The New York Giants and the 10 Best NFL Teams To Miss the Playoffs Since 2002

James Evens@JamesEvensCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2011

The New York Giants and the 10 Best NFL Teams To Miss the Playoffs Since 2002

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 26:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 26, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Every season we have a few teams that deserve to make the playoffs, but are not given the opportunity due to a tough division and a hard Wild Card race.

    Even though it may seem weird that the 7-9 Seahawks can make the playoffs but the 10-6 Giants can miss it, the rules are the rules and are not going anywhere.

    Here are the 10 best NFL teams to miss out on the playoffs since 2002.

2002 New England Patriots

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 16:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes against the Tennessee Titans at the Coliseum on December 16, 2002 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 37-24. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    After winning the Super Bowl in 2001, the New England Patriots failed to make the playoffs in 2002.  They were a great team and could have been contenders, as they basically returned the exact same team from the previous season.

    Tom Brady threw for 3,764 yards and 28 touchdowns that season, but to no avail.  The Patriots missed the playoffs, but would come back in 2003 to win the Super Bowl once again. 

2003 Miami Dolphins

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    Miami Dolphins running back  Ricky Williams  rushes to midfield  December 28, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida.  Williams scored a touchdown and the Dolphins defeated the New York Jets 23 - 21.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    This Dolphins team was run-heavy and ended up with 10 wins, but missed the playoffs anyway.  

    The Fins were led by star running back Ricky Williams, who is still with the team today, as he rushed for 1,372 yards and nine touchdowns.  The Dolphins were the team to beat that season, but ended up going down the wrong path and haven't been the same since.

2004 Buffalo Bills

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 2:  Running back Willis McGahee #21 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 2, 2004 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Steelers defeated the Bills 29-24. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Ge
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The Buffalo Bills had a nine-win season and failed to make the playoffs in what would be one of their last winning seasons.  It really kills a team's momentum when they get so close to securing a spot in the postseason, but they end up getting knocked back down.

    The Bills were led by Willis McGahee, who rushed for 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns. Along with Bledsoe, they had all the tools to make a run in the postseason, but never got the opportunity. 

2005 Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24:  Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs is tackled by Luis Castillo #93 of the San Diego Chargers in the fourth quarter on December 24, 2005 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City Chiefs won 20-7 ove
    Larry W. Smith/Getty Images

    The 2005 Kansas City Chiefs loved to run the ball. In fact, they had one of the most prolific rushers in the league in Larry Johnson.

    Johnson had a few good seasons and this was his best by far. He ran for 1,750 yards and 20 touchdowns in a season where the Chiefs had 10 wins and failed to miss the playoffs. 

2007 Cleveland Browns

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    CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 30:  Lamal Lewis #31 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball against the San Francisco 49ers on December 30, 2007 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Browns had a 10-win season, but it meant next to nothing because they once again failed to make the playoffs in 2007.  They were led by some characters you might recognize that remained with the organization for a while.

    Jamal Lewis ran for 1,304 yards and nine touchdowns, while Derek Anderson threw for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns.  

2008 New England Patriots

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 28:  Matt Cassel #16 of the New England Patriots looks for a receiver during the game against the Buffalo Bills on December 28, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    As you might be able to tell by now, the AFC has been tough and 2008 was no different.  The New England Patriots missed the playoffs in 2008 even after an 11-win season.

    Tom Brady went down in the first regular season game, so the Pats were led by quarterback Matt Cassel the rest of the way, who threw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns.  It was a great run, but not enough to make the playoffs. 

2009 Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Buffalo Bills at Georgia Dome on December 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Falcons were a young team in 2009 and just starting to rebuild from the Michael Vick debacle that had occurred a few years prior, and they had finally found their franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan.

    Matt Ryan made the playoffs his rookie season, but failed to make it in 2009. Yet he still had a decent season, throwing for 2,916 yards and 22 touchdowns.  The Falcons also got 11 receiving touchdowns from Roddy White and 10 rushing touchdowns by Michael Turner. Although these guys had great seasons, it just wasn't enough.

2009 Houston Texans

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    HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans during warm ups before playing Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Playing in the tough AFC South, the Houston Texans were so close to breaking through to the playoffs, but were just not close enough.  They were dependent on newfound stud quarterback Matt Schaub. 

    Schaub threw for 4,770 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2009, leading the team to nine wins, just one win shy of a Wild Card berth.

2010 New York Giants

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 26: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants walks off the field after loosing to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 26, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The New York Giants seemed as though they had their playoff berth clinched, but choked toward the end of the season, which cost them their opportunity to play in the postseason.  They ended the season with 10 wins, and were ranked in the top 10 in the top four team stats.

    They were led by quarterback Eli Manning, who threw for 4,002 yards and 31 touchdowns. Many expected the Giants to win the Super Bowl, but their spotlight is now being taken away by the Jets.

2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Josh Freeman #5  of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws the ball during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The Bucs are an extremely young team who will be a team to watch in the next few years.  They quietly flew under the radar and won 10 games this season and just barely missed out on a playoff opportunity in what was a touch division.

    The Bucs were led by young quarterback Josh Freeman who threw for 3,451 yards and 25 touchdowns on the season.  The Bucs will be back and are a great team however, look for them in the future. 

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