Next steps for six NFL playoff teams that lost in wild-card games: How the Patriots, Cowboys, Eagles, Steelers, Raiders and Cardinals could improve

Over the past three days, six NFL teams felt the pain of seeing their playoff dreams come to an end in the wild-card round. Making the postseason is always better than missing out, but no team wants to be one-and-done in January. There are no such things as "happy to be here" when organizations get this close to a Super Bowl.

For those teams, the offseason has already begun. Their primary goal is to win the Super Bowl, of course, but every one of them will strive to improve on where they fell short in 2021 and make a deeper postseason run. Let's run through the six losing teams from the wild-card round and identify one takeaway from the loss (and the season as a whole) that should help guide their thinking this offseason.

I'll start with the Raiders, who just fired their general manager, and end with the Cardinals, who had a disastrous performance Monday night:

Jump to a team:

Las Vegas Raiders

The loss: 26-19 to the Bengals

Takeaway: The Raiders need to be realistic.