Charted: The NFL's roller coaster season
The NFL's standings dramatically changed throughout the regular season — with the nine teams charted above in playoff purgatory for much of the year, according to FiveThirtyEight's odds.
The big picture: Many top teams — including the reigning champion Los Angeles Rams — saw their playoff window collapse as the season progressed.
- Underdogs like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who finished last in 2021, were able to clinch a spot in the final weeks of the season.
Why it matters: We're transitioning between football eras. Many big names face the twilight of their careers and young stars are leading their teams.
- It's made for exciting TV and helped put viewership at an all-time high.
Return to the playoffs: The Giants, Jaguars and Chargers all ended playoff droughts. Their last appearances were during the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons respectively.
Go deeper: Axios Sports previews the opening round