How many teams will make NFL Playoffs? How many Wild Card Teams will be in 2021 playoffs?
We take a look at the 2021 playoff picture in the NFL, how it works, what seedings face off and what teams would play if the season ended today
Last year’s NFL playoffs saw big changes to the post season format as the league expanded its playoff bracket from a 12-team to a 14-team tournament. A third wild card team was also added for each conference and only the division winners with the best record were awarded a first round bye.
The 2021 season will follow the same road and there will be a total of 14 teams in the NFL playoffs for the 2021 season, with seven teams from each conference. Each of the two conferences will send three wild-card teams along with four division champions to its postseason.
The Wild Card Round
In the first round of the playoffs, each conference's division champion with the best regular-season record is awarded a bye and granted an automatic berth in the second, or Divisional, round. The four division champions are seeded by their records and in-season play from one to four, while the three wild card teams are seeded five to seven. While the team seeded first will have the week off, the number seven team will play the number two team, number six plays number three, and number five plays number four.
The Divisional Round
Advancing through to the second round, the lowest remaining seeded team plays the now rested number one, while the other two teams face-off against each other. The higher seeded teams have home field advantage in both rounds as well as the third round, the Conference Championship.
The Super Bowl
Each Conference will follow the same format and the two Conference Champions will face off in the Super Bowl. At this point, there is no seeding needed. The Super Bowl is always held at a neutral site, traditionally in the nation’s south or sun belt, and the nominal home team is on a rotational basis between the conferences.
If the season ended today the AFC Wild Card weekend would see the Tennessee Titans seeded first with a first round bye. The Buffalo Bills would be seeded seventh and have to travel to face the second seed Baltimore Ravens. The Los Angeles Chargers would get the sixth seed and travel to face the third seeded New England Patriots while the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth seed would travel to face the fourth seed Kansas City Chiefs.
In the NFC, the picture as of the end of Week 11 would see the Arizona Cardinals sitting on top with a first round bye. Below them, the New Orleans Saints are still clinging on to that seventh seed and would travel to face the second seed Green Bay Packers. Tom Brady’s third seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers would host the sixth seed Minnesota Vikings while the fifth seeded Los Angeles Rams would take a trip to Texas to face the fourth seed Dallas Cowboys.