The NFL playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the regular season to determine the NFL champion.
In the National Football League (NFL), the playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the end of the regular season to determine the NFL champion. Six teams from each of the league’s two conferences qualify for the playoffs.
How the NFL Playoffs Work
The NFL playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the end of the regular season to determine the NFL champion. As of 2020, there are 14 teams in the playoffs: the seven winners of each conference’s divisional round (the first round of the playoffs), and the two conference runners-up with the next best record.
The Regular Season
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues, the highest professional level of American football in the world.
The NFL’s 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, seven teams from each conference (four division winners and three wild card teams) advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in February. The league is headquartered in New York City.
The Wild Card Round
In the Wild Card Round, the top two seeds in each conference get a bye while the remaining four seeds play each other. The team with the better record is rewarded with home-field advantage.
The AFC Wild Card game features the third seed hosting the sixth seed while the fourth seed travels to take on the fifth seed. In the NFC, it’s the fourth seed hosting the fifth seed and the third seed hitting the road to take on the sixth seed.
The winners of these four match-ups advance to next week’s Divisional Round where they will take on one of the top two seeds in their respective conferences.
The Divisional Round
The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs is where things really start to heat up. This round features the top two seeds from each conference playing each other. The winners of these games advance to the conference championships.
The first game of the Divisional Round is always played on Saturday afternoon, with the second game being played on Saturday night. The Sunday games are played in the afternoon, with the final game being played on Sunday night.
In recent years, there has been a trend of teams that win their first game of the Divisional Round going on to win the Super Bowl. In fact, six of the last seven Super Bowl champions have won their first game of the playoffs in the Divisional Round.
So, if you’re looking to make a run at the Lombardi Trophy, winning your first game of the playoffs is a good place to start!
The Conference Championships
The NFL Conference Championships are the two annual championship games of the National Football League (NFL), one each for the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). The AFC Championship Game is played between the winners of the AFC’s two divisional playoff games. The NFC Championship Game is played between the winners of the NFC’s two divisional playoff games. The conference championship games are organized by conference and take place four weeks after the end of the regular season.
The conference champions then advance to face each other in the Super Bowl, the biggest professional American football championship game in the world.
The Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the biggest and most important game in the National Football League (NFL). It is the annual championship game that determines the winner of the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy. The game is played between the two conference champions, the American Football Conference (AFC) champion and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion. The winner of the Super Bowl receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is named after the former head coach of the Green Bay Packers, who won the first two Super Bowl games.
The National Football League (NFL) playoffs are a single-elimination tournament held after the regular season to determine the NFL champion. Seven teams from each of the league’s two conferences qualify for the playoffs. A tie-breaking procedure exists if required. The playoffs are not determinative of the league champion, and the winner of the Super Bowl is the true champion.
The American Football Conference (AFC) is one of the two conferences of the National Football League (NFL). The AFC was created after the AFL–NFL merger of 1970. In its early years, the AFC generally dominated the NFL. Following the 1988 season, however, it was surpassed by the NFC in overall standings for 16 out of 17 seasons. Since 2002, the AFC has contained eight teams divided into two four-team divisions—the North, South,East, and West.
Currently, only six teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs; however, this will increase to seven teams starting in 2020. The top seed in each conference receives a first-round bye; the second and third seeds are wild card teams that play in the first round of the playoffs.
There is a lot on the line in the final week of the regular season, as teams jockey for playoff positioning. Here’s a look at what’s at stake in the NFC heading into Week 17:
-The Dallas Cowboys clinched the NFC East title with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. They can still earn a first-round bye with a win over the New York Giants in Week 17 coupled with a loss or tie by the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions.
-The Detroit Lions are in control of their own destiny. A win at home against the Green Bay Packers will give them their first division title since 1993 and ensure them at least a No. 3 seed in the playoffs. A loss would put them on the outside looking in.
-The Green Bay Packers can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Detroit Lions and a Dallas Cowboys loss or tie against the New York Giants in Week 17. A win would also give them the NFC North title if the Lions lose or tie against Washington.
-The Atlanta Falcons can clinch a first-round bye with a win or tie against Carolina or a loss or tie by Seattle against Arizona in Week 17. They would also clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if they win and Seattle loses.
-The Seattle Seahawks will clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if they beat Arizona in Week 17 combined with an Atlanta Falcons loss to Carolina or a Green Bay Packers loss to Detroit.
In order to make the playoffs, a team must first win their division. If there is a tie for first place in the division, then the team with the better record will win the division. The team with the better record will be the divisional champion, and will automatically make the playoffs. The other teams in the division will be wild card teams, and will have to compete against each other for a spot in the playoffs. The two teams with the best records will make the playoffs as wild card teams.