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How do the 2021 NFL Playoffs work?

Wild Card Round - Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills
Wild Card Round - Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills
Walter Sharp
ANALYST
Modified 10 Jan 2021, 01:08 IST
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NFL Wild Card Playoff games are set to take place on Saturday, January 9th and Sunday January 10th. Each of the days will consist of triple-headers before the NFL Divisional Rounds will take place on Saturday, January 16th and Sunday, January 17th.

2021 NFL Playoffs are going to look a little different than other years

NFC and AFC Conference championships will take place on Sunday, January 24th. The NFL teams that win their respective conferences will meet in the Super Bowl, which is being held in Tampa Bay at Raymond Jay Stadium. Super Bowl 55 will take place on Sunday, February 7th.

Let's take a deeper look at how the 2021 NFL Playoffs work and how it is different from past years.


2021 NFL Playoffs: How do they work?

In the 2021 NFL Playoffs, there will be 14 teams - seven sides from each conference will be competing this year. The number one seed from the NFC and the number one seed from the AFC will receive first round byes. With this change, there will be one more game added to the Wild Card Playoff games.

Kansas City Chiefs finished the 2020 NFL Season with a 14-2 record. They received the first round bye on the AFC side of the playoff bracket. Meanwhile, Green Bay Packers finished the 2020 NFL Season with a 13-3 record and will have the first round bye on the NFC side of the bracket.

Let's take a look at how the AFC and NFC Playoff brackets turned out and how it works.

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2021 AFC/NFC NFL Playoff Bracket

#1 AFC/NFC Seed- Bye:

  • Hosts the lowest AFC/NFC seed in a home game for the NFL Divisional Round.
  • Has home field advantage throughout the AFC/NFC Playoffs.

#2 AFC/NFC Seed vs #7 AFC/NFC Seed:

  • If number two seed wins they host a home playoff game in the NFL Divisional Round
  • If the number seven seed wins they head to the number one AFC/NFC seed to play on the road in the NFL Divisional Round.

#3 AFC/NFC Seed vs #6 AFC/NFC Seed:

  • If the number three AFC/NFC seed wins they will head to the number two AFC seed if the number two wins.
  • If number two AFC/NFC seed loses and number three AFC/NFC seed team wins they will host a home playoff game in the NFL Divisional Round.
  • If number six AFC/NFC seed wins they will head to either number one AFC/NFC seed or number two AFC/NFC seed to play a road playoff game in the NFL Divisional Round.

#4 AFC/NFC Seed vs #5 AFC/NFC Seed:

  • If the number four or five AFC/NFC seed wins they will head to the number one AFC/NFC seed, number two AFC/NFC seed or the number three AFC/NFC seed team to play a road playoff game in NFL Divisional Round.
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The highest seed in the AFC/NFC that makes it to the AFC/NFC Championship will host the game. For example, if the number seven AFC/NFC seed makes it to the AFC/NFC Championship and plays the number four AFC/NFC seed, then the number four seed would host the AFC/NFC Championship game.

Super Bowl is played at a neutral site picked years in advance. The NFC will be the home team for Super Bowl 55. Each year, they alternate home and away for the Super Bowl. Kansas City Chiefs were the home team for Super Bowl 54 so it is now the NFC teams' turn to be the home side in Super Bowl 55.

Published 10 Jan 2021, 01:08 IST
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