After a grueling common season, the lads get separated from the boys, and it’s time to get all the way down to the actual enterprise. That’s proper, we’re speaking in regards to the NFL Playoffs.
It’s the objective of each NFL franchise, however solely a choose few make it to the Playoffs every year, the place they combat it out for the correct to play within the biggest present in US sports activities, the Tremendous Bowl.
However how precisely does all of it work?
Right here we’ll cowl every little thing you must know in regards to the NFL Playoffs, from the schedule and the way it works to reseeding and wild playing cards.
How Does The NFL Season Work?
The NFL is break up into two conferences: the American Soccer Convention (AFC) and the Nationwide Soccer Convention (NFC).
Every convention has 16 groups, making a complete of 32 groups in the entire NFL.
Every crew performs 17 instances throughout an 18-week interval, usually beginning in early September and ending in late December or early January.
After every crew has performed all their common season matches, the 14 greatest groups battle it out to attempt to win the Tremendous Bowl, the NFL’s total championship recreation.
Divisions and Scheduling
The 2 NFL conferences are additionally break up into divisions of 4 groups. These divisions are based mostly on geography and historic rivalry from the pre-NFL period.
The AFC is made up of the next divisions:
North: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers.
South: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans.
East: Buffalo Payments, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets.
West: Denver Broncos, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers.
The NFC is made up of the next divisions:
North: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Inexperienced Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings.
South: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
East: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders.
West: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks.
The NFL scheduling components implies that groups have a barely completely different set of fixtures yearly. They at all times play their divisional rivals twice, however the remainder of their schedule is changeable.
The components is as follows:
- Every NFL crew has to play the opposite three groups in its division twice, as soon as at house and as soon as on the street.
- Every crew performs one recreation towards the 4 groups in one other predetermined division inside its personal convention (which is rotated each three years). Two video games at house and two on the street.
- Every crew performs one recreation towards each crew from the remaining two divisions in its convention that completed in an identical place of their divisional standings within the earlier season. One recreation at house, one on the street.
- Every crew performs one recreation towards all 4 groups from a predetermined division (which is rotated each 4 years) within the different convention. Two video games at house and two on the street.
- Every crew additionally performs one recreation towards one other crew from a predetermined division (which is rotated each 4 years) within the different convention that completed in an identical place within the ultimate divisional standings within the earlier season.
How The NFL Playoffs work
Performed since 1932, the NFL Playoffs are a knockout event.
So, when you lose, you go house and it’s again to the drafting board once more subsequent season. In case you win, you’re one step nearer to glory.
Seven groups from every convention combat it out within the Playoffs, with one crew from the AFC and one from the NFC competing within the Tremendous Bowl.
The Playoffs solely characteristic the very best groups (and normally the very best gamers) in every season, so these golden weeks within the useless of winter present white-hot leisure for NFL followers throughout the globe.
The Playoffs can create distinctive matchups the place even the most important underdog has an opportunity.
When Do The NFL Common Season And Playoffs Take Place?
The NFL common season begins the weekend after the primary Monday of September (Labor Day) and ends in early January.
The Playoffs happen throughout 4 weekends from January into February each season. The Tremendous Bowl historically at all times happened on the primary Sunday in February.
Nevertheless, 2020 was the ultimate Tremendous Bowl performed on the primary Sunday in February for the foreseeable future as a result of NFL’s new 17-game schedule.
Tremendous Bowl LVI (2021) was performed on the second Sunday in February, and Tremendous Bowl LVII (2022) will comply with swimsuit.
Qualification And Seeding
14 groups qualify for the NFL Playoffs. This consists of the 4 divisional champions and three wild playing cards from every convention.
The 4 groups with the very best document in every convention (NFC and AFC) are seeded one by means of 4. The crew with the very best document is seeded one, the second-best document is seeded two, and so forth.
The 2 groups with the very best document in every convention are then given a bye week (they don’t must play) within the first spherical of the Playoffs, which is often known as ‘wild card weekend.’
Groups qualify for the Playoffs as ‘wild playing cards’ if they’ve one of many three greatest total information (variety of wins, losses, and ties) of all remaining groups of their convention.
The wild card groups are seeded numbers 5, six, and 7 based mostly on their information.
Wild Playing cards Defined
‘Wild card’ Playoff groups have been first launched to the NFL in 1970, when the fashionable league was based, following a merger of the Nationwide Soccer League and the American Soccer League.
Wild card groups are the three groups with the very best information in every convention who don’t win their division.
These groups at all times play on wild card weekend, the week earlier than the divisional Playoffs.
The 4 division winners in every convention are seeded one to 4 based mostly on their document, with the #1 seed getting a bye within the first spherical.
Every wild card crew performs one of many divisional winners based mostly on their rankings going into the Playoffs.
Every convention is break up as follows:
Division Winner #1 – BYE
Division Winner #2 vs Wild Card #7
Division Winner #3 vs Wild Card #6
Division Winner #4 vs Wild Card #5
So, the higher your common season document, the extra favorable your draw is within the Playoffs.
Reseeding In The NFL Playoffs
All through the Playoffs, the lowest-seeded crew at all times performs towards the highest-seeded crew in every spherical.
The upper-seeded crew at all times performs at house too. So, who you play towards and the place is at all times topic to vary. This is called reseeding.
Reseeding is designed to provide a big benefit to the groups with the very best regular-season information.
It additionally makes it tough, however not not possible, for wild card groups to make it to the Tremendous Bowl.
Reseeding usually impacts the Playoffs and adjustments the image for all of the groups concerned.
For instance, each primary ranked groups within the 2022 Playoffs misplaced within the divisional spherical.
This meant the quantity two ranked groups now grew to become primary and had the huge benefit of taking part in at house in all of the rounds earlier than the Tremendous Bowl.
NFL Playoff Bracket
The Playoff ‘bracket’ is the Playoff schedule because it stands nowadays.
The bracket is topic to vary relying on the common season and Playoff outcomes.
Keen followers begin fascinated about the Playoff bracket and what it’d imply for his or her crew’s ambitions because the season nears an in depth.
2023 Playoff Schedule
Key dates for the 2022 NFL Playoffs are:
First spherical: January 14-16
Divisional spherical: January 22-22
Convention spherical: January 29
Tremendous Bowl LVI: February 12
The Tremendous Bowl will probably be performed at State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, house of the Arizona Cardinals.
Lead picture: Adrian Curiel/Unsplash