The NFL playoffs are set to get underway this weekend, but the unfortunate reality is that -- even with 14 spots available -- not all of the teams that could be competitive get to the dance every year. Some teams that just missed out on playoff contention or couldn't quite get hot until the right time will now be watching the postseason from home, but that isn't going to prevent people like us from speculating what it could be like if they had made it.
In an alternate reality, perhaps some of the teams we're about to discuss could have made some noise if they had won just one or two more games throughout the course of the regular season. These teams may not have played well enough over 17 games to get in, but they also might have just found their groove a little too late.
Let's take a look at a trio of NFL teams that could probably have made some noise if they'd just been able to find a way to get in.
1. New Orleans Saints
I've been super hot and cold on the New Orleans Saints all season. It's so hard to know exactly what to expect from this team on a week-to-week basis and I found myself wrong about them every week, whether I was predicting a win or a loss.
Ultimately, the Saints found a way to win nine games, which wasn't good enough for the NFC South division title or a Wild Card spot. They won four of their last five games with the only loss coming against the red-hot Los Angeles Rams.
Even though they were beating up on some bad teams, the Saints' offense seemed to finally hit a stride late in the season and they made a good run at it. Although I think they could just as easily be perceived as a "pretender" if they had found a way to make the playoffs, I'm not so sure they wouldn't have made things interesting in the NFC, if only for a week.