was absolutely miserable. They won five of their next six as their offense picked up steam, but their defense was just not good enough to bounce back and keep up a late playoff push.

New England Patriots (6-8)

When eliminated: Week 15

How eliminated: 22-12 loss to Miami

What went wrong: They moved on from Tom Brady and could never really get the offense going. Cam Newton showed some signs, but after he got Covid-19, things went south and never consistently recovered. Add in a 21st ranked defense and it’s been a lost season for the Patriots.

Denver Broncos (5-9)

When eliminated: Week 15

How eliminated: 48-19 loss to Buffalo.

What went wrong: The offense ranked 31st in the league and for the time being Drew Lock is struggling to prove he is the long-term answer. Injuries were a problem, but they need to figure out the quarterback position if they want to take advantage of what is a decent defense.

Detroit Lions (5-9)

When eliminated: Week 15

How eliminated: 46-25 loss to the Titans.

What went wrong: Losing Kenny Golladay for 9 of 14 games proved to be the biggest hit as the offense wasn’t the same without him. It also didn’t help that they took so long to move D’Andre Swift ahead of Adrian Peterson on the depth chart. The defense ranked 31st in efficiency. The team fired head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn.

San Francisco 49ers (5-9)

When eliminated: Week 15

How eliminated: 41-33 loss to the Cowboys coupled with Arizona’s win over Philadelphia.

What went wrong: The team was devastated by injuries. Every team goes through them, but the 49ers are likely going to finish the season with the most adjusted games lost by a sizable margin. They lost too many starters on both sides of the ball.

Carolina Panthers (4-10)

When eliminated: Week 15

How eliminated: 24-16 loss to the Packers.

What went wrong: Carolina moved on from Cam Newton and brought in Teddy Bridgewater as his replacement under new head coach Matt Rhule. It wasn’t a disaster, but it did not go well even as Robby Anderson emerged as a presence in his first year with the Jets. Their 27th ranked defense was the biggest problem.

Atlanta Falcons (4-9)

When eliminated: Week 14

How eliminated: Loss to the Chargers 20-17 coupled with Buccaneers win over the Vikings and Cardinals win over the Giants.

What went wrong: The Falcons haven’t been that awful, but once again they can’t get it done late. Six of their nine losses were by a single score and it’s not surprising Dan Quinn didn’t last the season. They have to figure out their long-term solution at quarterback and generally figure out how not to blow games later.

Houston Texans (4-9)

When eliminated: Week 14

How eliminated: Loss to the Bears 36-7.

What went wrong: Bill O’Brien was bad as a coach and even worse as a personnel man. He’s been fired and it’s not entirely clear what’s next with a glorified motivational speaker in charge of football operations. Having Deshaun Watson is a great starting point, but the Texans have a lot of work to do to get on track.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-9)

When eliminated: Week 13

How eliminated: Loss to the Patriots 45-0 coupled with Colts win (or Raiders and Dolphins wins).

What went wrong: The Chargers appear to have their answer at the quarterback position, for now. It’s only one year but Justin Herbert is on track to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Their biggest problems are shaky coaching by Anthony Lynn, abysmal special teams, and an uncanny ability to blow leads. Lynn has to be on the hot seat.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-9-1)

When eliminated: Week 13

How eliminated: Loss to the Dolphins 19-7.

What went wrong: They are in a rebuilding process and were not expected to compete for a playoff berth. Joe Burrow looked great for much of the season before a season-ending knee injury. The Bengals need more talent around Burrow, but their search for a franchise QB is hopefully not set back too much by Burrow’s injury.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10)

When eliminated: Week 12

How eliminated: Loss to the Browns 27-25. It matches the earliest elimination in franchise history, per Joe Ferreira.

What went wrong: Their quarterback situation is a mess and they could be in position to draft a franchise QB in April. However, their defense was abysmal as well, so they have a to clean up. Ownership fired GM Dave Caldwell after the loss to the Browns, but said head coach Doug Marrone is safe for the rest of the season. He seems a good bet to get fired on Black Monday.

New York Jets (0-10)

When eliminated: Week 11

How eliminated: Loss to the Chargers 34-28 coupled with Colts win over the Packers. They last year’s Bengals as the earliest teams eliminated from playoff contention since at least 2002, per Pro Football Talk.

What went wrong: Everything. Sam Darnold struggled with injuries and Adam Gase remains an atrocious head coach.