The 2020 NFL playoff schedule had some major shakeups in the final weekend.
The New England Patriots were stunned by the Miami Dolphins to lose their grip on a bye week for the first time this decade; the Philadelphia Eagles seized control of the NFC East with a win; and the Tennessee Titans took the AFC’s final playoff spot.
And in the final game of the season — and of the decade — the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers battled for the NFC West with a wild finish as the 49ers stopped the Seahawks at the goal line for the win, the division, and the top overall seed in the NFC.
But the loss by the Patriots was by far the biggest shock. The Patriots needed only to beat the 4-11 Miami Dolphins to secure the first-round bye, but succumbed 27-24 to a last-minute comeback led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The loss had many across the league celebrating, which the Patriots were well aware of.
“Nobody feels sorry for the Patriots not getting a first-round bye in the playoffs,” safety Devin McCourty said after the game, via ESPN. “We gotta move forward and get ready to go or the end of our season will be next week if we don’t turn the page and play good football way better than today.”
Tom Brady, who threw a costly interception as he suffered through a difficult stretch in the second half of the season, said that all the blame fell on them for failing to execute in such a big spot.
“We didn’t play the way we were capable of playing and it ended up costing us,” Brady said. “Just too many bad mistakes.”
The loss was celebrated by fans in Kansas City, as the Chiefs vaulted into one of the first-round byes and will now host the highest-remaining seed during the divisional round of the playoffs. For the Patriots, a team already banged up, there will be no time to rest as they will have to work on wild card weekend for the first time since 2009.
AFC Playoff seeds
- Baltimore Ravens (14-2)
- Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
- New England Patriots (12-4)
- Houston Texans (10-6)
- Buffalo Bills (10-6)
- Tennessee Titans (9-7)
NFC Playoff seeds
- San Francisco 49ers (13-3)
- Green Bay Packers (13-3)
- New Orleans Saints (13-3)
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
Wild Card weekend schedule
Saturday, January 4
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans 4:35 p.m.
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, January 5
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints 1:05 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles 4:40 p.m.