Over the past three days, six NFL teams have felt the pain of watching their playoff dreams come to an end in the wildcard round. Coping with the off-season is always better than missing out, but no team wants to be one-and-done in January. There is no such thing as "happy to be here" when organizations get so close to a Super Bowl.
For those teams, the offseason has already begun. Their primary goal, of course, is to win the Super Bowl, but each and every one of them will strive to improve where they fell short in 2021 and make a deeper run after the season. Let's run through the six losing teams from the wildcard round and identify one takeaway from the loss (and the season as a whole) that should help guide their thinking in the offseason.
I start with the Raiders, who just fired their general manager, and end with the Cardinals, who had a disastrous performance on Monday night:
Jump to a team:
ARI | FRA | LV
PHI | PIT | NE
The loss: 26-19 to Bengals
Take away: Raiders need to be realistic.