How many teams make the NFL playoffs? Updated standings for 2022 playoff bracket

For the second year in a row, fans of 14 different NFL teams will be able to celebrate their team making the playoffs.

The NFL expanded the postseason format from 12 to 14 teams in 2020, and that’s the case again in 2021, with seven teams from each conference reaching the postseason and the top seed from each getting a first-round goodbye.

The playoff landscape remains tight in both conferences. And with two weeks left on the schedule, the final spots are sure to go all the way.

Sporting News is breaking down the current picture of the playoffs, along with the brackets and tiebreaker formats for the league.

How many teams make the NFL playoffs in 2022?

There will be seven teams that make the NFL playoffs in each conference, meaning a total of 14 teams will finish the 2021 regular season with a chance to win a Super Bowl.

As of the end of Week 17, 13 teams have been completely eliminated from the discussion. Five teams have officially punched their ticket in the AFC, while six teams are established in the NFC, leaving three total playoff spots up for grabs heading into Week 18.

NFL Playoff Group 2022

Here’s a look at the latest NFL playoff matchups for 2021, updated through Week 17.

AFC

1. Tennessee Titans (goodbye)
2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 7. Los Angeles Chargers
3. Cincinnati Bengals vs. 6. Indianapolis Colts
4. Buffalo Bills vs. 5. New England Patriots

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers (goodbye)
2. Los Angeles Rams vs. 7. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. 6. San Francisco 49ers
4. Dallas Cowboys vs. 5. Arizona Cardinals

Image of the NFL playoffs

AFC

Seed Team Record Position
one. Tennessee Titans * 11-5 Leader in home advantage
two. Kansas City Chiefs * 11-5 Winner of the AFC West
3. Cincinnati Bengals * 10-6 Winner of the AFC North
Four. Buffalo bills * 10-6 AFC East Leader
5. New England Patriots * 10-6 Wild card place
6. Indianapolis Colts 9-7 Wild card place
7. Los Angeles Chargers 9-7 Wild card place

NFC

Seed Team Record Position
one. Green Bay Packers * 13-3 Home advantage winner
two. Los Angeles Rams * 12-4 NFC West Leader
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers * 12-4 Winner of the NFC South
Four. Dallas Cowboys * 11-5 Winner of the NFC East
5. Arizona Cardinals * 11-5 Wild card place
6. San Francisco 49ers 9-7 Wild card place
7. Philadelphia Eagles * 9-7 Wild card place

* Guaranteed place for the playoffs

NFL playoffs for the playoffs

The NFL has a long system for deciding how each team will make the playoffs to avoid a potential tiebreaker game for either spot. They have slightly different tiebreaker formats to decide who advances between the division leaders and the wild card spots.

Here’s how the NFL will break a divisional leadership tie between two teams. The same tiebreaker criteria applies to three or more teams, with the only difference that in step three, there must be a minimum of four common games. If only two teams remain tied after the third step, or another is eliminated, the tie-breaker returns to the first step.

  1. Head-to-head (best win-loss-draw percentage in matches between clubs).
  2. Best win-loss-tie percentage in games played within the division.
  3. Best win-lost-tied percentage in common games.
  4. Best win-loss-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  5. Victory force.
  6. Schedule strength.
  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

This is how the league would break a wild card tie between two different teams.

  1. Face to face, if applicable.
  2. Best win-loss-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  3. Best win-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum four.
  4. Victory force.
  5. Schedule strength.
  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 of the coin.

Here’s how it would turn out for three different teams tied for a wild-card spot.

  1. Apply the division tiebreaker criteria to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division before proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division after application of the division tiebreaker remains the same for all divisions. subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.
  2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has beaten each other or if one club has lost against each other.)
  3. Best win-loss-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
  4. Best win-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum four.
  5. Victory force.
  6. Schedule strength.
  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