NFL Playoff Roundup: Florida’s NFL Teams Make History but are Underdogs to Advance
Only three states in the country have three NFL teams; California, New York, and Florida.
It’s an infrequent occurrence that all three make it into the NFL playoffs in the same year.
The last time that all three Florida NFL teams made the playoffs in the same year, Cher and Whitney Houston graced the Top 100 Billboards, and Austin Powers was one of the year’s top-grossing movies.
For the first time in 23 years and only the third time in Florida history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Miami Dolphins, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have all made the playoffs.
For the first time since 1999, all three Florida franchises made the playoffs 👏🌴 pic.twitter.com/voRztW1d9z
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 11, 2023
Florida residents, including politicians from both sides of the aisle and celebrities, struck a celebratory tone at what could be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 9, 2023
All three teams stumbled into the playoffs, with two struggling at the beginning of the season and one starting hot and falling off toward the end.
Here is how each team made it to the playoffs and their chances of advancing during the postseason:
The Miami Dolphins started strong during the 2022 NFL season, going into Week 11 with eight wins and three losses. Their performance up to that point made them top contenders for the Super Bowl.
Then, after injuries began to pile up and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa showed signs of regressing after suffering three concussions during the 2022 season, they went on a five-game losing streak that put them in danger of being shut out of the postseason.
The team was able to snap its losing streak and clinch a playoff spot after a low-scoring game against the New York Jets.
The game ended with a desperate final play to get the Jets in field goal range, resulting in a safety instead.
JETS (+3.5) IS A BRUTAL BEAT 🤮
Dolphins cover on the safety on the last play of the gamepic.twitter.com/SbgPi00fMQ
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 8, 2023
According to CBS Sports, the Dolphins will limp into the Wild Card round as 13.5-point underdogs against the Buffalo Bills.
They will also be without their starting Quarterback and backup, Teddy Bridgewater, forcing them to start third-string Quarterback Skyler Thompson.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Buccaneers struggled to get their offense off the ground for most of the year, but star quarterback Tom Brady showed flashes of potential at different points throughout the season.
In the end, they were able to clinch a playoff spot primarily due to the abysmal state of the NFC South division, featuring the Panthers, Saints, and Falcons with 7-10 finishes while the Buccaneers fared only slightly better at 8-9.
The Cowboys are narrowly favored against the Buccaneers in their Monday night prime-time matchup next week by 2.5 points.
Some consider the Buccaneers a “dark horse” team to advance deep into the postseason, as playoff Tom Brady can never be counted out.
Tom Brady has been a playoff underdog four times since 2019.
— John Ewing 🦁 (@johnewing) January 12, 2023
The Jaguars emerged from the regular season with a winning record, but much like the Buccaneers, their competitors in their division were not much to brag about, competing against the 7-10 Titans, 4-12 Colts, and 3-12 Texans in the AFC South.
The Jaguars got off to a rocky start after a five-game losing streak early in the season but ultimately ended with a 9-8 record after impressive performances from 2nd-year Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Wide Receiver Zay Jones and Running Back Travis Etienne.
They iced their regular season with a scoop-and-score fumble with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter against the Titans.
— NFL (@NFL) January 8, 2023
Their playoff appearance marks perhaps the most impressive turnaround in the NFL this year after a disastrous 3-14 performance under Urban Meyer.
The Jaguars go into their Wild Card matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers as 1.5-point underdogs.