How Many Teams Make The NFL Playoffs?

The 2021 NFL season has come to a complete end following incidents and glitches caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This season is also an important milestone for new changes to the format and rules of the NFL tournament.

How many teams in NFL playoffs? Starting in 2021, a total of 14 teams will advance to the NFL playoffs. So we will have seven teams in each Conference.

Will a change in the number of NFL teams have any effect on the league as a whole? Let’s find the answer with Scott Fujita in this article!

How Many Teams Make The NFL Playoffs?

How many NFL teams make playoffs? Starting with the 2020-21 season, the league has introduced a new rule to increase the number of NFL teams participating in the NFL playoffs to 14 teams.

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There will be 14 teams head to the NFL playoff games

These two additional slots will be for two wild card teams. One franchise in the American Football Conference (AFC) and the other in the National Football Conference (NFC). The primary reason is probably because of the strong growth in viewership and the level between the teams. More positions mean more opportunities.

As usual, we will still have only four division winners.

Only the No.1 seed in each conference received the first-round bye. In the 2021 NFL season, those two representatives are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers.

The NFL Playoffs Rule System: NFL Postseason Schedule

The NFL playoff format is highly complex and has clear ranks. As we all know, the 14 NFL teams participating in the playoffs will receive an order based on their record in the previous rounds. As follows:

  • Four division winners of each conference will receive the order from 1 to 4. The deciding factor is based on the total number of points on the win/loss of each team.
  • Three wild card teams will be the 5th, 6th, and 7th seed. These three qualifiers need to be the teams with the best performance against the other teams in the Conference.
  • If there is a tied record between teams during the regular season, the choice of the order will depend on the tie-breaking rule.

The league named the first round of the NFL playoffs the wild card round. Some places also call them super wild card weekend. Except for the 1st seed team, which is exempt from this round, the other teams will play against each other. The 2nd seeded team will meet the 7th seed, the 3rd place team will meet the 6th wild card team, and the 4th team will meet the 5th place team.

Teams that pass the first round will join the second round, divisional round. The format of this round is similar to the wild card round, where the highest ranked teams will meet the lowest ranked team in order.

The two winners of the division round at each Conference will advance to the third round – the Conference championship game. The venue will be the home field of the higher-seeded team.

The match between the champions of the AFC and the NFC Conference is the Super Bowl. The league will prepare a neutral venue beforehand for the event.

Tiebreaker Rules

After each regular season, the teams will summarize their performance in terms of differences. They evaluate and rank to determine the seven teams that participate in the NFL playoffs at each Conference.

Even so, tie or even record is a frequent problem. We need an additional system that can assist in selecting the most worthy face. The federation calls it a tie-breaking rule.

Below is a list of the factors that determine the order of the teams. If we still can’t find a winner, the last option is a coin toss.

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The League will use tie-breaking rules to choose the qualifiers on special occasions

1. Division Tie-Breaking Rules

 To seed the division by division in the event of a tie, teams will use the following criteria:

  • Direct competition (in terms of win – loss – draw ratio of each franchise).
  • Considering the best win – loss – draw ratio in the division.
  • Consider the best win – loss – draw ratio in a match with the same opponent (common games).
  • Consider the best win – loss – draw ratio for games in the Conference.
  • The victory strength, including the total record of the win – loss – draw ratio of the clubs defeated by the team.
  • The schedule strength, including the total record of the win – loss – draw ratio of the entire club that the team encounters.
  • Best overall ranking among the teams in the conference. Criteria include points scored and points allowed.
  • Best overall ranking among all teams. Criteria include points scored and points allowed.
  • Best net score (common games).
  • Best net score (all games).
  • Best net touchdowns rate (all games).

2. Conference Tie-Breaking Rules

After using the above steps to find the four best difference teams in each division, we will apply the criteria below. Their purpose is to find the wild card teams that will participate in the playoff games.

  • If one team has ever beaten/lost to another team, we use a head-to-head sweep.
  • Consider the best win – loss – draw ratio for games in the Conference.
  • Consider the best win – loss – draw ratio in common games. Minimum of four matches.
  • The strength of victory.
  • The power of the schedule.
  • The best aggregate ranking among the teams in the conference. Criteria include points scored and points allowed.
  • Best aggregate ranking among all teams. Measures include points scored and points allowed.
  • Best net score (common games).
  • Best net score (all games).
  • Best net touchdowns rate (all games).

Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding the NFL playoff, if you still have any questions, find the answers in this section.

1. How many NFL teams make the playoffs now and in the past?

NFL postseason history has gone through a lot of changes and adjustments.

From 1933 to 1966, the definition of the NFL playoff was unknown. At that time, there was only a regular season and an NFL Championship Game.

The year 1967 marked the arrival of the NFL playoffs. Four teams competed for tickets to the final round, which doubled in 1970. At this time, the merger of the league with the American Football League (AFL).

Over time, the NFL expanded the size of the playoffs to 10 teams and 12 teams in 1978 and 1990, respectively. This number increased to 14 teams in the 2020 season.

2. How many teams are in the NFL playoffs for each Conference?

Seven teams.

3. What is the rank of the Washington Football Team in the 2020-21 season?

The Washington Football Team ended the regular season as NFC’s No.4 seed. Although their difference is 7-9, the team is still one of the four division winners.

4. Where will the Super Bowl 2021-22 be held?

The league is scheduled to host Super Bowl 56 at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

5. What is the result of Super Bowl 55?

Two teams participating in Super Bowl 55 are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs. The winning team is the NFC champion – Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Final Thoughts

How many teams make NFL playoffs? There will be 14 clubs participating in the playoff games starting from the 2020 season.

The expansion of the league shows the NFL’s vast investment and potential. It also creates many opportunities for new faces to shine. After all, audiences always love surprises and breakthroughs.

Given history and volatility, it is highly likely that the League will again make adjustments to the NFL playoffs in the future. Follow Scott Fujita to get the latest updates.

Thank you for reading!

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