Friday, January 22

When do the NFL playoffs start in 2021? Date, TV and AFC programming updated, NFC playoffs parenthesis


Even though the next NFL playoffs will take place in 2021, they are the end of the 2020 season, and if we have learned one thing, it is to expect the unexpected.

The league could have to make decisions about how to bubble teams, expand the field, alter playing times and who knows what else according to COVID-19 as it spikes across the country during the holiday season. You can be sure of one thing: the NFL will make sure the Super Bowl is played. The current plan is for an expanded field of 14 teams to compete for the chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa on February 7.

There is still much to determine in the section of the season. The Steelers and Chiefs are fighting for the only goodbye to the AFC playoffs, while the NFC is sure to have a sub-.500 division champion in the NFC East ruining what would otherwise be a pretty logical picture of the playoffs.

Below is everything you need to know about the NFL playoffs in 2021, including the dates and a TV show for each round, how all the playoffs work, and what the playoff image currently looks like.

MORE: Explaining the NFL Expanded Playoffs

When do the NFL playoffs start in 2021?

  • Wild card games: January 9-10
  • Divisional games: January 16-17
  • Conference Championships: January 24th
  • Super Bowl: February 7th

In the expanded NFL playoffs for the 2021 postseason, seven teams from each conference enter the field. That’s different from recent years, when six teams from the AFC and the NFC each participated.

With seven teams advancing to the postseason, that changes the bye scenario, while the last two teams received first-round breaks, now only the first seed in each conference receives a bye week. After that, things proceed as they have classically done, with four teams playing on each side of the divisional group ahead of the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

NFL playoff support

(SN illustration)

Here’s a look at the full NFL playoff chart for 2021:

AFC

1. Kansas City Chiefs (goodbye)
2. Buffalo Bills vs. 7. Indianapolis Colts
3. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. 6. Cleveland Browns
4. Tennessee Titans vs. 5. Baltimore Ravens

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers (goodbye)
2. New Orleans Saints vs. 7. Chicago Bears
3. Seattle Seahawks vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams
4. Washington soccer team vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PLUS: Watch NFL playoff games live on fuboTV (7-day free trial)

2021 NFL playoff schedule

Wild card round

Saturday January 9

MatchStart timetelevision channelLive broadcast
Colts at Bills1:05 pm ETCBSCBS All Access, fuboTV
Rams at Seahawks4:40 pm ETFoxFox Sports Go, fuboTV
Buccaneers in Washington8:15 pm ETNBCNBC Sports app, fuboTV

Sunday January 10

MatchStart timetelevision channelLive broadcast
Ravens on Titans1:05 pm ETESPN / ABCESPN app, fuboTV
Bears in the saints4:40 pm ETCBS / Nickelodeon / Amazon PrimeCBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video, fuboTV
Browns at Steelers8:15 pm ETNBCNBC Sports app, fuboTV

Divisional round

Saturday January 16

MatchStart timetelevision channelLive broadcast
AFC Divisional Round (TBD in TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV
NFC divisional round (TBD in TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV

Sunday January 17

MatchStart timetelevision channelLive broadcast
AFC Divisional Round (TBD in TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV
NFC divisional round (TBD in TBD)TBDTBDfuboTV

Conference Championships

Sunday January 24

MatchAway teamStart timetelevision channelLive broadcast
NFC vs NFCNFC TBD3:05 pm ETFoxfuboTV
AFC vs AFCAFC TBD6:40 pm ETCBSfuboTV

Super Bowl 55

Sunday February 7

MatchStart timetelevision channelLive broadcast
AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion6:30 pm ETCBSfuboTV

How do the NFL playoffs work?

Although the postseason will take place in 2021, this is the 2020 season that we are talking about, so of course things are different. For the first time, the NFL is implementing a 14-team playoff system (compared to the 12-team system used recently). This doesn’t alter the way teams make the postseason too strong, it just means that instead of two wild card teams, there are now three. It also reduces the number of first round byes to one from each conference compared to the previous two.

The selection works as follows: 1. the division champion with the best record; 2. the division champion with the second best record; 3. the division champion with the third best record; 4. the division champion with the fourth best record; 5. the wild card team with the best record; 6. the wild card club with the second best record.

The team with the highest seed earns home advantage in every playoff game from the wild card round to AFC and NFC championship games.

Below are the NFL playoff procedures for the NFL playoff field.

To break a tie in the division standings:

(Between two teams)

  1. Head to head (best percentage of wins, losses and draws in matches between clubs).
  2. Best win-lost-tied percentage within the division.
  3. Best win-loss-tie percentage in common games.
  4. Best win-lost-tied percentage in conference.
  5. Victory force.
  6. Schedule force.
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  9. Best net points in common games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. The best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

(Between three or more teams)

  1. Head to head (best percentage of wins, losses and draws in matches between clubs).
  2. Best win-lost-tied percentage within the division.
  3. Best win-loss-tie percentage in common games.
  4. Best win-lost-tied percentage in conference.
  5. Victory force.
  6. Schedule force.
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  9. Best net points in common games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. The best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

To break a tie in the wild card rankings:

(Between two teams)

  1. Face to face, if applicable.
  2. Best win-lost-tied percentage in conference.
  3. Best win-loss-tie percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Victory force.
  5. Schedule force.
  6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best net points in conference games.
  9. Best net points in all games.
  10. The best net touchdowns in all games.
  11. Toss the coin.

(Between three or more teams)

  1. Apply the divisional tiebreaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked clubs in each division before proceeding to step 2. The original seed within a division after the application of the divisional tiebreaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that necessary to identify the two wildcard participants.
  2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has beaten the others or if one club has lost each other.)
  3. Best win-lost-tied percentage in conference.
  4. Best win-loss-tie percentage in common games, minimum of four.
  5. Victory force.
  6. Schedule force.
  7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  9. Best net points in conference games.
  10. Best net points in all games.
  11. The best net touchdowns in all games.
  12. Coin toss

2020 NFL playoff group

Here’s a look at the latest NFL playoff matchups for 2020, updated through Week 16:

AFC

1. Kansas City Chiefs (goodbye)
2. Buffalo Bills vs. 7. Cleveland Browns
3. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. 6. Baltimore Ravens
4. Tennessee Titans vs. 5. Miami Dolphins

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers (goodbye)
2. New Orleans Saints vs. 7. Chicago Bears
3. Seattle Seahawks vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams
4. Washington soccer team vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Current image of the NFL playoffs

SeedTeamRecordRiveted
1.Kansas City Chiefs14-1Local field advantage
2.Buffalo Bills12-3AFC East
3.Pittsburgh Steelers12-3AFC North
Four.Tennessee Titans10-5N / A
5.Miami Dolphins10-5N / A
6.Baltimore crows10-5N / A
7.Cleveland browns10-5N / A

On the hunt: Colts (10-5)

SeedTeamRecordRiveted
1.Green Bay Packers12-3NFC North
2.New Orleans Saints11-4NFC South
3.Seattle Seahawks11-4NFC West
Four.Washington football team6-9N / A
5.Tampa Bay Buccaneers10-5Playoff position
6.Los Angeles Rams9-6N / A
7.Chicago bears8-7N / A

On the hunt: Cardinals (8-7), Cowboys (6-9), Giants (5-10)



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