As Howard Cossell would say about the winner of the NFC East this year. The team will be in the playoffs but will not be playoff team. There have teams that overcame some big losses and still were in the playoffs. Here are some examples. I am referring to two or more big losses. More will come later.
1965 Cleveland Browns… 11-3 record… lost NFL Championship Game at Green Bay 23 to 12. Week 2 at home lost to the St Louis Cardinals 49 to 13…Week 13…at Los Angeles lost to the Rams 42 to 7.
1968 Cleveland Browns…10-4 record…lost NFL Championship to Baltimore Colts…34 to 0… Week 2 lost to the Cowboys at Dallas 28 to 7…Week 3 at lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams 24 to 6…Bill Nelson replaced Frank Ryan at quarterback after this game.
1969 Dallas Cowboys…11-2-1…lost to the Cleveland Browns twice…for the regular season, lost to the Browns at Cleveland 42 to 10…For the Eastern Conference title at Dallas, lost at home to Cleveland at home 38 to 14… the Cowboys’ regular season record of 11-2-1 was one game better than the 10-3-1 Browns.
1970 Dallas Cowboys…10-4…after nine games the Cowboys were only 5-4…in Week 3 lost to the Vikings at Minnesota 54 to 13…In Week 9 at Dallas the Cardinals shut out the Cowboys 38 to 0…after week 9 and including the Post Season, Dallas won seven in a row in route to the Super Bowl.
1970 Miami Dolphins…In his first year at Miami, Don Shula bought the Dolphins from 3-10-1 to 10-4… But there were three weeks where they looked a sandlot team put in the pros by mistake… Don Shula never lost his confidence… Week 6 at home lost to the Cleveland Browns 28 to 0…Week 7 at Baltimore lost 35 to 0…Week 8 at Philadelphia, the Dolphins trailed the Eagles 24 to 0 after three quarters …the Eagles held off a furious fourth quarter comeback and defeated the Dolphins 24 to 17. As I said, the Dolphins went on to become the Wild Card team in the AFC… and yet Miami, in 1970, went through 11 consecutive quarters of shut out football.